By Dr. Amy Wechsler
Consider it the worst type of fashion blunder: Your favorite items could be at fault for otherwise-unexplained breakouts and rashes. See how your duds measure up.
Metal Awareness: If you’ve ever noticed an itchy, red rash on your earlobes, the nickel in your everyday earrings could be the culprit; nickel can cause flare-ups in people with metal allergies. Like other skin sensitivities, a nickel allergy can develop over the years, and you should know that this...
While some allergy sufferers experience an occasional sniffle, sneeze, or
runny nose, allergies can cause miserable and sometimes serious symptoms such
as fatigue, headache, itchy eyes, and even asthma symptoms.
When these symptoms continue for weeks without any allergy relief, they can
result in missed time from work or school, lower productivity, and even health
problems like sinus infections and sinus pain.
Is it any wonder that nasal allergies, particularly at night, can keep you
from feeling your best and being productive?
Why do you get allergies?
If you want to place any blame, go ahead and put it on your parents. It's
true. Allergies are a genetic disease, says William E. Berger, MD, MBA,
professor of medicine at the University of California, and the sneezing,
itching, and nasal congestion run in families. When one parent has allergies
about 25% of the time a child will develop allergies, also. When both parents
have allergies, there's at least a 50% chance that their children will have
You can also blame your miserable allergy symptoms on histamines, the
chemicals in the body that cause swelling of the mucosal membranes and
increased mucus production.
Histamines are released quickly in response to contact with an allergen (the
substance you're allergic to). Once the histamines get released, they do their
damage big time and result in a host of allergy symptoms (ongoing sneezing,
weepy eyes, itchy nose, and nasal stuffiness).
What's the best way to get allergy relief?
According to Berger, author of Allergies and Asthma for Dummies,the
best way to treat nasal allergies is with prevention.
First, get a skin test to find out which allergens -- such as dust, pollen,
mold, and pet dander -- are triggering your allergic reaction. Try to clear
those allergens out of your indoor environment, and away from your yard as much
If you still have symptoms, it's time to turn to allergy medicines.
Berger explains that the first line of allergy treatment is inhaled nasal
corticosteroids. Inhaled nasal steroids decrease inflammation and reduce mucus
formation, so you have fewer allergy symptoms.
"You need to start about two weeks before pollen season with the inhaled
nasal corticosteroids," Berger explains, "and possibly stay on the
inhaled allergy medicine for months, if you have ongoing nasal
Are there other allergy medicines that can prevent allergy symptoms?
Consider intranasal (inhaled) antihistamines. These medicines can give
allergy relief of the sneezing and itchy nose without the drowsy feeling you
might get by taking (older) oral
antihistamines, Murray Grossan, MD, tells WebMD.
This Los-Angeles based ENT, inventor of the Grossan Hydro Pulse Nasal
Irrigator, and author of The Sinus Cure, says you can also try to
prevent allergy symptoms with over-the-counter nasal sprays that contain mast
cell inhibitors (such as NasalCrom). "These allergy medicines need several
days to give good allergy relief and must be started a few weeks before contact