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Ever since my seven-year-old son was a baby he was a snorer. Every time my father visited, he would joke, "¡Tienes una sinfonía!" You have a symphony!

At first my husband and I laughed off the snoring as a quirk of our sweet, smart, and otherwise healthy boy. But it became an issue when teachers started commenting on how "tired" he looked during the day. Also, his younger sister, who he shares a room with, started crawling into our bed at night because his snoring would awaken her.

After consulting with my son’s pediatrician, I took him to a nose and throat specialist thinking that he needed his tonsils and/or adenoids taken out. The specialist found somewhat enlarged tonsils, but not anything that required surgery. He then referred us to an allergy specialist.

Three doctors and 22 skin pricks later, the allergy specialist came back with a diagnosis: my son is allergic to all grass, ragweed, another type of weed, and oak trees. Because it is spring, his allergies have been particularly bad and he is now on a nasal spray as well as children’s Claritin when he needs it. My son loves the outdoors that I am seriously considering allergy shots for him in the future. I can’t imagine locking him up every spring -- windows and everything closed -- which is pretty much a recommendation by WebMD.

I suspect that there is a genetic component to allergies as my husband is allergic to dust and dander. I do not have any allergies that I know of, but having lived in a Latino family in an urban setting almost all my life, I have been surrounded by friends and family with inhalers or pills to control allergies and/or asthma. And considering the uptick in both asthma and allergies -- think the infamous peanut ban in schools nowadays -- I am often left wondering what is going on here?

As it turns out, I am not crazy to think that we are seeing an uptick in allergies and it is caused by, drum roll please, environmental "changes." Everywhere I turn, one of the top news stories, on the radio, on TV, on the Internet is how 2011 purports to be the WORST YEAR for allergies. Here is a FOX News story on it. Last year, I read a similar story in Time magazine on how last year’s WORST YEAR allergies were triggered by none other than…global warming:

As the climate warms, it is likely to favor trees that give off pollen — like oaks and hickories — over pines, spruces and fir trees, which don't. By 2100, once relatively cool states in the Northeast — including Vermont, New Hampshire and New York — could have the sort of highly allergenic trees now seen in the hotter Southeast, as species migrate north to adjust to the heat.

Asthmatics will suffer as well — about 10 million Americans have allergic asthma, which is triggered by allergens. The condition tends to make people unusually sensitive to air pollution, and some studies indicate that pollution will worsen over time if fossil-fuel emissions aren't curbed.

Even if one doesn’t believe in global warming, I want to point out that FOX News and Time are not exactly known for their liberal commentators. Also, there is no denying that there have been a lot of watery eyes and running noses lately. Not to mention we can no longer pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in our children’s lunchboxes, because all allergies, including food allergies, are deadlier and on the rise.

An estimated 3.9% of children and 2% of adults now have life-endangering food allergies, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A study released this week pegged the price of doctor visits, hospital care, and lost working days due to food allergies at $500 million a year.

Keep in mind that this data does not include non-food allergies like those of my husband and son. An estimated 60 million people in the United States suffer from asthma or allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. A whopping 90 percent of children have "allergic asthma," in which asthmatic symptoms are induced by allergens such as pollens, mites or molds.

A disproportionate number of both asthma and allergy cases are urban Latinos. Here are two statistics in the Asthma and Allergy Foundation website that really spoke to me:

Hispanics may have an elevated risk for exposure to air pollution since a disproportionate number live in areas failing to meet one or more national standards for air pollutants. (It is estimated that 80 percent of Hispanics live in areas that failed to meet one U.S. EPA air quality standard, compared to 65 percent African Americans and 57 percent of Whites.)

Puerto Ricans (I am half Puerto Rican, by the way) may be at increased risk for multiple indoor and outdoor allergies compared to Whites.

 

This is the thing. Even if allergies were caused by genes alone, we can't deny that air quality exacerbates these symptoms. I am now too painfully aware of this every time I hear my son snore or see his nose running after playing outside. I am reminded of this each and every time he takes his medicine, which is every day, and probably for the rest of his life as the allergy specialist told me. We are officially part of the $18 billion spent every year on allergy treatment in the United States.

Do you or your child suffer from allergies? Then please join me and the Moms Clean Air Force in urging the EPA to strengthen our air quality laws. Having to lock up our kids to keep them healthy should not be acceptable to anyone.

Originally posted to Elisa on Tue May 10, 2011 at 01:35 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots, LatinoKos, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

    •  RE climate change / climate disruption & allergies (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nzanne, belinda ridgewood, liz dexic

      The National Wildlife Foundation had a good (very accessible) report on this last year.  As I put it, searching for a business 'silver lining' (snark...), Global Warming will boost Benadryl sales

      In short:

      ■ Longer growing seasons enables greater pollen and other allergen production over more extended time frames.

      “In one study, a 30 day earlier arrival of spring resulted in a 54.8 percent in crease in ragweed pollen production.” [Note: the best measurements are that spring has advanced by 10-14 days over the past 20 years in the northern hemisphere.]

      ■ Disrupted weather patterns and growing conditions favor weed species with greater pollen and allergen production.
      ■ Warmer temperatures fosters more intense pollen and other allergen production.
      ■ Increased Carbon Dioxide levels intensify allergen potency
      “One study found that …t he allergenic protein in ragweed increased by 70 percent when co2 levels were increased from current levels of about 385 ppm to 600 ppm, the levels expected by mid-century if emissions are not reduced.”

