Author Topic: Allergies  (Read 3546 times)

Treb3

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Allergies
« on: February 13, 2018, 08:37:56 PM »
I moved to eastern TN 3 years ago. This winter, for the first time, I have been sick for almost 4 months straight. I finally went to a primary care doctor who gave me a steroid shot and antibiotics. Another doctor gave me an antibiotic shotóI was diagnosed with sinusitis.

It didnít go away. Finally I went to an allergy clinic and had one of those skin prick tests done. Apparently Iím allergic to just about the whole world. And apparently this area is one of the allergy hot spots in the country. I can cope by taking allergy meds 2x/day and Flonase, but I still donít feel good and donít breathe well at night. I tried weaning off my allergy meds to see if maybe something else could be contributing and I feel worse than ever.

Iím beginning to lose my faith in doctors/the medical system for other reasons and hate the idea of taking meds for the rest of my life. And the medical bills are racking up. Any ideas out there? Thanks so much

GizmoTX

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2018, 08:46:33 PM »
Get the shots or under the tongue drops. The shots weren't painful & completely removed my need for meds for over 20 years now.

Lichen

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2018, 08:53:02 PM »
Allergy shots. Well worth it. As a young lass in North Texas I was just a few allergies shy of living in a bubble. The shots nearly eradicated my allergies. I moved northwest 10 years later and a few allergies popped up to local flora that wasn't covered the first go around, did the shot thing again with no hesitation. I remember how miserable my childhood was. I now willingly sleep outside sometimes, sans tent, with no worries about pollen or irritants.

ulzxhi

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2018, 09:12:48 PM »
Have you considered using saline? Gel, spray, rinse, neti pot... I love my saline. Antihistamines and nasal sprays make me worse because of my ENT problems on top of my allergies. Good luck!

Malaysia41

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2018, 10:51:11 PM »
Have you considered using saline? Gel, spray, rinse, neti pot... I love my saline. Antihistamines and nasal sprays make me worse because of my ENT problems on top of my allergies. Good luck!

I second this suggestion.

Use distilled water when making your saline solution. Tap water could introduce nasty flesh eating bacteria organisms into your brain. And we wouldnít want that.

Goldielocks

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2018, 10:56:03 PM »
Neti pot doubles the effectiveness of my allergy meds, for certain.

I have pollen issues, so i make certain to shower after coming inside, shoes off at door, dust home, vacuum / no carpets, keep windows closed.   Kids have the dust mite / mold issue, so some of these techniques don't help as much (bedding protectors).

Also, the allergy shots are worth a look.  I know they have helped many people.

Malaysia41

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2018, 11:07:07 PM »
I got shots for ten years. They didn’t cure my allergies by any stretch, but they seemed to curb the extreme reactions that made me a totally unfunctioning mouthbreathing human surrounded by piles of snotted up Kleenex.

With shots I was more of a blow-my-nose every ten minutes human- which is manageable. Without - my sinuses were a faucet o snot. This version of me was not fun at parties.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 07:22:33 AM by Malaysia41 »

debbie does duncan

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2018, 05:37:02 AM »
My husband had lots of problems with his sinuses/breathing. This past winter it got much  worse. He finally went to see a naturopath and was told to stop the dairy. He did and what a difference! I am not saying this is your problem as well but keep an open mind. Many times it is the "food" we eat.

Malaysia41

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2018, 07:24:42 AM »
My husband had lots of problems with his sinuses/breathing. This past winter it got much  worse. He finally went to see a naturopath and was told to stop the dairy. He did and what a difference! I am not saying this is your problem as well but keep an open mind. Many times it is the "food" we eat.

Allergies are a good reason to give up dairy, and dairy is a common trigger for asthma too.

Regarding dairy - there are so many other reasons to give it up - in addition to allergies. Highly recommend.   

Sibley

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2018, 10:28:35 AM »
OK, you need help. I am here as a life long allergy sufferer to give you a rundown in very unscientific terms how this stuff works (I can't spell the scientific terms and am too lazy, but I do actually know all of it). No one else has yet. You are managing this all wrong due to ignorance and you're paying the price. You're miserable, right? Yeah. That's normal when you're still learning how to manage and thus not doing it right. We've all been there, its ok.

Allergies are your immune system reacting to stuff it shouldn't. You can develop allergies at any time. Moving allergy zones (or moving back to a previous allergy zone) can trigger development. When you moved to TN, your immune system said "AAGGGGHHHH!!!!! New stuff, I don't know what it is, it must be dangerous, ATTTACCCCKKKKK!!!!!!!!" This sucks. I sympathize, been there done that. So your entire system went nuts. It made you sick - tons of secondary infections/inflammation/crap because of the new allergies, on top of the allergy symptoms. And you didn't know what the heck was going on, so you didn't do anything to actually get it under control.

You finally got allergy tested and bingo! There's the problem. So you start taking allergy meds, but you don't
feel good and you don't like taking them, so you try to stop and you get worse. This is not how allergies work.

Histamine is released by your body as part of the immune response, it causes inflammation and is what makes you miserable. Allergy meds are antihistamines. In order for them to work, they need to be in your system ALL THE TIME. And they need to be there at a certain level. They work best if you start BEFORE the allergies start and thus get ahead of all the miserableness. You've missed that boat, so it will take a lot longer to get everything to an even keel. You do not actually know yet how it will feel when you're properly treated because you haven't been yet. This could take months to really get under control (sorry, immune system stuff is SOOOO fun /s) So, if you're allergic to pollen, it's best to start taking your allergy meds regularly a few weeks before the pollen shows up and then keep taking it consistently until all the pollen is gone. Same idea whatever your allergies actually are. Depending on your allergies and the patterns, it is very possible to be on allergy meds year round (like me).

