Allergies Articles

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 »

Do you need a portable air purifier?

Portable air purifiers can eliminate or reduce several airborne allergens and pollutants such as dust mite allergens, mold, pollens, and pet dander. There are hundreds of styles and manufacturers of portable air purifiers, which range in price from $30 to $1000. But the big difference is in the filters. Doctors recommend high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, which are able to capture ultra-fine particles in the air. These filters must be replaced annually. It’s best to run an air purifier all day long in an area where one is exposed to air pollutants. (Locked) More »

Dodging skin irritations from problem plants

Many plants can cause rash, so it’s important to learn how to take precautions against them. The easiest way is to wear long sleeves and pants when gardening or spending time near potentially poisonous plants, as well as a thick pair of work gloves. Once inside, use soap and water to wash any body parts that may have come in contact with poisonous plants. If exposure to poisonous plants causes a rash, it will go away on its own in 10 days. However, prescription topical steroids and cool compresses can relieve rash symptoms. More »