      ■ Increased Carbon Dioxide levels spur increased pollen and other allergen production.
      “pollen production is projected to increase by 60-100 percent by around 2085 from this carbon dioxide increase alone”

      Add these all together and we’re looking at not a few percentage points increase in ragweed allergens (the primary cause of allergy suffering in the United States) but several hundred percent increase.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:06:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bless You n/t (19+ / 0-)

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace- Hendrix

    by Maori on Tue May 10, 2011 at 01:40:26 PM PDT

  •  conifer trees like pines give off pollen (23+ / 0-)

    you can see it like a yellow dust on cars. Maybe what they meant is that it's not as irritating as other pollen. Some types of pollen look like velcro under a microscope.

    A man, a plan, a canal, Panama

    by Karl Rover on Tue May 10, 2011 at 01:44:04 PM PDT

    •  Or maybe it is... (5+ / 0-)

      My grandmother, father, and younger son are all fairly allergic to it; I'm only mildly allergic to it.

      We took down a (very badly planted--doing damage to paving) pine, that was just outside my son's bedroom, a couple years ago. It made a real difference in the hell of the pine pollen season for him.

      "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

      by ogre on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:53:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That annoyed me about the article. (4+ / 0-)

      I'm a tree geneticist, so when I saw that "spruces and firs do not give off pollen," I gawked.  Here's the deal: all conifers are wind pollinated and give off fine pollen that goes all over the place.  Many of the flowering trees, including oak and birch, also give off wind-borne pollen.  Oddly enough, most conifer pollen is hypo-allergenic, the main exception being pollen from the genus Juniperus, which includes trees like eastern redcedar (not a true cedar but a juniper.)  As far as I know, no one knows why, but folks have guessed that it's due to the small pollen grains of conifers like pines, spruces, and firs.

      •  nanoboy - do you know the 'cedar' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        belinda ridgewood

        or juniper in the southwest, above about 4000 feet? Darn, that seems to give me wicked allergies.... Is it pollinating now?

        •  Here are some (0+ / 0-)

          Juniperus osteosperma Utah juniper
          Juniperus communis common juniper
          Juniperus californica California juniper (maybe)
          Juniperus deppeana alligator juniper
          Juniperus monosperma one-seed juniper
          Juniperus occidentalis mountain juniper
          Juniperus scopulorum Rocky Mountain juniper

          I don't know about those species in particular, but my understanding is that junipers pollinate in late winter or early spring, so your allergies are likely due to something else, probably grass pollen.  The oaks, birches, elms, poplars, and maples should all be done with their business.

  •  I have allergies because I live in DC. (15+ / 0-)

    You know how every visiting foreign dignitary or head of state back in the day used to bring a local tree for the President to plant as a token of the nations' eternal friendship?

    Guess where those ended up?

    If any kind of pollen gets you, you'll be sneezing in DC in the springtime.... which is a real shame, because otherwise, it's generally the most gorgeous time of year in the nation's capital.

  •  All my life (14+ / 0-)

    Hey Elisa, I've had allergies and asthma all my life. I keep the asthma under control (mostly), but the allergies are always raging. Thanks for raising the issue.

    Joe

    •  Thanks for reading... (8+ / 0-)

      and sharing your story. I agree that allergies and asthma are so common -- I feel like EVERYONE around me has one or both! -- that I am not convinced I won't be spared. When I was at the allergy doctor with my son, I ran into a woman who was just diagnosed with allergies for the first time at...65. Oy.

      •  Nuts (6+ / 0-)

        I got diagnosed with a nut allergy when I was 46...ended up in the ER. Ugh.

      •  If you're inclined to investigate (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nulwee, sewaneepat, nzanne, liz dexic

        other solutions, look into acupuncture. I know people who have been greatly helped by it, as have I.

        It won't magically "cure," but it can help rebalance the body to cope better with the things assaulting it. And our deteriorating environment is definitely assaulting our immune systems.

        My acupuncturist has been working on that for the last couple of years, and this spring I've had no -- knock wood :-) -- problems with pollen so far, even though it's been a terrible season here in NC.

        Be happy to talk with you via DK internal messaging if you like.

        Yesterday's weirdness is tomorrow's reason why. -- Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

        by Mnemosyne on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:33:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I was just diagnosed 2 years ago at 63. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        liz dexic

        Something is going on. Not that I never got the sniffles before but never enough  even to use an antihistamine. Then 2 years ago, I had 3 months of non-stop coughing, laryngitis for weeks (could not talk at all for about 3 weeks, then a couple of months before I could talk normally), and finally shortness of breath that came on so bad and so fast that I was basically incapacitated (not that I had not been from the non-stop coughing). Finally diagnosed with allergies and allergic related asthma.

        I think the Asian ladybugs are also a factor in my case since my allergies are worse in the winter when we are inundated with them. However, my ENT and the allergy clinic I went to were  not interested in that scenario at all - even though Asian ladybugs have become one of the most prevalent allergens these days - right up there with cat dander and cockroaches. We started spraying the outside of the house with permethrin in late fall and that has helped a lot.

        You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

        by sewaneepat on Wed May 11, 2011 at 04:38:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It is interesting (8+ / 0-)

    how people develop allergies over time where they live. I am pretty much constantly blowing my nose and congested. Then we went to Hawaii and I realized on about the third day that I hadn't blown my nose since we stepped off the plane.