You can also potentially try to retrain your immune system to teach it not to freak out. This involves treatment by an allergist. Not everyone is a good candidate (no idea what the details are). Basically, they give you teeny tiny doses of what you're allergic to over a long period of time (2-5 years depending is the range I've heard). Over time, your immune system will reduce or stop reacting to the harmless substance. Once you stop the treatments, this effect will remain for at least a while. It may or may not be permanent, and you can still develop new allergies. This treatment can be injections or drops under the tongue. If you're interested, talk to an allergist.

So, what do you do now to feel better?
1. Start taking your allergy meds. EVERY TIME. Do not miss a dose. Do not stop unless you're told to by a doctor. Do not stop even if you hate the idea of meds (well you can, but I'll shut you down because you're acting stupid.) If you miss a dose, you will feel it. It will take time to get everything settled down, be patient and stock up on the good tissues. Keep in mind that there are multiple meds - clartin, allergia, zyrtec, etc. You may need to experiment to see which works best for you. Clartin for example never did squat for me. I was on allegria for years, then had to switch to zyrtec. Just depends on your allergies and how you respond. Oh, and if your med is a 24 hour one, take it before bed (biology stuff, trust me).

2. You know what you're allergic to, right? Try to avoid. Easier said than done, I know. So you switch to getting it off you asap. Shower at night before bed. Vacuum/dust very regularly. Change sheets weekly, or even more often. Don't eat the foods you're allergic to. Whatever. If you tell us specific allergies, then I can help with more specifics. These are little tricks that help avoid your triggers. They don't fix the problem, but if you're allergic to grass pollen then taking a shower and putting on clean clothes right after mowing the lawn is going to help prevent the reaction. You can google this type of thing too, just be aware that sometimes you get crazy stuff in there. Common sense.

3. A saline rinse of your sinuses (neti pot, etc) can help. It doesn't work for everyone (despite what some people say), some people can't tolerate it for whatever reason. But it's worth a try. You can either buy or make your own. If you make your own, sanitation/sterilization is KEY.

4. Some people find that eliminating certain foods can reduce their allergies, and there's no apparent reason why. Dairy is a common one. You can find this stuff online, but again be aware you'll find a lot of craziness as well. At a basic level, these are things that you're probably being irritated by anyway, so removing that irritation can have a measurable impact.

5. There are nasal sprays that are on the market that can help. I personally can't use them, so not as aware of them in general. Most of them are steroids, so anyone that says you don't need to worry is not very smart. Always consider possible side effects of steroids. There are some people who SHOULD NOT use these unless absolutely necessary. If you've previously had lots of reactions to steroids, don't even bother.

6. The stuffy/can't smell/drippy stuff? Sorry, but there are those of us poor sufferers who can never get rid of it. Even if you've got periods when you're clear you will still have bad times. More practically, don't buy cheap tissues. They'll just tear your skin up. Toilet paper isn't good either. I prefer 3ply kleenix brand.

Good luck. Hope you're able to get everything dialed in so you can feel better.

Meowmalade

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2018, 10:33:19 AM »
Iím allergic to mold and am sick all winter in Portland.  Iím on a maintenance steroid inhaler as well as Albuterol as needed, but sometimes I still wheeze.  I use a neti pot morning and night, which really helps, and if Iím still wheezy at night after using the inhaler, I put a hot pad on my chest and it completely opens up my airways.  Mine is a Bucky neck wrap that I got on sale a long time backó they have gotten quite expensive, but any kind of microwaveable hot pad should help.

I also got allergy shots for four years and recommend themó unfortunately, theyíre not terribly effective for mold but are great for pollens and stuff like that.  The doctor said they peak effectiveness after four years, so then you take a four year break and see if you need to go back, or whether youíve been cured.

Sibley

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2018, 10:56:13 AM »
Iím allergic to mold and am sick all winter in Portland.  Iím on a maintenance steroid inhaler as well as Albuterol as needed, but sometimes I still wheeze.  I use a neti pot morning and night, which really helps, and if Iím still wheezy at night after using the inhaler, I put a hot pad on my chest and it completely opens up my airways.  Mine is a Bucky neck wrap that I got on sale a long time backó they have gotten quite expensive, but any kind of microwaveable hot pad should help.

I also got allergy shots for four years and recommend themó unfortunately, theyíre not terribly effective for mold but are great for pollens and stuff like that.  The doctor said they peak effectiveness after four years, so then you take a four year break and see if you need to go back, or whether youíve been cured.

I have similar, though mine is ragweed causing the asthma. It's really awful, and then you're automatically high risk for any respiratory illnesses cause it'll spiral out of control so quickly. Thanks for the tip on the hot pad, I'm only a year or so into this phase and still working on management. (Allergy shots haven't been an option thus far.)

Malaysia41

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2018, 11:10:33 AM »
OK, you need help. I am here as a life long allergy sufferer to give you a rundown in very unscientific terms how this stuff works (I can't spell the scientific terms and am too lazy, but I do actually know all of it). No one else has yet. You are managing this all wrong due to ignorance and you're paying the price. You're miserable, right? Yeah. That's normal when you're still learning how to manage and thus not doing it right. We've all been there, its ok.

