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Daniel More, MD

Allergies Blog

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Time for Summer Allergy Season!

Wednesday May 28, 2014

Once Memorial Day Weekend has past, it seems as is summer is already in full swing. Summertime is all about spending time outdoors. Many people go camping, picnic at the beach, or barbeque in the backyard. But along with these outdoor activities comes the possibility of outdoor allergies. Allergies to summer pollens, stinging and biting insects, hidden food ingredients, and smoke from campfires and barbeques can ruin an otherwise perfect activity for some people.

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It's the Day After Memorial Day Weekend: Having an Alcohol Allergy?

Monday May 26, 2014

If you're reading this blog, there's a good chance that you had a good time this weekend. Maybe a really good time. But you're probably not having that great of a time today, likely as a result of some sort of a reaction to alcoholic beverages. Most people have experienced a hang over from drinking too much alcohol (and not enough water), but could you be experiencing an allergic reaction to alcohol? There are a variety of different types of reactions that a person could experience from alcohol, from a variety of different causes. Some of these could include an allergic reaction (or at least mimic an allergic reaction), non-allergic intolerance, or could simply be an expected pharmacologic effect from too much alcohol. Whatever the cause is, people who experience these reactions want to know how to deal with it -- and how to prevent it from happening again.

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Beware This Weekend: Allergy to Sunscreens

Friday May 23, 2014

It's Memorial Day Weekend. Time to spend more time outdoors, at the beach or in the pool. Along with sun exposure comes the need to use sunscreen to prevent sunburn and long-term sun damage. But with the increased use of sunscreen comes the potential for an unintended reaction -- sunscreen allergy. Sunscreen has the potential to cause contact dermatitis to many of the active ingredients. This leads to any itchy, bumpy, red rash where the sunscreen was applied. Topical steroids are often helpful to treat the rash, but the culprit sunscreen should then be followed. This may prevent the ability of a person to spend time in the sun due to a fear of using sunscreen. However, there is a way to find out which chemical caused the reaction, and which sunscreen may be tolerated. Finding the right sunscreen can result in having safe, healthy sun exposure this summer!

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Does Stress Worsen Allergy Symptoms?

Tuesday May 20, 2014

Allergic rhinitis is the most common chronic disease, affecting up to 30% of adults and children. Common symptoms include nasal congestionsneezingitchy eyes and nose, post nasal drip and runny nose. The symptoms of nasal allergies are known to affect many aspects of a person's life, resulting in decreased productivity at work, trouble thinking and concentrating, and overall decrease in emotional well being. While the symptoms of allergic rhinitis may result in increased stress in a person's life, it isn't known whether stress can actually worsen allergic rhinitis symptoms. A recent study seems to suggest that an increase in daily stress can lead to worsening allergy symptoms.

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Do Dust Mite Covers Actually Do Any Good?

Saturday May 17, 2014

Avoidance of house dust mites (HDMs) is the first approach to the treatment of allergies caused by this allergen. Typical avoidance measures include frequent washing of bedding in hot water, regular vacuuming, and covering pillows and mattresses with dust mite covers (or dust mite casings) that are impermeable to HDMs. These dust mite covers act to trap HDMs inside the pillow and mattress, where they accumulate, away from the person with a HDM allergy. Dust mite covers are available at many retail outlets, as well as online stores, at a substantial cost. Most allergists, including myself, have recommended dust mite covers for years to people allergic to dust mites. However, recent studies have questioned the benefits of dust mite covers. Find out if you should invest in dust mite covers if you are trying to prevent or treat allergies caused by HDMs.

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Can Local Honey Treat Pollen Allergy Symptoms?

