Cooler temperatures have ushered in the fall season with so many families ready to throw open the windows! If you do let some fresh air in, you are also letting outdoor allergens into your home. Combine outdoor allergens with indoor allergens, you have the perfect storm for allergy sufferers.
Fall weather is finally here and cooler temperatures usher in fall allergy season. The sneezing, stuffy nose, itchy eyes, scratchy throats and cough, which are all symptoms of allergic rhinitis, start up as the pollens blows in and stirs up ragweed, the most common fall allergen.
By this time of year, many people are glad to see Winter's grumpy face retreat into the background and Spring's warm smile appear. But of course, Spring brings its own mischief for people who suffer from allergies.
In the coldest of climates, furnaces have been running pretty much non-stop and even in the warmer states at least a night- the heat is turned on and turned up.
Most everyone's home has been closed up and sealed tight to prevent cold air from entering or warm air from escaping which creates a perfect environment for indoor allergens.
The number one allergen is dust mites. These awful little creatures thrive in warm, humid places. Other allergens are house dust, cockroaches, mold spores, pet dander (dead skin cells) and even indoor plants.
You've probably heard of dust mites and have seen the magnified pictures that resemble alien looking spiders. You can't see them but they have 8 legs, are blind and naturally live indoors. If you have them (and you probably do) it doesn't mean your house is dirty, it just means that they are nearly impossible to eradicate completely. But you can cut down on how many you have and improve your indoor allergies.
They can't drink liquids so they survive on humidity. Their legs have little pads that help them attach to fibers in carpets, upholstery, mattresses, feather pillows, and stuffed animals. The less humidity in the house- the deeper they retreat into these places. What do they eat? They depend on human secretions and skin cells we shed. They love bedrooms where they can breed on mattresses, pillows, box springs, curtains, carpets, and any other fibers in the room.
Children are particularly susceptible to indoor allergens and you may notice that your child has watery eyes and trouble breathing when they've been in the house for a long period of time.
What can you do to help eliminate dust mites? One option is to move to a place where the elevation is over
Spring and fall are both beautiful seasons, but for some people they are the time when allergies flare up and cause a lot of misery. This is also when you start seeing a lot of prescription and over the counter nose sprays and eye-drops around the house.
These products work great when used as directed, but the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) warns that they are poisonous if swallowed. It only takes less than a fifth of a teaspoon to seriously harm a child.
Parents and caregivers often leave these products out where curious toddlers can find them. Since they do not come in child-resistant packaging little ones can easily open them.
Eye drops injured more than 4500 children under the age of 5 from 1997 to 2009. Nasal sprays injured more than 1,100 children in the same age group during those years according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC.)
The eye drops in question work by causing blood vessels in the eye to constrict. The nose sprays work in a similar fashion by constricting vessels in the nose. Visine is one of the most popular eye drop brands purchased and Afrin, Dristan and Mucinex nose sprays are often used for nasal allergies.
All these products contain a class of drugs called imidazolines. The active ingredients are tetrahydrozoline, naphazoline, or oxymetazonline. When applied as directed, the drugs only affect the area where they are used - such as the eyes or nose. If any of these chemicals are swallowed, then they quickly affect other areas of the body.
"Generally, symptoms can occur in as little as one hour, peaking at eight hours, and resolving after 12-36 hours," a CPSC briefing paper notes. "Even though the symptoms resolve in a relatively short amount of time, ingestion of imidazolines can result in severe life-threatening consequences, such as decreased breathing, decreased heart rate, and loss of consciousness that require hospitalization to ensure recovery."
Nearly 7 million children in the United States suffer with asthma. While allergies and asthma are two different conditions, allergies often trigger asthma. Allergy shots can be very helpful in managing asthma and allergies, but usually require a 3 to 5 year commitment.
Polish researchers now say long-term control of allergic asthma can occur after only three years of allergy shots, instead of the currently recommended five years.
Dr. Iwona Stelmach of the Medical University of Lodz in Poland and colleagues said immunotherapy, or allergy shots, can alter the progression of allergic disease. Treatment, Stelmach said, alleviates patients of symptoms, while preventing asthma and the development of other allergies.
"The recommended duration of immunotherapy for long-term effectiveness has been three to five years," Stelmach, the study's lead author, said in a statement. "Our research shows that three years is an adequate duration for the treatment of childhood asthma associated with house dust mites. An additional two years adds no clinical benefit."
Dr. James Sublett, an allergist who is chairman of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's Indoor Environment Committee, said not only does the shorter period of shots provide long-term therapeutic benefits for both children and adults, it can reduce total healthcare costs by 33 percent to 41 percent.
"It has long been observed that the effectiveness of allergy shots continue long after treatment has been completed," Sublett said. "
The Polish study was published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Allergy-shots help build the immune system to fight specific allergens.
Some of the most common allergens are dust mites, pet dander, pollen, molds and cockroaches. Certain foods can also cause an allergic reaction as well as insect stings, medicines and chemicals.
The shots contain a purified form of the allergens t