Allergies are your immune system reacting to stuff it shouldn't. You can develop allergies at any time. Moving allergy zones (or moving back to a previous allergy zone) can trigger development. When you moved to TN, your immune system said "AAGGGGHHHH!!!!! New stuff, I don't know what it is, it must be dangerous, ATTTACCCCKKKKK!!!!!!!!" This sucks. I sympathize, been there done that. So your entire system went nuts. It made you sick - tons of secondary infections/inflammation/crap because of the new allergies, on top of the allergy symptoms. And you didn't know what the heck was going on, so you didn't do anything to actually get it under control.

You finally got allergy tested and bingo! There's the problem. So you start taking allergy meds, but you don't
feel good and you don't like taking them, so you try to stop and you get worse. This is not how allergies work.

Histamine is released by your body as part of the immune response, it causes inflammation and is what makes you miserable. Allergy meds are antihistamines. In order for them to work, they need to be in your system ALL THE TIME. And they need to be there at a certain level. They work best if you start BEFORE the allergies start and thus get ahead of all the miserableness. You've missed that boat, so it will take a lot longer to get everything to an even keel. You do not actually know yet how it will feel when you're properly treated because you haven't been yet. This could take months to really get under control (sorry, immune system stuff is SOOOO fun /s) So, if you're allergic to pollen, it's best to start taking your allergy meds regularly a few weeks before the pollen shows up and then keep taking it consistently until all the pollen is gone. Same idea whatever your allergies actually are. Depending on your allergies and the patterns, it is very possible to be on allergy meds year round (like me).

You can also potentially try to retrain your immune system to teach it not to freak out. This involves treatment by an allergist. Not everyone is a good candidate (no idea what the details are). Basically, they give you teeny tiny doses of what you're allergic to over a long period of time (2-5 years depending is the range I've heard). Over time, your immune system will reduce or stop reacting to the harmless substance. Once you stop the treatments, this effect will remain for at least a while. It may or may not be permanent, and you can still develop new allergies. This treatment can be injections or drops under the tongue. If you're interested, talk to an allergist.

So, what do you do now to feel better?
1. Start taking your allergy meds. EVERY TIME. Do not miss a dose. Do not stop unless you're told to by a doctor. Do not stop even if you hate the idea of meds (well you can, but I'll shut you down because you're acting stupid.) If you miss a dose, you will feel it. It will take time to get everything settled down, be patient and stock up on the good tissues. Keep in mind that there are multiple meds - clartin, allergia, zyrtec, etc. You may need to experiment to see which works best for you. Clartin for example never did squat for me. I was on allegria for years, then had to switch to zyrtec. Just depends on your allergies and how you respond. Oh, and if your med is a 24 hour one, take it before bed (biology stuff, trust me).

2. You know what you're allergic to, right? Try to avoid. Easier said than done, I know. So you switch to getting it off you asap. Shower at night before bed. Vacuum/dust very regularly. Change sheets weekly, or even more often. Don't eat the foods you're allergic to. Whatever. If you tell us specific allergies, then I can help with more specifics. These are little tricks that help avoid your triggers. They don't fix the problem, but if you're allergic to grass pollen then taking a shower and putting on clean clothes right after mowing the lawn is going to help prevent the reaction. You can google this type of thing too, just be aware that sometimes you get crazy stuff in there. Common sense.

3. A saline rinse of your sinuses (neti pot, etc) can help. It doesn't work for everyone (despite what some people say), some people can't tolerate it for whatever reason. But it's worth a try. You can either buy or make your own. If you make your own, sanitation/sterilization is KEY.

4. Some people find that eliminating certain foods can reduce their allergies, and there's no apparent reason why. Dairy is a common one. You can find this stuff online, but again be aware you'll find a lot of craziness as well. At a basic level, these are things that you're probably being irritated by anyway, so removing that irritation can have a measurable impact.

5. There are nasal sprays that are on the market that can help. I personally can't use them, so not as aware of them in general. Most of them are steroids, so anyone that says you don't need to worry is not very smart. Always consider possible side effects of steroids. There are some people who SHOULD NOT use these unless absolutely necessary. If you've previously had lots of reactions to steroids, don't even bother.

6. The stuffy/can't smell/drippy stuff? Sorry, but there are those of us poor sufferers who can never get rid of it. Even if you've got periods when you're clear you will still have bad times. More practically, don't buy cheap tissues. They'll just tear your skin up. Toilet paper isn't good either. I prefer 3ply kleenix brand.

Good luck. Hope you're able to get everything dialed in so you can feel better.

Okay - I'm going to pile in on this.  I've been pegging 10/10 on allergies most of my life. I'm crazy allergic to grass pollen, but all the usual suspects as well: dander, mold, hay, tree pollen, etc.

Adding to the points Sibley made:

Histamine - it's not just histamine that your body releases upon allergic freak out, there are something like ~20 others including leukotrienes and, well, IDK what else. Medical researchers focus on histamine because it's the most common.  But there are some drugs out there like montelukast (singulair) that affect leukotrienes.  You may want to try taking this in combination with say, loratadine. Like Sibley said, one or two might not work for you so try a few.  I found that loratadine would work for me (somewhat) for a few months, then I'd switch to zyrtec, and then back.  All the while I took monolukast too.

Prednisone.  My doctor gave me oodles of prednisone. I hate taking the stuff, and I'll go a long time without taking it.  But when I get to a point where I've had a sinus infection for weeks, I can't sleep, my head hurts from the pressure and I'm disfunctional, I go on a 7-10 day course. I'd tell you the dosage, but I'm not a doctor so you should probably ask your doctor. I do 1/3 to 1/2 of what my doctor recommends, and then I step it down 5mg a day till I'm at 10mg and then end it. 

