Allergies

Allergies Articles

Common summer skin rashes

Several rashes can cause discomfort during the summer months. People often develop an itchy, oozing rash after brushing against certain plants, such as poison ivy. A rash of tiny bumps with a prickly sensation (known as prickly heat) can result from sweating while wearing tight clothing. Some people get an itchy rash as an allergic reaction to sun exposure. It helps to see a doctor if one has poison ivy or if a rash persists and interferes with sleeping, working, or relaxing. More »

Is poison ivy contagious?

A rash from poison ivy can’t be passed from one person to another, but plant oil remaining on clothing or other items can cause a reaction. (Locked) More »

Treatments for post-nasal drip

You thought it would never end: that tickle in the back of your throat that made you cough or have to clear your throat. It's been going on for months. And now you know why: post-nasal drip. It's a common diagnosis. It can happen for a number of reasons: allergies, viral infections (including the common cold), sinus infections, irritants in the air (such as fumes or dust). Less common causes include something stuck inside the nose (common in small children), pregnancy, and certain medications. Temporary – and normal – causes of post-nasal drip includes certain weather conditions (especially cold, dry air) and spicy foods. Whatever the cause, the problem is a steady trickle of mucus from the back of the sinuses that irritates the throat and nagging cough or other symptoms. More »

Easy ways you can improve indoor air quality

Indoor air quality can suffer during the winter months. For women with a respiratory condition, such as asthma or allergies to mold, dust mites, and other irritants, this can lead to symptoms. Opening windows, using an air purifier, cleaning, and eliminating indoor plants can help reduce exposure. (Locked) More »

Is it a cold or allergies?

Q. I feel like I have a perpetual cold all winter, every winter. I'm stuffy and sneezy and it never seems to get better. Do you think it could be allergies? How can I tell the difference? A. Colds and allergies produce many of the same symptoms: a runny nose, tiredness, and sometimes a sore throat. But they have different causes — a virus causes colds, while allergies are an immune system response to trigger substances, known as allergens. There are ways to distinguish one from the other. Colds sometimes produce a fever, but allergies never do. In addition, if you are suffering from allergies, you may also have itchy, watery eyes, symptoms that won't typically accompany a cold. But perhaps the biggest clue that can help you distinguish between a cold and allergies is the duration of symptoms. Cold symptoms rarely last more than two weeks, but allergies can last as long as you are exposed to the substance that is triggering the reaction. So, if your "cold symptoms" appear at the same time every year and last for an extended period of time, the cause may very well be allergies. Many people with seasonal allergies will experience symptoms for six weeks at a time. If you are allergic to something in your home, such as dust mites, mold, or pet dander, your symptoms could get worse during the winter months, because the house is sealed up and fresh air isn't getting in. In addition, your heating system may be recirculating the allergen. Because your symptoms last for an extended period of time, it may be worth a visit to the allergist. — by Hope Ricciotti, M.D., and Hye-Chun Hur, M.D., M.P.H.Editors in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch (Locked) More »

Is stress making your allergy symptoms worse?

Feeling stressed can affect allergies. One effect is psychological. Since stress amplifies the emotional reaction to any symptoms, it can also affect how bothered one feels about allergy symptoms. The other effect of stress on allergies is physical. Stress can make the allergic response worse. It’s unclear exactly why, but it may be because stress hormones can ramp up the already exaggerated immune system response to allergies. Therefore, stress reduction techniques, such as meditation, may help relieve allergy symptoms. More »

Is your home a haven for allergens?

A study published Nov. 30, 2017, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that 90% of homes have three or more allergens, with at least one allergen at high levels in 73% of homes. More »