Winter Allergies

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Winter-allergiesWhy do I feel terrible every morning during fall and winter seasons?

Spring and summer, I feel great, but for sometime during the autumn and winter I get up almost every morning feeling like I got hit by a bus. I have extremely sore muscles, a mild headache,  sore throat and are very congested.  It almost feels like a hangover!  Could it be allergy related?

Best Answer:

There are actually a few things which can lead to autumn or winter allergies in the home.  To start with, most homes which have air conditioning will have some mold which has grown in the coil box during the summer season. This mold will dry out and can become airborne once the heating cycles start. Even though these dead mold spores may all be blown from the coil box after time, they are still present in the indoor environment causing allergy symptoms.  The only proven method to reduce mold particles from the indoor environment is to thoroughly clean all surfaces with a HEPA (High Efficient Particle Air) vacuum cleaner.

Secondly, there are many new pollens which are present in the outdoors during the autumn and winter months and unfortunately they do not loose their ability to create allergy symptoms even when freezing weather sets in. Each time we open our doors, outdoor pollen can enter the indoor environment and just like mold should be removed using a HEPA vacuum.

Thirdly, it is actually possible to become allergic to the cold weather, air conditioning or even ice cream. It is rare but it can cause the symptoms you are describing and should be diagnosed by an allergy specialist.

About the Author: Carlton Jones, an allergy sufferer and part-time writer in New York, NY

Allergic to the Cold

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Chocolate Allergies

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For children and adults of all the ages, eating chocolate is a passion.  Chocolate is present in hundreds of thousands of candy, beverage and desert products. And to top it off,  the antioxidants found in chocolate makes us feel less guilty when we give ourselves more often then we should.

However, there are many people worldwide who cannot indulge themselves in the pleasure of chocolate without consequences to their health and well-being.

The exact cause of Chocolate Allergy

Fermented cocoa beans, roasted and then ground can contain added ingredients such as gluten, soy, corn syrup, milk, fruits, different kinds of nuts and additives to obtain the desired taste and color.  More time than not, it is the added ingredients which cause an allergic reaction not the chocolate itself. Unfortunately, the number one added ingredient found in chocolate is milk which is believed to be the common cause of food related allergies in the world.

Symptoms of Chocolate Allergies

There are many symptoms of an allergy to chocolate such as headache, rash, heartburn, hives, itching in the rectum and trouble with breathing just to name a few. One of the most severe allergic reactions to chocolate is asthma and is responsible for thousands of emergency room visits every year.

An allergist may diagnosis allergies to chocolate by blood tests or skin tests. Blood tests are considered to be the most accurate form of diagnosing a chocolate allergy.

Chocolate Allergy Prevention

Here are a few tips:

  • Chocolate allergy can be prevented by avoiding the chocolate containing products.(easier said than done!)
  • Strictly follow the instructions of your allergist, especially if you have been informed that you have severe allergic tendencies.
  • Seek out more pure forms of chocolate without added ingredients and test reactions by tasting small amounts.

About the Author: Dr. Donald Dibbern, MD in Portland, OR

Allergic to Chocolate

Mold Allergy Symptoms

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stachybotrysHow to deal with a mold allergy?

So I never had any allergies before, and recently began receiving some of the symptoms such as eruptions on the eyelids and a lot of sneezing and a runny nose. I discovered one of my old bags that had been hung from a hook on the door had mold in it. I used it last about as a month ago so I’m not sure where the mold came from.   I’m pretty sure that when I ever leave my house, I feel better. It sucks. The mold could be randomly somewhere where I can not see it – please help!  I live in a studio apartment and I fear that this could seriously damage my health, how can I cope?  I’m even starting to have some chest pains that I do not really know how to fix this problem. Thank you very much.

Best Answer:

Mold needs two things to grow:

  1. The organic matter, of which every home has a much of it.
  2. High levels of humidity. Mold needs to least 60% relative humidity to grow.

If you feel you have an allergy to mold then it is probably not all mold species but a particular type. When you develop a hypersensitivity to a mold, then you will experience allergy symptoms when exposed to it. This is especially true if the mold is growing somewhere in the house such as a damp wall, the air conditioning coil box or perhaps a refrigerator drip pan.