Prednisone is no joke. It can damage organs in high amounts for long periods of time.  That said, your body does produce it - about 5 mg a day IIRC. So it's not like taking arsenic or anything.  What it does is 'reset' your system.  It tells your allergies to calm the F down and they do. As you taper, make sure you're taking your loratadine, monolukast - etc - so when you stop the prednisone, you are maintaining the other meds.

Neti pot - it's a great supplement but it's no cure. It's worth doing and getting used to so you can use it when you need it.  Consider heating the distilled water / saline mixture a bit.  That loosens the gunk even more than cold. As you get used to it, you can start inhaling the stream deep into your sinuses. Eventually you may find it provides loads of relief.

Avoidance - yeah - I second Sibley on taking a shower before bed, changing sheets often, clean clothes, clean pillow case, etc. I change my pillow case every other day.  Use a allergy pillow liner too.

Yes on the good quality tissues. When you're in period of infrequent nose blowing no biggie. But have soft plush aloe or whatever infused boxes on backup when you wake at 3am blowing your damned nose every minute for hours on end.

For food - I did a whole video series on me exploring whether food was to blame for my allergies.  Dairy was pretty clear. The rest inconclusive. I even did an everlywell igg test and ate a massive amount of mushrooms to see if I was allergic. I can send it to you if you like.

Good luck. Welcome to our hell.

Meowmalade

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2018, 11:58:57 AM »
Iím allergic to mold and am sick all winter in Portland.  Iím on a maintenance steroid inhaler as well as Albuterol as needed, but sometimes I still wheeze.  I use a neti pot morning and night, which really helps, and if Iím still wheezy at night after using the inhaler, I put a hot pad on my chest and it completely opens up my airways.  Mine is a Bucky neck wrap that I got on sale a long time backó they have gotten quite expensive, but any kind of microwaveable hot pad should help.

I also got allergy shots for four years and recommend themó unfortunately, theyíre not terribly effective for mold but are great for pollens and stuff like that.  The doctor said they peak effectiveness after four years, so then you take a four year break and see if you need to go back, or whether youíve been cured.

I have similar, though mine is ragweed causing the asthma. It's really awful, and then you're automatically high risk for any respiratory illnesses cause it'll spiral out of control so quickly. Thanks for the tip on the hot pad, I'm only a year or so into this phase and still working on management. (Allergy shots haven't been an option thus far.)

Yeah, I got bronchitis every winter for the last ten years (you wouldn't think a place like Austin TX would be moldy, but it is-- and then I moved to Portland).  It's only these past two years that I feel like I have it under better control.  I should definitely change my sheets more since I'm also allergic to dust mites, so every time I lie down at night it gets worse and I start to cough.  But the hot pad really does miracles!  Bonus: if you're sore everywhere because you've been coughing so much, the hot pad helps to relieve that as well!  I actually have a Bucky body wrap as well as a neck wrap, and can use one on my back and one on my chest when it's really bad.  Just note that with the buckwheat wraps, you probably shouldn't microwave them more than 2-3 times in a row, because they release moisture every time-- leave it overnight to re-absorb moisture.  My mom kept microwaving hers and then had to throw it out when it started to burn!

GuitarStv

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2018, 12:10:54 PM »
Allergy shots from the doctor have worked well for my mother, father, sister, wife, and step mother.  I'd give them a try in your place.

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2018, 12:46:14 PM »
This may sound crazy... but Acupuncture can help. 

my history/story:  My cousin's teenage son had to go weekly to get allergy shots.  He seemed to be allergic to everything.  So the only thing that was helping him was these shots.  My cousin went to a party and there was her good friend petting a cat on her lap.  This friend had always been allergic to cats.  She loved cats, but she could never touch much less stay in a house w/ cats for more than a couple hours before her eyes would start burning.  Cousin asked her what the deal was, and her response was acupuncture.  She had started going to an acupuncturist since she was tired of her allergies (not just cat) and was referred to give it a try.  Fast forward... my cousin's son quit taking shots and is now goes monthly for acupuncture during high allergy seasons.  My wife heard this story, and she religiously took 12 hr. allegra D year round (only med that worked all others did not).  She was getting tired of taking this med and felt like it was losing it's effectiveness.  So she went to this acupuncturist.  She went weekly for a month then went once a month for 2 months.  she then went on as-needed basis after this.  We since have moved from the area and 4 years later her allergies are just now starting to act up.  So we are in the process of looking for a acupuncturist. 

If you do decide to look at doing acupuncture... be sure to research and ask for references.  Also maybe ask if they know how to handle people with allergies and if they have ever done this and ask if you can get a testimony form them.  Our first acupuncturist was an actual D.O. Doctor and spent 2 years getting classically trained in Asia.

Good luck, but it sounds like this winter is kicking your ass like it is my wife's.

FLBiker

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2018, 12:49:51 PM »
I went to get shots (I've had moderate allergies my whole life) and was talked out of it.  Basically, the doc said if I could control it via meds (which I generally can) it's not worth the hassle.  I take loratadine regularly during allergy times (which, for me in FL is winter), and I use Flonase twice daily as needed.  I was also told that it's OK to double the dose of Flonase for the first week of use (ie twice in morning and twice in evening).