    It was the first time in years. I first came down with allergies in high school.

    But if we lived in Hawaii I'd probably develop allergies to the foliage there, too.

    •  Worth a move to find out. ;] (8+ / 0-)

      "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

      by Bluefin on Tue May 10, 2011 at 08:24:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Australia for me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      liz dexic

      I went in spring and realised I hadn't breathed like that... well, ever really.  

      And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

      by Mortifyd on Tue May 10, 2011 at 10:23:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hawaii... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      liz dexic

      It MIGHT be that in Hawaii, you're never more than a few miles from the ocean, and therefore get a LOT of air exchange, all the time.  Very little stagnation or inversions to hold pollution in.

      My DH grew up in Vancouver BC and can hardly wait to live that close to sea air again.

      "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

      by chimene on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:29:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, HI has high rates of asthma, in part due (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        liz dexic

        to VOG  from Kilauea. There's constant monitoring of air quality as affected by VOG, because it's a big fucking deal if you have respiratory problems.

        The ubiquity of molds in a tropical environment, of course, contribute to asthma and allergies as well. What irritates one person may obviously not irritate another, but HI is not a haven from asthma and allergies, by any means. If only!

    •  We were living in the midsouth... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      texasmom, liz dexic

      ... for the last seven years. I had very few problems with allergies. We moved further south, amongst the pine trees and what I call the Katrina-funk, and both mine and my daughter's allergies have been in high gear ever since. It really makes a difference depending on where you are.

      An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. - Gandhi

      by missLotus on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:29:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A few clarifications here, thanks. (12+ / 0-)

    :D As you can tell from my name, I know a little bit about allergies.

    Yes, allergies appear to have a genetic component, per Dr. Robert Wood, the American expert on food allergy. And according to the AAAI (IIRC) allergies and asthma are related in some way.

    However, it is not true that pollen allergies are deadly. Food allergies are the most likely to kill you, followed by drug allergies.

    I think there are several complex factors at play, myself, in the increased allergic reactions in society. From the fact that the medical community is finally properly diagnosing food allergies instead of dismissing them out of hand, to the fact that up to now people have been living longer, to increased exposure to different food allergens due to increased cross-contamination of foods from processing, and maybe even including pollution, allergy numbers have been on the rise.

    Thanks for the diary. I hope you keep researching and learning!

    "This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it." -- Keith Olbermann

    by allergywoman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 02:12:48 PM PDT

    •  Severe allergy to poppy seeds (10+ / 0-)

      and nickel.

      Big deal, you say.  Not so much.  Poppy seeds used to make some pain killers; I cannot take any opioids (codeine, morphine) and am allergic to things like Advil and Motrin.

      The nickel allergy?  Need a half knee replacement.  Most of them are made with chrome.  Which has nickel in it.  Have to wait for a specialist specialist who deals with a knee replacement product made from zirconium.

      Previous specialist cancelled out after allergy tests.

      Can't eat most canned foods; nickel present in a lot of them (because of the can lining).

      Do not have asthma.  While I agree that some allergies may be attributed to airborne agents, it is not always the case.

      That being said, the more education folks can get about allergies, the better.

      "Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it" Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, part time vampire

      by marigold on Tue May 10, 2011 at 02:21:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for the information! :) (4+ / 0-)
      •  :D I have a little of everything. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MKSinSA, Nulwee, Loge, liz dexic

        I'm allergic to every kind of grass that grows in the Midwest. And house dust. And numerous foods, latex, some perfumes...sigh.

        "This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it." -- Keith Olbermann

        by allergywoman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 02:25:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I had one of those prick tests - (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        allergywoman, liz dexic

        100 pricks, in total, and reacted to 87 of them.

        I've had allergies my whole life, Elisa, so I can really empathize with your boy.... I used to have to completely leave my town/region for six weeks in both spring and fall.

        Acupuncture works for some, but didn't for me for some reason. Shots are the way to go, IMHO. After 2 years of shots 1-2 x a week, I can back off to 1 shot every 3-5 weeks. It's worth it, truly.

        Good luck!

    •  also, chemicals (4+ / 0-)

      Paints, glues, plastics...  It's not allergy-inducing, but it does affect your health through breathing, notably with major exposure or prolonged, low-level exposure..

      If painting a room, look for VOC-free paints (more expensive but worth it if you care about your health), or else air out thoroughly for several days before spending a lot of time there.  Air things like new shower curtains out outside or in the garage.

      I just had an awful experience with a bed which had a memory foam top but which the company claimed was more "eco-friendly" — damn thing fumigated my room, and I couldn't sleep!  Returned...

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:02:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I come from a family of allergy sufferers. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allergywoman, liz dexic

      My mom has allergies and my grandmother also suffered from them. They all seem to take root in different ways, however. Whereas my grandmother mostly had problems with pollen, my mom has an aversion to certain types of grain and I have a severe allergy to cats (along with a host of other environmental related problems.)

      An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. - Gandhi

      by missLotus on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:34:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Has Your Son Been Checked For Sleep Apnea? (10+ / 0-)

    Just a thought.  Snoring is symptomatic.  An overnight test might surprise you how many times/hour he's startled awake due to abnormal CO2 levels.

