Tips for Allergy Sufferers

Any headline with the word “allergy” in it usually gets my attention because I, like so many people, get really sick of all the sneezing and itching and the other annoying symptoms that come with having allergies.

So when I spotted the following tips on the Readers’ Digest website, I wanted to pass them along curthedberg.JPGsince they might help you, too. But first I asked a local allergy expert, Dr. Curt Hedberg of Hedberg Allergy & Asthma Center in Rogers, to comment on these tips, verify them and add his opinions.

(By the way, if you need help with allergies or your child’s allergy problems, Dr. Hedberg and his staff are WONDERFUL, which is why we asked them to be one of our sponsors on the website. We hear nothing but rave reviews about him from all the moms who have been a patient or whose children have been patients at his center. Click here to read a Q&A we did on food allergies in children with Dr. Hedberg.)

Tip No. 1: To lower your risk, put down your drink

If you want to avoid allergies, cut back on alcohol. A Danish study of about 5,870 women found that the risk of nonseasonal allergies (such as sniffles due to dust mites or cats) increased 3 percent for each drink consumed weekly. The study showed that women who drank more than 14 alcoholic beverages per week were 78 percent more likely to develop these allergies than those who had less than one drink weekly. Unclear: whether drinking has the same nose-clogging effect in men.

From Dr. Hedberg: “There is certainly interesting information in this study. It has long been know that drinking alcohol can cause non-allergic nasal symptoms (likely as an irritant, rather than a reaction that occurs directly from the immune system’s response, like we see in dust mite, dander, mold and pollen reactions). Many individuals who suffer from non-allergic rhinitis have the same symptoms as those who have allergic rhinitis (hayfever). It may be difficult for your doctor to determine the difference without an allergy test evaluation.”

Tip No. 2: Spray away your cough

Allergies plus postnasal drip equals chronic cough. Here’s an easy fix: Use a nasal spray. Among patients who’d suffered a cough caused by postnasal drip for an average of 7 years, a combo of an antihistamine spray and a steroid spray brought relief for 76 percent of subjects.  … Talk to your doc if you clear your throat often, get hoarse, have a sore throat, or simply suffer from a chronic cough.

From Dr. Hedberg: “Using nose sprays is one of the hardest things to convince people to do. The mucous membranes in your head absorb these medications well. Direct application of nasal spray medications into the nose not only treat the nose, but many times the ears, throat and eyes tissue can receive considerable improvement.”