And at the risk of providing spurious information, I feel like the biggest change to my allergies has been becoming vegetarian.  I don't know why that would impact it (and maybe it's just a coincidence) but I've been vegetarian for ~10 years (I'm 41) and my allergies have definitely been better during that time.  Someone once told me folate might help (which is in beans) but I have no idea.

Spitfire

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2018, 01:07:18 PM »
Another vote for allergy shots, they worked quite well for me.

startingsmall

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2018, 01:41:23 PM »
I've always been an allergy sufferer but never considered it much more than an annoyance... until this year, when multiple medical professionals pointed out that my "winter crud" (which I've always just blamed on the fact that I'm a Florida girl trapped in NC, working in a profession where no one is allowed sick days and therefore illness runs rampant) is likely a manifestation of my allergies with a side of asthma.

Singulair has been AMAZING for me. Seriously, amazing. Singulair, Flonase, and an albuterol inhaler to use before exercise had me literally walking around singing "A Whole New World" from Aladdin. I also do the sinus flush every day.

I'll consider the allergy testing & hyposensitization if the current approach stops working, but my doc said the stats in people are pretty similar to the stats I give my clients for their pets... which is that 60-80% of patients show some degree of improvement at one year, meaning 20-40% receive no noticeable benefit. I can't even see how I could get in for injections with my work schedule, so I consider that a last resort.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 01:56:51 PM by startingsmall »

rubybeth

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2018, 01:50:08 PM »
I'll second everything Sibley and Malaysia41 wrote. Diagnosed at 11 with many allergies, started allergy shots soon after. I did more than 10 years of shots and they got rid of my dog allergy and greatly reduced my ragweed and other seasonal stuff. Didn't touch my cat or dust allergy, though. I have to avoid cats like the plague (my throat closes up). Can't do a lot to avoid dust except keep things clean and have my husband do the wet dusting (actually wiping dust and getting rid of it, not just shoving it around). We have a good vacuum that helps. If you have a house with forced air, regularly changing furnace filters can help, too. Keep windows closed during allergy season and filter out the "bad" air.

Taking my medication at night, as well as showering at night helps a lot. Showing at night keeps dust mite down in bedding, as well. I take Flonase and Nasacort during bad times--multiple sprays was recommended by my PA during peak seasons. I am susceptible to sinus infections and bronchitis because of my allergies. I also have had severe eczema with too much contact with dust--so my dermatologist actually said to take my Zyrtec every day, year round. I've had minimal reactions since then. If I touch anything I'm allergic to or might be allergic to, I wash hands or shower and change all clothing afterward.

I like the Sinus Rinse bottle for when I'm especially stuffed up or have a sinus infection: https://www.amazon.com/Sinus-Rinse-100-Complete-Kit/dp/B000RDZFZ0 I don't do it every day, but my typical symptom of seasonal allergies is itchy eyes. The Flonase helps with that. Another tip for itchy eyes or eczema--put Flonase on it. I had super itchy eye lids last year, and took to spraying some Flonase into my palm and dabbing it on eyelids. OMG, it's excellent. A doctor also suggested this for my sister who has reactions to her insulin pump adhesive--water based, scientifically proven, easy, and cheap.

I have never had any luck with elimination diets or using "natural" stuff (supplements, etc.). Unless someone can prove to me how something works, I'm highly skeptical. And I have tried probably 20 different medications over the years, 10 different nasal sprays, etc. You may have to try a lot to find one that works for you with minimal or manageable side affects.

fuzzy math

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2018, 06:48:59 PM »
Hypertonic saline spray. It's hard to find. It draws the inflammation and fluid out of your nose. Take a quick shower and change clothes if you've been outside, don't get pollen all over your furniture. If you're taking Zyrtec or other meds regularly, you will have grown accustomed to them and they will do nothing for you. Save them for when you're affected most and take as needed. They work within an hour.

My son sees a famous allergy /asthma specialist and those were his recommendations.

Treb3

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2018, 07:27:26 PM »
You all are so awesome!! Thank you for your replies. I have learned a lot and am going to try to implement as much of this as possible. No more skipping meds although I do harbor secret hopes that this will go away as suddenly as it seemed to appear. Iím a pretty clean person normally but Iíve started washing my sheets more often and just decided to eliminate dairy. One of my coworkers told me to try the neti pot but I have trouble making that work? I need to watch some YouTube videos on it I guess. Iíve never been able to sit on grass, etc because it has always given me a rash, but I always just thought that I had sensitive skin.  (My skin is sensitive in other ways too.) The doctor said maybe I always have had allergies but something happened this year to kick my respiratory system into overdrive.  From my allergy test: I am VERY allergic to bermuda grass, cocklebur, weed mix, ragweed, hickory/pecan, oak, hackberry and walnut trees, 2 kinds of mold, cats, dogs, feathers, and dust mites. I am SOMEWHAT allergic to half of the grasses they tested, all of the weeds, all of the trees, all but two of the molds, horses and cockroaches, soy, shellfish, fish, and peanuts.  And hiking these beautiful mountains is how I try to stay in shape!  I live in a very nice apartment and recently asked them to change the air filters and check for mold. They did both. I do work in an older building (I have been there one year) but donít know what it may have. My area has been hard hit by illness this winteróflu and GI illnesses especiallyóbut I looked it up online and it said that the pollen count is low now. So that doesnít really make sense. I donít really have a reason to say this but deep down I feel like all of this misery is really coming from the dust mites or mold. Maybe because I am used to everything else affecting me through skin rashes upon prolonged contact? Any other thoughts? Feel free to call me out on my faulty logic ó I appreciate the info earlier on not skipping meds to see if I can wean off etc! Yíall are seriously the best!