    My husband's test revealed.....he woke up 28 times/hour.  He wears a CPAP at night now, & is much more rested.

  •  Allergies are Inflammation (13+ / 0-)

    I had terrible allergies for years until I took up an anti-inflammatory supplement regimen. I don't take allergy medicines any more and have no more than minimal allergic reactions.

    The basis of the supplement strategy is:

    Calcium 200 mg
    Magnesium (2x Calcium) 400 mg
    B5
    B Multi Vitamin
    D3  2000-5000 IU
    Beta Carotene
    Quercetin (as necessary)
    CoQ10

    Avoid inflammatory foods during allergy seasons (or altogether).

    I haven't included dosages for everything because I don't remember them at the moment, and the values I listed may be wrong as I'm doing this from memory.

    I've got nothing to sell here. This works for me. Do your own research to find what might work for you. I had to experiment. I would only add that you should use good quality vitamins ( a cheap drugstore multi-vitamin ain't going to do it) and you need to take higher doses than the RDA usually. Finding out which supplements are dangerous at high levels is easy to do. Also, I avoid the herbal allergy cure alls. I haven't had much luck with them. YMMV>

    FWIW, this works for me. I had terrible sinus congestion all Spring for 40 years and this stopped it. I live in an ag area too, everyone has allergies here.

    •  What is an inflamatory food? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      concernedamerican, Nulwee, Leap Year

      Interesting idea, but I don't know what "inflamatory foods" are.

      If you want to know the real answer: Just ask a Mom.

      by tacklelady on Tue May 10, 2011 at 04:14:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  See here (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stef, Nulwee, missLotus, SeaTurtle, liz dexic

        http://www.metabolismadvice.com/...

        Note that it's pretty difficult to eliminate all inflammatory foods from your diet. I've found if I minimize them it works well enough.

      •  my guess: food sensitivities (6+ / 0-)

        I have recently discovered I (34) am allergic to milk.  My wife (30) is allergic to wheat.

        Neither of us had a clue.  Hers was probably lifelong; mine increased in intensity at some point, but i've had various unpleasant reactions for as long as I can remember and could never put rhyme nor reason to it.

        It wasnt until I found safe foods (namely rice) and eliminated my way to a diet of nothing but that safe food + water, and slowly built my way up, that I figured out exactly what had been messing me around for years.

        It affects your whole life.  It ruins your mood, it ruins your body, it impacts on lifestyle choices, sports, activities, etc.  Everything is shaped by 'well what if i'm sick?' (because I dont know what makes me sick at seemingly random times).

        Ever since i've eliminated milk my mood has gone up and I haven't been sick at all.  Some other unpleasant side effects have gone away too.

        •  also (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stef, liz dexic

          Along the way I discovered:

          - those vicious headaches aren't just the weather
          - same goes runny nose
          - that may not be dandruff after all

          My wife was told, growing up, she had exczema (sp?) and various other things.  They never pegged what she was eating as a cause.  I say: medicine is like working with a black box in some ways.  It's really easy to look at what comes out and work backwards.  Sometimes they dont also check what goes in.

          I also discovered that we cut the most retardedly obscure things with wheat (like... meat).  It really makes me afraid for what we're feeding our populace.  We also have to be careful what we buy.  Wheat and "milk product" are everywhere.

          •  MY BIL and nephew have Celiacs, and you're (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            stef, liz dexic

            right about the additives. On a trip to Europe a few years ago my BIL thought he was safe eating sausage because in the US they don't usually add grain fillers. Surprise -- he was sick for a few days. Later, my sister and I stopped by the local grocery store and checked the ingredients on different sausages. Every one had some type of wheat or grain filler.

            He has to check everything. Did you know some soy sauces contain wheat and some don't. It's crazy what's in our foods.

      •  Search "anti-inflammatory diet" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        liz dexic

        Also read up on the Paleo diet. It's all the same principle - eliminate inflammatory foods. Chief culprits are wheat and dairy.

        •  Paleo diet, sadly, like all other (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, samanthab

          nutritional fads is just an ideological skewing of data. There is no "Paleo" diet that is available in truth to 99% of Americans.

          If you're eating a chicken or cow raised on soy/corn/wheat meal, you're not eating the "right" kind of meat. The Paleo diet masks differences like this, even far more discreet ones (eat walnuts and flax oil? are you fucking kidding me?)

          I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

          by Nulwee on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:54:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, what? (0+ / 0-)

            What do you mean, "masks differences?"

            •  that the animals we eat today (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nulwee

              are completely different than the animals the paleos ate when they were lucky.

              our animals are raised on corn and other grains.  paleo critters grazed on grass.  

              •  Yeah, and they weren't eating drum sticks (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jlms qkw

                and steaks, but rather kidney and liver and brains and everything.

                I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

                by Nulwee on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:20:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not to mention it wasn't chickens and cows (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jlms qkw

                  anyway, but rather mastodons, bison, gazelles, bears, elk, and so on.

                  I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

                  by Nulwee on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:23:58 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Nulwee

                  I'm actually making an effort in that direction. My next book purchase will the The Perfect Health Diet.

              •  Got it, and I agree with you (0+ / 0-)

                However there are many variations of Paleo nutrition, and we do the best we can to source grass-fed meat, etc. Regardless, wheat and other grains are a recent introduction to our diet, and the wheat we eat today is completely different than the wheat our great-grandmothers ate. So it's something to look at in terms of allergies.