Tuesday May 13, 2014

Spring hay fever season finds people desperate to find relief from their nasal allergy symptoms. Natural therapies, without the use of medicines, are becoming more popular, especially among allergy sufferers. It is a popular notion that eating honey is a natural remedy for symptoms of allergies and asthma. Honey contains various ingredients, including pollen allergens and components of honeybees. Locally produced honey would be expected to contain local plant pollens to which a person would be allergic, and therefore is the preferred type of honey for allergies. It makes sense that consuming pollen-containing honey would improve allergies, much like how sublingual immunotherapy works. And, the fact that many people have experienced anaphylaxis from eating honey means that there may be enough pollen to stimulate the immune system. Read more to find out if eating local honey is a good idea for treating your hay fever symptoms.

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Singulair Rejected by FDA for Over-The-Counter Use

Monday May 5, 2014

Singulair (montelukast), a popular medication for the treatment of allergic rhinitis and asthma, has been rejected by a subcommittee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for over-the-counter (OTC) use. While this ruling by the FDA Subcommittee on Non-Prescription Drugs is not an official ruling, the FDA usually follows the recommendations of its subcommittees. Merck, the manufacturer of Singulair, had sought approval for OTC use for the purpose of treating allergic rhinitis, and not for the purpose of treating asthma. The FDA subcommittee cited two concerns with approving Singulair for OTC use. First, the FDA felt that people would be aware that Singulair also treats asthma, and therefore people using OTC Singulair might stop taking their other asthma inhalers, which could result in worsening asthma control. Second, the FDA still has concerns regarding the side effects of Singulair, especially mood and behavior changes. Therefore, it appears that Singulair (and it's generic version, montelukast), will be available only by prescription for the immediate future.

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The Cold and Allergy Section of a Drugstore -- A Confusing Place

Tuesday April 29, 2014

Have you been in the cold and allergy section of your local drug store recently? The choices of different products -- and there are literally hundreds of them -- can be very confusing. After all, the name of the product doesn't always give you the best idea of what the medicine actually contains. Unless you're a physician, nurse or pharmacist, you'd probably not really know what you're getting just be looking at the active ingredients.

It also always surprises me to see what my patients choose from over-the-counter (OTC) products to treat their allergy symptoms. Many people will pick a product containing Sudafed® even though nasal congestion isn't one of their major symptoms. Or, they purchase an antihistamine even though their allergy symptoms don't include itching or sneezing.

Do you have trouble choosing an OTC cold or allergy medicine? Who do you go to for advice -- your doctor, pharmacist, healthcare professional friend or maybe even your mother? Are you more likely to purchase a product because you've seen an advertisement or because a certain item is on sale? Do you stick with a certain brand name, such as Robitussin®, or do you buy the generic version because it's cheaper? Share your answers to these questions and more on this quick survey.

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Eating Baked Egg Can Resolve Egg Allergy

Monday April 28, 2014

Egg allergy is one of the most common forms of food allergy, affecting up to 2% of young children. Past studies showed that 80% of children outgrew their egg allergy by school age, but more recent studies show that egg allergy in persisting into the teenage years. Egg allergy is lasting longer for unknown reasons, possibly because people with egg allergy are more aware of how to completely avoid foods containing egg, and therefore even small amounts of egg allergen are not consumed - which may cause egg allergy to persist for a longer amount of time. Egg-allergic children who can tolerate baked egg should eat foods containing baked egg on a daily basis, which will likely help in completely outgrowing egg allergy. It is likely that small amounts of egg protein, specifically extensively heated egg, may help cure the egg allergy.

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Eating Foods Containing Baked Milk Can Help Resolve Milk Allergy

Sunday April 27, 2014

Allergy to cow's milk is one of the most common forms of food allergy in children, affecting up to 3% of young children. It appears that outgrowth of milk allergy is becoming more delayed for an unknown reason, possibly because people with food allergies are more aware of how to completely avoid their food trigger, and therefore even small amounts of the food allergen are not consumed - which may be causing longer lasting food allergies. Most children with milk allergy can tolerate foods containing baked-milk. Milk-allergic children who can tolerate baked milk who eat foods containing baked milk on a daily basis are more likely to outgrow their milk allergy, and sooner than those that avoid foods containing baked milk. It is likely that small amounts of milk protein, especially extensively heated forms that are not recognized as allergens, may help cure the milk allergy.

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