Sibley

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2018, 10:50:40 AM »
"I am VERY allergic to bermuda grass, cocklebur, weed mix, ragweed, hickory/pecan, oak, hackberry and walnut trees, 2 kinds of mold, cats, dogs, feathers, and dust mites. I am SOMEWHAT allergic to half of the grasses they tested, all of the weeds, all of the trees, all but two of the molds, horses and cockroaches, soy, shellfish, fish, and peanuts."

Yeah, you're screwed outside. That sucks. Certain times of the year are going to be worse for you, start paying attention to "pollen counts" and the like, you'll develop a sense for it. Dust and mold is pretty much year round.

No more soy, shellfish, fish, or peanuts. Luckily, you don't have a serious allergy so a bit of cross contamination isn't a big problem, but avoid them. Likewise, no horseback riding, and I hope you don't have cockroaches.

Don't get pets. Maybe a fish? If you have them currently, if you decide to get rid of them DO NOT DUMP them, make sure they're re-homed somewhere where they will be cared for and loved. Otherwise, I will hunt you down and you will regret it. Ignore any doctors who tell you to get rid of pets too - that decision is based on how well you can control symptoms. I'm allergic to one of my cats. It's not a problem.

Get "hypo allergenic" pillows, bedding etc. No feather pillows, no down comforters. You can also get allergy covers to help for pillows. Wash bedding (including blankets) frequently, this will help with the dust mites. Avoid heavy curtains, carpet, and excess quantities of stuff all over - attracts/retains dust, makes it harder to remove the dust.

Avoid hiking first thing in the morning. Pollen is worse then, wait a couple hours. Make sure to shower before bed/after hiking.

Given that list though, allergy shots or similar are probably going to be a huge help to you in the medium to long term. Ask the allergist to throw as much of it as they can into the shots, I don't know what they can do and it's been a very long time since I had my course.

For allergy meds, find the list of what each one helps with and match up to your allergies to see which one covers the most. From there, try different ones. They're medicines, some of them simply won't work as well for you. There can also be differences in your response to brand vs generic versions - this is due to the fillers/binders they use. May or may not be an issue, but sometimes it matters. You can also develop a tolerance for the meds over time, that's why I switched from Allegria to Zyrtec.

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2018, 02:11:35 PM »
Neti pots are weird. Try the sinus rinse bottle I linked to instead. It's super easy (just squeeze the bottle, water goes in one nostril and out the other, you can breathe through your mouth while doing it). It takes a little practice but can help to clear out sinus cavity, especially if do go outdoors and start sneezing a lot or get exposed to a trigger like a cat.

Have you tried a nasal spray?

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2018, 02:31:58 PM »
I like the sinus rinse bottle, too.  Did your allergist talk to you about that at all?  If not...you might want to consider a second opinion at another allergist too.  (I've been instructed to use the sinus rinse bottle when I feel a cold or bad allergy attack coming on.)

At my first appointment, my allergist told me I'd be better off moving to a different state.  You might be, too!

I've been on allergy meds for 11 years.  Singulair/montelukast daily and Nasacort (I use the OTC version now; much cheaper than the Rx version).  I stabilized after a few years (before that it was 2 sinus infections that turned into bronchitis each winter plus a minimum of 2 colds), and the doctor told me to try dropping the meds during two specific months of the year that he thought would be less bad on my allergies.  Within a week of stopping the med, I'm sicker than a dog, and then it takes a month until I feel better.  Not doing that anymore.

Mold is my killer (although I'm also allergic to most other green things and dust mites, just slightly less bad than mold) and I live in a rainy area.  Two years ago, the doctor told me to supplement with Allegra on days it rains.

Now I'm fully stable, to the point that my allergist told me to get my annual Singulair script from my GP because I don't need him anymore.

I'll be on those 3 meds for the rest of my life (unless I move, and I don't want to move).

You will probably be on meds for the rest of your life or until you move, too.  It's expensive.  It's worth it - my life is sooooo much better now that I have it under control.*

*10 years into treatment, I developed a new allergy - tree nuts!  My personal theory is my immune system got bored ;)  No more macadamia nut cookies for me. :(

furrychickens

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2018, 04:45:00 AM »
Dairy was a major trigger for me, would have tons of chronic sinus infections until I figured out.

Weirdly enough, however, since switching permanently to grain-free low carb eating I can have almost unlimited amounts of cheese before I notice sinus buildup.

So sometimes food triggers are complex to figure out. And as so many of the posts indicate, itís a highly individual process!

Meowmalade

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2018, 07:53:43 PM »
Using a neti pot took a bit of training, but has been great once I got used to it.  I got a ceramic one, which works a heck of a lot better than my original plastic one.  Use very warm water with non-iodized salt (might want to start with premade packets, but then can switch to NON-iodized salt to save money, once you get an idea of how much salt is needed), and mix it in with almost-full pot.  Tilt your head forward a little past facing down (this is important!), and then tilt to the side.  Put the neti pot against your nostril and let the water flow until the pot is emptied.  Plug the other nostril and blow out to clear the flushed nostril.  Then repeat on the other side.

At first I wasn't sure if it was helping, but now that I'm used to it I feel a definite improvement in my nose breathing right after I do it.  Right now I'm doing it morning and night for best results.