          •  Commercial Meat (0+ / 0-)

            Avoid commercial meat as much as you can. I try to eat only organic and free range meats. The factory farm meats are toxic w/ antibiotics and pesticides and are grown on unnatural diets based on corn and soy.  Eating foods that they have not evolved around makes animals unhealthy. You don't want to eat sick animals.

            I don't eat a lot of meat.

      •  Inflammatory for starters? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stef, liz dexic

        --Any sort of rough starch (corn, potato, wheat)
        --Any sort of likely allergen-protein (casein [dairy] gluten [wheat, barley, in beer and vinegar) peanut, nut (not same as peanut) corn, soy)
        --Sugar (cane, beet, white, brown, whatever)
        --Table salt (horrible, pumps your body full of aluminum and other nasty shit you don't need in large doses)

        This right here is the basis for heart disease, auto-immune diseases, cancers and of course, diabetes, and that's a large part of why Americans are unhealthy.

        I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

        by Nulwee on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:53:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have suffered with allergies (5+ / 0-)

    my entire life....I took shots once a week as a kid for 6 yrs. Hard to say how effective it is. I had asthma as a kid...was hospitalized overnight a few times....as an adult that has only happened twice...and only after suffering many weeks with a case of the flu.

    Moved to DC the first of the year and have been suffering with my allergies pretty badly ever since. I think the furnace had something to do with it so I blocked the vents in my room. I have an air purifier running constantly and still take 2 to 4 over the counter Claritin along with spraying my nose a few times a day with Nasalcrom (also available over the counter).

    Wish I could afford real medical treatment...but I am currently unemployed so I do the best I can with over the counter meds. Thank the lord for Claritin OTC (I used Generic forms of Loratadine its chemical name), otherwise I would be unable to drive for having to take so much Benadryl.  I wouldn't be able to stay awake. I even tried Zyrtec once...didn't do a thing for me....I can only hope someday someone comes up with a cure....so I can stop taking pills every day of the year as I am forced to now...

    •  I seem to develop sort of a tolerance (7+ / 0-)

      with the new, non-drowsy antihistamines and switch back and forth between loratadine (Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec) when my symptoms are persistent.  I also take old school, generic chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) at bedtime since I'm nodding off anyway ;)

      As a long-time allergy sufferer, I have to say that the one thing that provides the most relief for me during allergy season is sinus rinses.  It's the only sure-fire, immediate relief for that slamming sinus headache I get every spring - "Hello, scotchbroom." [Jerry to Newman Voice]

      I bought a commercially made sinus rinse kit, primarily for the reverse flow squeeze bottle.  (The kit also has packets that make an isotonic saline solution.)  Alot of people use neti pots for sinus rinsing, but I prefer the squeeze bottle method.  This website has a recipe for an inexpensive, home-made version.  

      http://www.aaaai.org/...

      Saline sinus rinses can often bring relief to patients with chronic sinus or rhinitis problems without the use of medication. Often, people with chronic or acute sinus infections produce excessive mucus and sinus rinses are helpful to remove and thin out secretions. Several different commercial sinus rinse devices are effective and available without prescription; patients should choose a product based on their personal preference. Saline sinus rinses may also rinse out allergens, irritants, and germs and remove possible triggers that bother people with sinus and rhinitis problems.

    •  different meds work for different folks (5+ / 0-)

      it's as bad as migraines...  there are umpty-zillion types of migraines, dozens of meds for them, and some will work, some won't, and some that did work will stop working after a period of time, and vice versa.

      so there's no one-true-final fix for everybody, for anything.  

      my DH also finds that generic chlortrimeton is very stable in effectiveness for him, for an antihistamine.  for decongestant?  the OTC generic "pseudoephedrine PE" will usually work for him during the day, but for overnight he needs the real stuff, with an Rx these days, of course.  What a pain to have to get that re-authorized every couple of months!  All the legislators who are bamboozled about meth cooking apparently never get told that some people legitimately need a small CONTINUOUS supply of the real stuff.  And lots of people can't afford continuous visits to the Dr for Rx.  Fortunately for us, we were with one GP for 20 or so years, so he knew the history, and about the allergies, so we always got our refills, eventually.  He just retired.

      "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

      by chimene on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:43:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The PE gives some relief for me, but the real (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        texasmom, liz dexic

        pseudoephedrine is the only thing that truly works (that and benadryl, but that knocks me out). I've had allergies since I was a kid, underwent the needle-prick tests and took shots for a number of years through high school. It did work for about a decade, or until I got pregnant. Suddenly, I had the rashes and sniffling all over again.

        Do you need an RX for the real stuff? Last time I got it you just took the card to the pharmacy counter and had to sign for it. Still a pain. Of course, if you want your FSA to pay for it you need a prescription now. Sometimes I find the increasing regulations on things like that irritating (uh oh, am I becoming a tea bagger?)

        •  we're in Oregon, yeah, we need an official (0+ / 0-)

          doctors Rx.  and at that, they'll only authorize 300 tabs (100 at a time) in 6 mo!!!  good thing the PE is strong enough for me and the kid (so we don't divert any more of HIS than necessary), but in bad allergy times, 100 will barely stretch over 4 weeks (when you need 3+ a day...)  

          we're not only in Oregon (non-scientific hysterical about meth), we're in the Willamette Valley, by some accounts the 2d most allergical place in the US (#1 being the Appalachian/Great Smokeys)

          "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

          by chimene on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:20:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Ah. That must be why (10+ / 0-)

    Peabody Coal Company is offering to give free asthma inhalers to kids within 200 miles of a coal plant. Along with a whopping $10 off your child's actual asthma medication...

    Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

    by Joieau on Tue May 10, 2011 at 05:00:45 PM PDT

  •  I highly recommend the allergy shots (7+ / 0-)

    Ari won't like them, in fact he'll hate them but they have helped me tremendously.

    I used to have sinus infections every 2 or 3 months.  I haven't had one since starting the shots more than 6 years ago.

    I was able to stop some of the shots but others I'm still getting, like dust mites.  Can't seem to shake that one.

  •  By the way... (9+ / 0-)

    American Electric Power (AEP) is currently dumping tens of millions of dollars in lobbying efforts to fight clean air standards. If this is an issue that is important to you, here is a quick petition to sign: http://www.edf.org/...

    Thanks all!

  •  My sympathies to all you fellow allergy sufferers. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, Nulwee, jlms qkw, liz dexic

    I didn't develop allergies until I moved from the country to Chicago at the age of 22.  They weren't bad some years and were bad some others.  Then in 1995 I developed asthma after my first and only bout of bronchitis.  The inhalers, the Advair, the pills.... And then after being on prednisone for a year because of Graves' ophthalmopathy affecting my optic nerve, my asthma seems to have gone into remission.  Last year my allergies were gone, too.  This year (I went off prednisone at the end of January) the allergies have returned but have been very manageable.  I doubt that I will continue to be asthma-free but I will take every blessed day I get.

    Oh sure. Whenever I face a budget crisis the first thing I do is ask my employer to cut my salary.

    by figbash on Tue May 10, 2011 at 05:28:28 PM PDT

  •  I probably now have allergies (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee, jlms qkw, liz dexic

    as once the weather warms up I deal with a permanent stuffy nose, and that used to not be the case.

    All my sensitivity issues seem to be around food.

    It is what it is. It will be what I make it.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:14:14 PM PDT

  •  Another problem is (5+ / 0-)

    that our environments are getting too clean, too antiseptic, and many kids spend little time outdoors (thrown away your anti-bacterial cleaners! You don't need them!).
    We need to be exposed to nature or we become allergic to it.
    One thing you can do to help your son is to feed him locally produced honey. Local honey has pollens local to your area. It will help the body in a homeopathic way.
    This is not to say climate change and pollution aren't factors, they are. But humans spend far too much time indoors in climate control, and too little time in the great outdoors. And we don't consume nearly enough locally grown produce.
    It's just one part of the regimen. Your son may still need allergy meds, but perhaps less of them.

  •  Never had an allergic reaction in my life...until (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bwren, Nulwee, jlms qkw, liz dexic

    I went through Hepatitis C treatment six years ago. It worked, I cleared the virus, but it seems like all that interferon really jacked up my immune system. I respond to things that never bothered me before like they were Attila and the Golden Hordes. And I live in an incredible rich area for pollen...gaaaaahhh! Burny, itchy, teary red eyes and runny nose all the time, and I hate to take antihistamines. God, they make me tired. I drove down the coast into L.A. today, and the pollen-free city air was OK, even though it was dirty enough I could see it. But no pollen, happy eyes and nose. Sigh...

  •  I never had allergies until I moved to Nashville (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlms qkw, liz dexic

    but others in my family do.

    My dog has them and takes Antronex, a human supplement for allergies. I took it years ago and it worked great but then I became a Vegan. Antronex is bovine liver extract and usually chiropractors sell it.

    It works especially well for those watery eyes.

    Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

    by ZenTrainer on Tue May 10, 2011 at 10:05:55 PM PDT

  •  I've dealt with allergies and asthma all my life (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlms qkw, liz dexic

    Even after every drug concoction doctors threw at me, I still don't have complete control of the situation.  

    If I might be so bold as to make a suggestion, look up the Allergy Associates of La Crosse in Wisconsin.  Instead of allergy shots, they use a series of drops administered under the tongue.  It hasn't cured me yet, but it helped me more than shots ever did.

  •  Everybody Coughs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlms qkw, liz dexic

    ...no it's not an R.E.M. song.

    I get bronchitis chronically, I am trying to clear up from a cold from over a month ago.  Guess I'm kind of a wimp bronchially (I am imagining faux GOP Marlboro men sneering with a mountain in the background), but my wife also has inhalers (face it, we've all used them!  OK, 90% of readers have used them once in their lives I bet, 0% FOX viewers).

    I had had severe acute cases of asthma in the past; went to hospital 3 or 4 times.  Then the last cat died.  I was allergic to - am allergic to - cat dander, and I didn't know it.  My wife has gone for a screening...

    "Honey, what are you allergic to?"
    "What?"
    "Remember you went for a screening..."
    "I don't know what you're talking about"
    "What did they find when you got those pin pricks on your skin to test for allergies?"
    "Oh, OK." "...certain trees, pollen, dust mites, um, cats actually..."

    Seems like our systems are overloaded from having to deal with too much crap in the air.  It rings true, Elisa!

    Wow, it occurs to me that my sister, who has been sick for oh so long, might benefit from a screening, if she hasn't already been.  She's blaming the brown recluse bites she got, yes she got two.  Bad luck!

