Now that Thanksgiving has past, most of us are thinking about the next Holiday later this month. For those celebrating Christmas, consider that many traditions may worsen your underlying allergies and asthma. From Christmas tree allergy to holiday odors and scents, the Holidays can give you more than you bargained for -- worsening allergy symptoms.
Coughing is an extremely common reason why people go see their doctor. Some people seek help when they've been coughing for days, while other may wait years before going to the doctor. While the reason for a cough can usually be identified, and the cause treated, people with a chronic cough can be some of the most difficult cases to treat.
The most common reason for a chronic cough is due to post nasal drip (frequent throat clearing). This may be caused by allergic rhinitis, non-allergic rhinitis, or even a sinus infection. The next most common cause is asthma, even if other symptoms such as wheezing are absent. Lastly, gastroesophageal reflux disease, even if classic heartburn symptoms are absent, is the third most common cause of a chronic cough.
If you, or someone you know, has a cough that won't quit, the following articles are a must-read:
In July 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Committee on Non-Prescription Drugs voted to allow Nasacort AQ (triamcinolone) nasal spray to be sold over-the-counter (OTC) without a prescription. Nasacort AQ would be the first intranasal corticosteroid nasal spray to be sold OTC without being prescribed by a healthcare professional. While most low sedating antihistamines have been available OTC for many years, including Zyrtec (cetirizine), Allegra (fexofenadine) and Claritin (loratadine), the only other medicated nasal sprays available OTC include topical nasal decongestants (such as Afrin) and NasalCrom (cromolyn). Intranasal corticosteroids may not be as safe as antihistamines, however, and therefore the risks and benefits should be considered to determine if having these medications being available OTC is a good idea.
The holidays are an excuse for many people to have a few alcoholic drinks -- and more often than not, a few too many. A little too much alcohol can result in a wide variety of symptoms, aside from the typical hangover that most of us are familiar with. These various reactions, such as flushing, hives or itching, could make you wonder if you could be allergic to alcohol. Allergic reactions to alcohol are possible, but are typically caused by ingredients other than the alcohol itself -- such as yeast or barley in beer, grapes in wine, or sulfites added as preservatives.
Now that Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, many of us are thinking of getting our annual indoor Christmas tree. Some people seem to have the tradition of trimming their tree immediately after Thanksgiving, while other people wait until just before Christmas. For people with allergies and asthma, however, the question seems to not be "when" they should get a Christmas tree, but "if" they should get a Christmas tree.
For many years, people with allergies and asthma have shunned the idea of having a live Christmas tree in their homes. Surely the presence of a live, fragrant pine tree would wreak havoc on their allergies and asthma, left to suffer for weeks while the non-allergic members of the family enjoy the tree. But, do allergic people really have to settle for an artificial tree in order to prevent allergic misery?
Maybe not. Following a few simple steps can minimize even the most allergic person's symptoms that may occur as a result of an indoor Christmas tree. These steps include throughly washing off the Christmas tree (and allowing it to dry) before bringing it indoors, and minimizing the amount of time it's kept indoors to prevent the growth of mold spores. Medications may be required for the most sensitive of people, especially when the fragrance of the tree is the problem, but this might be a worthwhile short-term tradeoff if it means having a beautiful, live Christmas tree indoors for the Holidays.
Soon many of us will travel to see family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. These travels could lead to various exposures that could worsen underlying allergies. From hidden food allergens in the mom's famous stuffing, to Aunt Edna's pet cat, and from Uncle Ed's cigars to Grandma's dusty spare bedroom, your allergies could be in for more than you bargained for this Thanksgiving. Learn how to be prepared to prevent and treat food allergies, cat allergy, reactions to cigarette smoke and dust avoidance measures.
- Preparing for Hidden Food Allergens
- How to Deal with Grandma's Four Cats
- How to Survive a Dusty Spare Bedroom
Sinusitis, or infection of the sinuses, affects millions of Americans every year. Symptoms of acute sinus infections typically include facial pain or pressure, colored nasal discharge, nasal congestion and fever. When a sinus infection lasts for more than 3 months, it becomes chronic sinusitis. The symptoms of chronic sinusitis can be subtle, and often can be difficult to differentiate from allergies. There are a number of different types of chronic sinusitis, including infectious, allergic, fungal, and aspirin-exacerbated -- the treatment for which is different for each type. Learn more about chronic sinusitis, and find out if your chronic nasal allergy symptoms might be something more serious.
- Chronic Sinusitis
- Diagnosis and Treatment of Sinus Infections
- Nasal Saline Rinses for Sinus Infections
Over the past few years, the concept of the hypoallergenic dog has been popular in the United States, as allergies to pet dander become more common. Ask almost anyone, and they'll tell you what they think a hypoallergenic dog is -- just about anything that you mix with a Poodle, or a breed that doesn't shed must be hypoallergenic. President Obama further advanced the popularity of the hypoallergenic dog, apparently because someone in his family suffers from allergies to pet dander.
Unfortunately, the whole idea of a hypoallergenic dog is a myth. There have never been any studies showing that a Poodle, or non-shedding dog, produces less dog allergen than a non-hypoallergenic breed. Multiple recent studies show that there is no difference in the amount of major dog allergen produced by various breeds of dogs -- and in fact, one study showed that the popular Labradoodle produced the most dog allergen of any breed in the study! So, before you spend thousands of dollars on a hypoallergenic dog (perhaps as a Christmas present for the allergic person in your family), read the following articles, and think twice!
- The Myth of the Hypoallergenic Dog
- Are Hypoallergenic Dogs and Cats for Real?
- Things You Can Do To Make Your Dog Less Allergenic
Here's another reason to avoid going to the dentist: You might be allergic! No one really likes to go to the dentist -- even doctors. We know we should see our dentist, at least once a year, but it seems everyone tries to come up with a reason not to go. The reasons are even easily this time of the year, as the holidays approach. But what if you are actually allergic to going to the dentist? Does that sound like a valid excuse? It might be for some people, who may experience allergic reactions as a result of exposures while at the dentist. From allergies to local anesthetics and latex, and allergies to toothpaste and amalgam, going to the dentist might be more than a nuisance for some -- it could be life threatening.
Most adults use deodorants and/or antiperspirants on a daily basis, and are found in just about everyone's medicine cabinet. Most deodorants and antiperspirants contain fragrances, which are known to cause contact dermatitis, resulting in itching, redness and flaking of the underarm areas. Other ingredients, such as propylene glycol, lanolin and parabens are other ingredients that can cause skin allergy reactions.
Have you experienced an itchy rash after using a deodorant or antiperspirant? Not sure which product would be safe for you to use? Learn more about allergies to deodorants and antiperspirants, including how the diagnosis is made as well as the treatments that are available.
- Deodorant and Antiperspirant Allergy
- Allergic Reactions to Cosmetics
- Patch Testing for Chemical Allergies