Livethedream

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2018, 09:12:30 PM »
Allergy shots are worth it. I have allergies and asthma and used to get pretty messed up each fall and spring. At least one sinus infection each season that would require antibiotics. Now, allergy season is about one week long for me. Iím happy I started my shots, sad I waited so long to do them.

Routine during allergy season per Allergist
Air purifier
Allegra
2xflonase twice a day
Neil med Sinus Rinse twice a day, or more as needed.
If congested Afrin x2 two times a day for three days. Then you gotta hold off on it for a while.

cheddarpie

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2018, 09:49:05 PM »
I grew up in East TN and am just here to sympathize -- I had horrible allergies my whole life until I moved to the Northwest. If you're like me, my allergies were awful in the fall but not bad in the spring (ragweed etc.), so maybe you'll have a little relief coming your way... Good luck and hang in there!
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 10:24:12 AM by cheddarpie »

milliemchi

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2018, 09:22:49 PM »
I did allergy shots over 5 years. They were helping way before the 5 year mark, and for at least 10 years after that. They are a bit of a hassle, as I had to go to the clinic when they were being ramped up (a couple of years, I think), then when on maintenance they let me do them myself at home.

Treb3

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2018, 04:56:43 PM »
Have any of you tried the dust mite bed covers? Any advice with those? My allergy to dust mites is +++ so the doctor told me today that I DEFINITELY need to buy those

furrychickens

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2018, 06:10:30 PM »
Have any of you tried the dust mite bed covers? Any advice with those? My allergy to dust mites is +++ so the doctor told me today that I DEFINITELY need to buy those

It seemed to help ours. I also run a HEPA purifier 24/7 in the bedroom.

Treb3

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2018, 07:21:02 PM »
Thank you. Do you remember what type you bought? They seem to vary widely in price and description...

furrychickens

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2018, 07:27:33 PM »
Thank you. Do you remember what type you bought? They seem to vary widely in price and description...

I think they were relatively basic ones from Target.

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #34 on: March 21, 2018, 07:46:56 PM »
Definitely get the pillow covers also, if you haven't already, and get new pillows regularly.  I get new ones every year.  My Dr thought those were even more important the mattress covers, since they are right by your nose, eyes, & mouth. 

rubybeth

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #35 on: March 22, 2018, 06:57:42 AM »
Thank you. Do you remember what type you bought? They seem to vary widely in price and description...

I've used this one: https://www.target.com/p/allerease-maximum-mattress-protector/-/A-17273319?preselect=16936131#lnk=sametab

Definitely agree on the pillow covers. I have foam pillows that are AMAZING and also seem to resist dust mite. They never flatten out, never need to be fluffed, and I have them in allergy covers, as well.

Favorite pillows: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Beautyrest-Latex-Pillow-with-Removable-Cover-in-Multiple-Sizes/13283704?sourceid=1500000000000003260370&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=13283704

11ducks

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2018, 05:48:38 AM »
Same story- allergic to pets/grasses/mites. I echo Dairy X 100. I've been strictly off it for 3 years now. For me, it took around 3 days after eating dairy to wake up feeling awful, so it was a tricky trigger to pinpoint. But without it, I'm so much clearer. I can breathe through both nostrils (something I didn't do for the first 25 years of my life). The exhaustion, headaches, facial aching, dizziness and general fugue all disappeared within the first few weeks. Try it solidly for a month.

When you get good at it, it's pretty easy to replace at home- coconut milk is good in cooking, and I get soy milk / cheese when I need it. There's even vegan Easter eggs! It's harder in restaurants and in premade foods, almost all meals have dairy in some form (I tend to get whatever the vegan option is).



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Re: Allergies
« Reply #37 on: March 23, 2018, 08:05:29 AM »
YMMV with the milk thing - I used to get quite bad hayfever.  I'm allergic to mold, ragweed, and some types of tree pollen.  I went off milk products entirely for two months, and there was no change of any sort to my symptoms.  I did several years of allergy shots.  I currently drink a glass or two of milk a day, regularly eat cottage cheese, yogurt, and butter . . . and have no allergy symptoms at all.

acroy

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #38 on: March 23, 2018, 08:46:10 AM »
Terrible allergies here
- I am not allergic to dairy, cutting it out had no effect
- Neti pot or sinus rinse helps a lot
- Allergy shots YAY
- find the meds that work for you. experiment with loratadine, cetirizine, flonase, rhinocort, etc. These can be bought CHEAP on Amazon or Ebay (yes they can!)
- wear a dust mask in high wind/dust conditions. Breathe Healthy makes excellent infinite-use masks, $16
- clean out your house and keep it clean. Seal it up (no open windows). Fine filter in HVAC and run it on FAN when you need to; it becomes a whole-house filter.
- get a humidity meter for your house immediately, $10. Humidity over 50% inside spells trouble: mold, mites etc. Run AC or de-humidifier to manage (yes this has a significant electrical cost)

If all else fails, move to the desert or an island, or a desert island :). that is my FIRE plan!

good luck!

Treb3

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #39 on: March 26, 2018, 03:12:56 PM »
Everyone!!!! I feel so much better! Not perfect, but much better. I got the dust mite covers for my mattress and pillows and my doctor added Singulair to my med cocktail (Iím doing Allegea in the AM and Zertec in the PM). I also got my first allergy shot today.

Soó any recommendations on HEPA filters? Humidity meters?