    Thanks for this article.

  •  When I was a kid (5+ / 0-)

    one of my chores was to mow the lawn, and I always felt abysmal afterwards.

    We all thought I was just lazy. Even I did.

    But, randomly, when testing me for other issues, we discovered I was highly allergic to Bermuda grass. Suddenly a lot of things made more sense.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Tue May 10, 2011 at 11:11:11 PM PDT

    •  I had this problem, too. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      texasmom, liz dexic

      Except I would break out in welts on the back of my neck after mowing the lawn. We finally realized it wasn't the grass but the leaves from the giant fig tree that would brush against my skin when I ducked underneath to mow. Allergic to fig leaves but not to figs. Go figure! ;)

      An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. - Gandhi

      by missLotus on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:42:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic

    The season is here. Unfortunately, air quality laws won't do much about the damn pollen.

    If you put a kid on allergy medications, watch out. They're likely to begin some variation in their sleep schedule and it's not their fault.

    Weathering Michigan's recessions since the '70s.

    by jennifree2bme on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:52:51 AM PDT

  •  growing up in the pollen heaven (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CitizenOfEarth, liz dexic

    that is western oregon, i got shots from maybe the age of 8 on. in spring, i would wake up with my eyes glued shut, and have to put wet wash cloths on them just to get them open each morning. in high school, i literally went through a box of tissue every day. back then, i was an anomaly. now, i know plenty of people who never had allergies but who seem to have developed them.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Wed May 11, 2011 at 03:09:43 AM PDT

  •  My allergies are extreme in Alabama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic

    And I'm so allergic to one thing that I can't take allergy shots for it because I risk going into shock.  We added a Pure Air system to our house and it has made all the difference for me.  I still suffer, but my house is healing for me now and my body gets to heal at night when it sleeps.

  •  Reliable sources for allergy information (4+ / 0-)

    http://www.niaid.nih.gov/...

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/...

    The New York Times questions whether WebMD biases readers towards using drugs sold by their pharmaceutical sponsors in cases in which the drug is unnecessary
    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    •  Drug Company influence (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cordgrass

      Yeah it really sucks. I'm at the point that I don't even trust doctors. I wonder how much the DrugCo is paying them to tie me to a Script.

      Is this generation so unhealthy compared to previous gens that we need double/triple the meds? Gotta wonder.

      Left and Right is the Illusion. Plutocracy and Corporate Control of the US government is the Reality.

      by CitizenOfEarth on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:02:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I had a doctor keep trying to put me on (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CitizenOfEarth, liz dexic

        allergy meds.

        Skin test says you're only allergic to histamine? Clarinex.

        Week long respiratory hell after exposure to people from outside the country at a con? Clarinex.

        Signs of a raging sinus infection? Clarinex.

        And the really cruddy thing? He already knew before all that that Clarinex is on the list of drugs that only make me feel worse than I already did, and he STILL kept trying to get me on the stuff permanently.

        Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

        by Cassandra Waites on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:49:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ah Springtime. Ah, ah, ACHOO! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic

    Yup, confirmed. My spring allergy (hayfever) has gotten worse in the past 5-10 years. I take a one hour walk every day for the exercise. When I get home, I have to splash cold water on my eyes for 5 minutes to cool the itching/burning. And have a runny nose all evening.

    I've experimented with over the counter meds but most give me the jitters and make physical exertion difficult.

    Staying indoors with the AC running is not a feasible option. I need my daily exercise. Pass the kleenex please.

    Left and Right is the Illusion. Plutocracy and Corporate Control of the US government is the Reality.

    by CitizenOfEarth on Wed May 11, 2011 at 04:41:32 AM PDT

    •  A couple obvious helpers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      liz dexic

      For snoring, sleep on your side. May take some training but it works.

      And during allergy season, drive with the car windows closed and use the AC to filter the air. All the pollen hitting your face at 40MPH is not good.

      Left and Right is the Illusion. Plutocracy and Corporate Control of the US government is the Reality.

      by CitizenOfEarth on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:19:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lifelong environmental allergy sufferer here. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stef, liz dexic

    I've also passed it along to our oldest daughter, in addition to her own, separate allergies to both nuts and eggs. After moving back to the deep south, she developed a wheeze in her chest and we had a winter of multiple ear infections before the doctor prescribed Singulair and Nasonex. Well, eight weeks after starting the daily pill of Singulair, she developed an allergy that began as random occurrences of hives on seemingly random days until culminating as three days in a row of horrible raised welts on her skin. After wracking my brain to figure out what it was, I took her off the Singulair after a google session in which I found out hives occurred when a child was allergic to the medication, and we haven't had a problem since. Imagine. Allergic to allergy medication!

    We haven't taken her to an allergist since she was 2, but I'm considering another visit this summer in order to try and get ahead of what will probably be another winter of sickness brought on my allergies. I hope you are able to find a solution for your son, too.

    An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. - Gandhi

    by missLotus on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:13:40 AM PDT

  •  Siiiiiiiigh..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic

    I can't tell you how much I empathize with your son.

    I also have skin too sensitive to test via "scratch test."  I went through a series of 29 injections in each arm, both arms one day, one arm the second day of testing.  On the second one, I was literally watching the red circles move to where they were touching.  Half-way through the test, the nurse assistant checked me, took one look at my arm, her eyes got big, and she said "Doctor!  I think you better check this lady now.  She's not going to make it the full time."

