Avoid 6 Health Woes That Ruin a Date
Experts offer tips on preventing embarrassing problems that can derail a promising relationship.
Annoying Allergy Symptoms continued...
If you suffer from seasonal rhinitis, taking your date on a stroll through a garden on a warm spring day or a hay ride in the fall will probably not score you any points -- unless you prepare ahead of time.
Inhaled nasal steroids (such as Flonase and Nasonex) have become the "gold standard" treatment for fighting symptoms of seasonal rhinitis. Marie-Helene Sajous, MD, a fellow at Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center, recommends that seasonal rhinitis sufferers start using the inhaled steroids daily about a week before allergic-inducing culprits like leaves, molds, and grasses are out in full force, and continue their use throughout the season.
But, cautions Sajous, watch out for nasal decongestant sprays (such as Afrin). "With initial use, they resolve congestion. But they can cause dependence, and a rebound effect. If you use them for more than five to seven days, you'll need more and more relief, and congestion will worsen," she says.
Nasal washes, however, can be used liberally. The premise is simple: you just squirt a combination of water, salt, and baking soda, found in any drug store, into each nostril once or twice a day. "Nasal washes rinse out a lot of the allergens and mucus. When mucus gets stuck, it's like a dirty swamp," says Annie Lent, MD, an allergist with Denver's National Jewish Medical and Research Center. Nasal washes also make other medications more effective, explains Lent, because they don't have to fight through mucus to get to the source.
If nasal steroids don't wipe out symptoms entirely, antihistamines usually work to treat what Sajous calls "breakthrough symptoms." Unlike antihistamines you may recall from your youth, which tend to knock users into a fatiguefatigue-induced stupor, newer, second-generation ones generally won't cause you to fall asleep on your date. Some of the nonsedating antihistamines available are Claritin, Allegra, and Clarinex.
Although users of second-generation antihistamines experience fewer or milder symptoms, side effects like drowsiness can occur. Alcohol can make them worse. So if you've just popped an antihistamine, avoid sharing a bottle of wine with your date.
If you're plagued by perennial allergiesallergies, it's critical to avoid contact with the culprit to keep symptoms at bay. "Most people with perennial allergies are sensitive to dust mites and animal dander," Sajous tells WebMD. She advises these folks to use dust mite-proof mattress covers, wash sheets often in hot water, keep animals out of the bedroom (and the house, if possible), and use a dehumidifier to reduce the probability of mold.
Anxious about your upcoming date and prone to acne outbursts? Calm down, or you may find your face peppered with pimples. "Stress can trigger acne; it's probably related to rising cortisol levels," says dermatologist Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, a professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School.