Dee18

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #40 on: March 26, 2018, 07:24:27 PM »
Allergic to almost every grass, weed and tree...as well as molds, cats and dogs.  Allergy shots have really helped me, although they have caused scar tissue in my upper arms so much that they hurt more now (year three and I get 4 shots at once every 3 weeks).  Flonase made my nose bleed almost immediately and most antihistamines made me feel drugged.  Took me a year to discover Nasacort and 1/2 tablet of Zyrtec were enough.  Now, I only need those during the worst of allergy season. I tried HEPA air purifiers twice, and both times they made my allergies worse....moving air just stirs up whatever is in the air.  I owned an old house and had the duct work all replaced with new metal ductwork and the furnace thoroughly cleaned...that helped a lot.  MMM idea: I get Zyrtec with a prescription and for me that is cheaper than even Costco prices.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2018, 05:32:50 PM by Dee18 »

Meowmalade

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #41 on: March 27, 2018, 06:55:10 PM »
I have a couple of BlueAir filters that was recommended by a friend with severe allergies and asthma.  One of them I bought off Craigslist and negotiated it way down because of the cost of a new filter.  I don't change the expensive filters every 6 months like they recommend-- probably more like once a year or more-- but I vacuum it with a brush attachment.  I have a search on eBay and once in a while will find a deal on them!

Malaysia41

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #42 on: March 28, 2018, 01:12:29 PM »
I have a couple of BlueAir filters that was recommended by a friend with severe allergies and asthma.  One of them I bought off Craigslist and negotiated it way down because of the cost of a new filter.  I don't change the expensive filters every 6 months like they recommend-- probably more like once a year or more-- but I vacuum it with a brush attachment.  I have a search on eBay and once in a while will find a deal on them!

Have they made a difference?

acroy

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #43 on: March 28, 2018, 01:18:47 PM »

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #44 on: March 28, 2018, 01:20:04 PM »
Everyone!!!! I feel so much better! Not perfect, but much better. I got the dust mite covers for my mattress and pillows and my doctor added Singulair to my med cocktail (Iím doing Allegea in the AM and Zertec in the PM). I also got my first allergy shot today.

Soó any recommendations on HEPA filters? Humidity meters?

FWIW on the over-the-counter stuff. Buy generics whenever possible, and check hospital outpatient pharmacies if you have any nearby. I work at a hospital, and we sell everything for way less than you pay anywhere else (generic Claritin is like $16 for 300 pills, Flonase is $18 for the 120 dose bottle, Children's Tylenol is $2.50, and on and on). I get an employee discount on top of it, but anybody can walk in off the street and buy from us.

Meowmalade

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #45 on: March 28, 2018, 02:15:53 PM »
I have a couple of BlueAir filters that was recommended by a friend with severe allergies and asthma.  One of them I bought off Craigslist and negotiated it way down because of the cost of a new filter.  I don't change the expensive filters every 6 months like they recommend-- probably more like once a year or more-- but I vacuum it with a brush attachment.  I have a search on eBay and once in a while will find a deal on them!

Have they made a difference?

I started filters/dust mite sheet/allergy shots all at the same time, so I can't attribute my improvement solely on one thing.  However, I can attest to the filters pulling a ton of dust out of the air, based on how dirty and noticeably heavier they are by the time I change them.  They did help my friend a lot (her allergies are more severe)-- she got the carbon filter version which also removes gases and odors.

Sibley

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #46 on: March 28, 2018, 02:37:07 PM »
FYI, I buy a bottle of 365 zyrtec (generic) off Amazon for about $6.

Glad you're feeling better. Keep up with your meds and good practices and hopefully you'll be ok though this coming allergy season.

Treb3

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #47 on: April 10, 2018, 03:59:50 PM »
I did great for about a week and a half. Dust mite covers on the bed and pillows, Allegra in the AM, zertec and Singulair in the PM. Allergy shots 3x/week--I've had 7 doses total to date. But I started feeling worse a few days ago and now I have a hacking cough, feel crummy again, and want to do nothing more than lie on my couch when I get home from work. But I spent 6 months like that -- can't do it again. I'm going to finally order that HEPA filter and clean my apartment again. I don't think that's it; I'm a pretty clean person. Any other thoughts to make the misery go away? I am actually in the process of looking for a telecommuting program analyst job so I can leave the area...

Sibley

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #48 on: April 10, 2018, 07:31:02 PM »
Disorganized, sorry.

Allergy shots take longer to kick in to have a measurable effect, at least from what I remember. And you're getting further into allergy season, so things are getting worse out there. Make sure you're showering at night to get the pollen and stuff off you.

Also consider that you actually could be sick. Allergies and a cold feel about the same for a lot of people, depending on stages and severity. Give it a few days, keep up with the allergy meds/routine. Lots of fluids (will help regardless if it's allergies or cold).

If you're still feeling crappy, definitely mention it to the nurse when you're getting your allergy shot. Just in case it could be related to the shots somehow.

And if I read your post right - this is the first spring allergy season you're experiencing, right? Spring is often the worst time of year for allergy sufferers. Even the best of routines can struggle under the onslaught of Nature.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Allergies
« Reply #49 on: April 10, 2018, 08:45:08 PM »
Neti pot doubles the effectiveness of my allergy meds, for certain.

I have pollen issues, so i make certain to shower after coming inside, shoes off at door, dust home, vacuum / no carpets, keep windows closed.   Kids have the dust mite / mold issue, so some of these techniques don't help as much (bedding protectors).

Also, the allergy shots are worth a look.  I know they have helped many people.

+1 to both the Neti pot and the shower on coming inside.

Also, get rid of the carpet in your house. It is a horrible mold-generating instrument.