Man do I hate allergies.
The sneezing, coughing, eyes burning, throat it itching….the misery.
Anyone who suffers from allergies know these symptoms too well.
Allergies can make a beautiful spring day seem like hell…I know you guys may think I’m being dramatic but the men with severe allergies are saying preach my man of health brother
So what exactly is allergies, how does it affect our bodies, and what can I do to fix this problem.
One of the things I can tell you as a nurse practitioner is that allergy treatment can be one expensive diagnosis.
Decongestants, antihistamines, nasal spray, inhaled corticosteroids, allergy consults…all cost money because most of these are not covered by insurance there over the counter meds.
What are allergies?
Allergic rhinitis is the most common chronic disease in America affecting 35 million Americans. It accounts for 2 million missed school days and 3 million work days.
First allergic rhinitis is your body’s reaction to an allergen. An allergen can be dust, pollen, or animal dander.
The first time an allergen enters your body, your white blood cells release IgE antibodies.
These IgE antibodies attach to mast cells.
The second time your body is introduced to the allergen,the mast cells that have the IgE attached to it release chemical responses which produce the symptoms of allergies (cough, sneeze, sore throat, red itchy eyes, etc)
This is why the more you are exposed to an allergen, the worst your symptoms will be if not treated.
What to do?
- Decrease environmental allergens.
If you are sneezing indoors and you do not have animals in the house with you, DUST MITES may be the problem.
A. Vacuum with mask on.
B. Replace carpet with hardwoods.
C. Clean you shelves weekly.
D. Install bedroom high density particulate air filters
E. Use an air-condition to reduce humidity
- Nasal spray and antihistamines (Claritin, Allegra, Xyzal) These medications are great if you only have mild symptoms and only need allergy medicine one a week.
- Also I recommend taking the generic version of Claritin. It is less sedating and cheaper than Xyzal and will not make you as sleepy as Allegra.
- Got people with severe allergies:
3. An intranasal steroid (fluticasone/Flonase, budesonide/Rhinocort or triamcinolone/Nasocort) is your first line treatment. They help decrease inflammation in the nose. These medications start to work in hours but the best effect is seen 2-3 weeks . These medication work best when taken daily.
*My recommendation is to take Flonase. It helps with nasal congestion and helps with eye irritation also. The one downfall is the taste of the medication.
Intranasal antihistamine: if symptoms persist with the use of an intranasal steroid and an oral antihistamine. I would continue the intranasal steroid and switch to an intranasal antihistamine.
The intranasal antihistamine works by directly inhibiting the release of the antihistamine from the source.
If symptoms persist and you have been on the medications for longer than 3 months I would follow up with your provider. They can offer you some other medications and consult and allergy specialist who may be able to help you.
Allergies: start after exposure to an allergen (dust, pollen, animal dander). Which causes igE to connect to mast cells.
When you are exposed a second time it causes the mast cells to release histamine and other chemical
What can you do?
- Intranasal steroid (e.g. fluticasone/Flonase the generic version should do.) take daily and remember may take a couple weeks for best results to show.
- Use a daily an oral antihistamine: Claritin the generic version, less sedating.
- If you are still having issues while taking the intranasal steroid and the oral antihistamine switch the oral antihistamine to an intranasal version.
- If you are having symptoms after 3 months while on these medications discuss other options with your provider.
REMEMBER ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR PROVIDER BEFORE STARTING OR STOPPING ANY MEDICATION.