    As the allergist was rubbing antihistamine all over my arm, he said "Well, it's pretty safe to say that whatever you're not allergic to you're at least sensitive to."

    I came away with a couple of pages of pollen allergies, half a page of food allergies, and through contact, I discovered air pollution and chemical scents make me feel like I'm going to die.  The area of my liver actually HURTS when it's trying to process chemical toxins that I inhale.  I know.  Sounds weird, but it's true.

    On two occasions (summer, fall) I've gone to where I was born and raised and come down with instant allergic conjunctivitis.  No one caught pinkeye from me, but there's something in the air up there that makes the symptoms start within ten minutes of being exposed to them.  It's gotta be some kind of grain pollen, or else it's something unknown like a soil mold that also floats in the air (it's a farming community).

    Like your son, goldenrod and ragweed are on my list, all of the conifer trees and most of the deciduous trees.  Four kinds of grass, quack grass included.  Add grain smuts (including alcoholic beverages with a grain base to them), which makes whole grain breads inedible to me, not a healthy food.  I've only found one bread I can eat, and I do so in moderation.

    All chemical scents, and I start coughing around the phenol cleaners, like Pien-Sol, Lysol, and the like; ditto scented chemical perfumes in laundry and dish soap as well as those gawd-awful perfumes and after-shaves.  A recent stay at a physical rehab place after knee surgery was an exercise in pain tolerance when I discovered almost all women wear ugly-smelling perfume, and or spray their clothing with those same horrible scents.  

    Yes, there is a genetic component to these things.  Both my parents were allergic to various things, each died of two different lung diseases nineteen years apart.  Dad's was an "orphan disease" that few have ever heard of, and it's always fatal.  Only my allergy specialist had ever heard of it.  My brother is allergic to lots of stuff, not necessarily the same things I am.  He went through the shots when he was in his late teens, early 20s.  I've not gone through the shots, but exist on antihistamines - but only the ones without food dyes in them...!

    I can't tell you how frightening it is to be in a store wheeling one's mother around with her oxygen tank, only to encounter another customer with perfume floating in a cloud like skunk spray smell and listen while she has an asthma attack..., sounding like she's dying right there on the spot.  I knew enough to avoid the scented aisles for soaps, candles, potpourri, cosmetic products..., and encounter "Unscented" as a chemical perfume.  Mostly I have to look for 'fragrance or dye free' products.  I still have never found dish soap that doesn't make my hands instantly feel like sandpaper with a skin reaction and which produces a coughing jag in me (yes, I'm probably at the beginning stages of asthma; I just haven't been checked for it yet).  Even "environmentally friendly" dish soap stinks unbearably, sometimes even worse than the other ugly-smelling dish soap!  Ugh, ugh, ugh!!!

    In any case, I'm not a recluse by nature, but for strictly health reasons.

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Wed May 11, 2011 at 06:47:45 AM PDT

  •  childhood vs. adult allergies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic

    i was a baby snorer and sometime mouth-breather some 40 some years ago...had childhood allergies to everything (tomatos, rabbit fur, you name it). i got the allergy shots through high school and it really helped. i got retested as an adult, and all the things i had been treated for as a child i was no longer allergic to -- but i had developed a new one -- dust mites. parents had allergies too (dad was also allergic to penicillin and had to wear the tag). i still get sick at every season change with terrible sinus things...so while the shots as a kid made my allergies bearable then, they are not a 'cure."

    Change is inevitable. Change for the better is a full-time job. -- Adlai E. Stevenson

    by marzook on Wed May 11, 2011 at 06:58:41 AM PDT

  •  some natural remedies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic

    you might want to try quercetin and bromelain supplements (natural compounds found in red apple peels and pineapple, respectively).  Also a glass of water mixed with a spoonful of apple cider vinegar each day.

    During the year you can help him strengthen his system by having him eat local honey.

  •  Allergies suck (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic

    (blows nose, wipes burning, running eyes).

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:17:07 AM PDT

  •  Allergic to... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic

    ...several drugs. Penicillin and its derivatives. And one of the most commonly used antibiotics for people allergic to penicillin. That one resulted in anaphylaxis, an ER trip and two weeks of hives.

    Also to tree pollens, grasses, and lilacs, russian olive trees and other members of that family. Lilac blooming season is the worst. I break out in hives in proximity to the things in about two minutes. Around here, people like to cut them and bring them inside their homes and businesses. So I sometimes have to ask someone to remove the damn things. Response: "But I loooooovvvvvve lilacs! How can you HATE them?"

    Or, even better, the latest response of my sister-in-law, a repeat offender: "It is not my fault that you are a nature hater! Maybe you should just go away for awhile".

  •  The most important step (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic

    for pollen allergies is to put a good filter in your HVAC and run it continuously.  Make sure the filter is rated to remove pollen.  Keep windows closed.

    If you don't have central air, there are portable air filters, not too expensive, that will remove pollen.

    Oh, and get a HEPA air filter put in your vehicle, too.

    GOP: Bankers, billionaires and suckers.

    by gzodik on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:20:56 AM PDT

  •  If you're allergic to ragweed (0+ / 0-)

    stay away from chamomile, musk melon and cantaloupe.  They're related botanically. Information gleaned from an obscure UK book on allergies.

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