Allergies

Allergies Articles

In search of a milk alternative

People who are unable to or don’t want to drink cow’s milk have alternatives. Lactose-free milk has an enzyme added to it that helps break down lactose into more easily digested sugars. Soy milk is the fluid that’s strained from a mixture of ground soybeans and water. Nut milks are the fluids from a mixture of water and ground almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts. Grain and seed milks are the fluids from a mixture of water and ground rice, oats, quinoa, or hemp. Nut, grain, and seed milks don’t have as much protein as soy milk unless they are fortified. More »

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity

Many people who have celiac-like symptoms repeatedly test negative for celiac disease yet respond well to a gluten-free diet. Specialists now recognize that these people—between 1% and 3% of the population—may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include: Gluten sensitivity is a baffling condition because it has been difficult to understand how gluten could trigger such a host of seemingly unrelated symptoms. One theory is that gluten sensitivity is part of the "undersea" portion of the "celiac iceberg." More »

Medication allergy

Some people are allergic to some medications. Their bodies sense the drug as harmful and make antibodies to it. The antibodies bind to the drug to rid it from the body. That's a problem, because clumps of drug-bound antibody travel can harm body tissues or interfere with normal body function as they travel through the bloodstream. Allergic reactions to drugs are often limited, causing skin rashes. But they can also cause problems in the kidneys, liver, joints, and blood. Some are severe enough to be deadly. If you think you are having an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away. The most severe type of allergic reaction is anaphylactic shock. This is a life-threatening problem in which blood pressure drops and your airways become so narrow that you can't breathe. It requires emergency treatment. More »

Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity

Celiac disease is an allergic reaction to gluten protein in food that causes symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, and bloating. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity causes similar symptoms to celiac but is not an allergic reaction and does not cause permanent intestinal damage. When adopting a gluten-free diet, it’s important to maintain adequate nutritional quality. There are no proven health benefits of eating a gluten-free diet unless a person is allergic or sensitive to gluten. (Locked) More »

Fall allergen alert

Ragweed pollen and mold spores are common causes of allergies during the fall months. Breathing them into the lungs may cause the body to overreact, leading to classic allergy symptoms of a runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing. The symptoms are similar to a cold. However, the hallmark of allergies is clear, watery nasal drainage that lasts for weeks, as opposed to more yellow or green mucus for a few days. Treatment involves over-the-counter or prescription medications, or possibly allergy shots.  More »

Understanding allergy medications

Treating allergies usually starts with over-the-counter products. If they’re not helpful, prescription medications and nasal sprays may do the job. Antihistamines block the production and efficiency of histamine, which is released during an allergic reaction. Decongestants can help shrink blood vessels in the nasal passages, but may cause problems in the long term or when used in combination with antihistamines. Steroid sprays reduce swelling and nasal congestion and are available in a prescription spray form. Nonsteroid nasal sprays are available over the counter and can be effective, but must be used several times a day. (Locked) More »

Common blood pressure drugs can trigger rare allergic reaction

People who take blood pressure drugs known as ACE inhibitors should be aware of a rare side effect that causes the lips, tongue, and face to swell. Less than one in 100 experience the reaction, known as drug-induced angioedema. The reaction is five times more common in people of African descent than those in other racial groups. Women, smokers, people ages 65 and older, and certain people with allergies to pollen are also more prone to the problem. Severe cases can lead to trouble breathing and require urgent medical treatment.  (Locked) More »

On call: Do I have an allergy?

It is possible to develop an allergy later in life, but a constant runny nose that is not associated with itchy eyes and sneezing is more likely due to something called nonallergic rhinitis. (Locked) More »

Fighting back against allergy season

Allergy seasons are worsening, possibly because of the effects of climate change. Fighting back against allergy symptoms involves medications, such as antihistamines, corticosteroid nasal sprays, nonsteroidal nasal sprays, and decongestants. Other strategies to combat symptoms include starting a nasal steroid spray a few weeks before the spring allergies begin, making sure air conditioning and heating filters and vents are clean, closing windows and wearing a mask for outdoor yard duties, staying indoors when pollen levels are highest, using nasal saline irrigations in the nose after working in the yard, and avoiding irritants such as cigarette smoke and pollution. More »