First look around the cupboard and the whole apartment for sources of moisture. Check for damp walls, leaking pipes, mineral stains in the ceiling sheet rock from a roof leak, holes in siding and around window frames. Since you live in an apartment complex, there is also a chance that moisture is being caused by a leak in an adjacent unit, so ask around and see if your neighbors have mold problems. If no leaks are obvious then it may be growing in a place out of sight such as those listed above. Have a heating and air conditioning professional check your unit for mold in the coil box, check under sinks for a mold smell, clean your refrigerator drip pan and check all other hidden areas where moisture may be hiding. You could even purchase an inexpensive hygrometer and check the humidity levels around the house. Relative humidity (RH) readings should be below 60%. If the RH level is above 60%, then you should rent or purchase a dehumidifier to control humidity in the house. As soon as you lower and maintain moisture levels relative between 40-50%, then molds may dry out and release spores into the air. Unfortunately a dead or alive mold spore can make you ill so you will still need to remove excess dust including possible mold spores from the indoor environment.

Consider purchasing a HEPA (high efficient particle air) vacuum cleaner and air purifier and use regularly until symptoms get better. If you continue having a moldy smell indoors, then you may also consider hiring a mold contractor to remediate the problem. Be sure and check at least three of their references before proceeding.

About the Author:
The Sick House Center provides resources and information about Sick House Syndrome and other indoor pollution issues. Read about Mold Solutions for the indoor environment at the Sick House Center.

Mold Allergies

Tree Allergies

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tree-allergiesMillions of people suffer from tree allergies around the world every year.  While there are some trees allergy symptoms during the fall months, spring is normally when tree allergies are at their worst. Trees actually pollinate before other plants and weeds and may start releasing their pollen as early as January in the southern states and as late as June in the northern part of the United States. Tree pollination is critical for the reproduction process and certain tree species such as mountain cedar are known to create havoc in people with allergies and even some who have never had allergy symptoms.

Trees can produce large amounts of pollen which can travel miles away from the original source before causing an allergic reaction. Tree pollen reactions can range from mild to severe with mild symptoms consisting of hives and sinus (runny nose) problems.  Severe reactions to tree pollen may be coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing and hoarseness.

Tree Pollen Allergy?

There are believed to be at least 48,000 different kinds of trees identified worldwide. However, only about 100 of them have been proven to cause allergies.  Here are the most common trees which can cause allergic reactions:

  • Catalpa
  • Cedar
  • Elm
  • Hickory
  • Olive
  • Pecan
  • Sycamore
  • Walnut

Tree Allergy Strategies

When buying trees for your yard, consider species that are known not to aggravate allergies, such as:

  • Ash
  • Box elder
  • Cottonwood
  • Crape myrtle
  • Date palm
  • Dogwood
  • Fig
  • Fir
  • Maple (red)
  • Maple (silver)
  • Palm
  • Pear
  • Phoenix palm
  • Plum
  • Poplar
  • Redbud
  • Redwood
  • Willow

Note: Some people are known to have ‘cross-reactivity allergies’ with trees in the beech, birch, and oak family, as well as the juniper and cedar families.

About the author: James Singbush owns and operates the Growing High Tree Nursery in Atlanta, Georgia.

Achoo! High Pollen Count Boosts Allergies

Walnut Allergies

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walnutsAllergies are caused by a disturbance and irritation in the body’s immune system because of the invasion and influence of certain foreign substances or foreign perceived as harmful to the body. The body and its immune response has its own form of higher production of white blood cells or mast cells that receive exhibited or manifested through skin rashes and inflammation that are harmful to human health. Allergies can be caused by a variety of allergens or substances that cause allergy, such as pollutants, dust, pollen, food items, as well as smoke, and even some material substances such as wool or leather. Allergies are varied in type and virulence, as well as in the case very serious, it can lead to imminent death. Among the various types of allergies to foods that are commonly observed, walnut allergy seen in some patients, who are affected by allergy due to consumption of nuts.

The main form of allergy that affects people in the form of hypersensitivity generation. For example, families in which the nut allergy in the genes is passed from father to son and so on and so forth. These are observations that have been recorded and documented empirically by medical science in recent years. These are also influenced by age, gender and race patients. But it is wrong to attribute to allergies hereditary factors only, as there are quite a few environment-related factors that also result in the development an allergy. Get in contact with pollution, pollen in certain areas, changes in diet and infectious diseases, especially when young age are also considered important precursors of allergy.

Walnut allergy is a form of diet-induced food allergy that affects many people around the world. Like in other cases of allergy to the diet, this also leads to vomiting and the expulsion of the diet, the appearance of hives and stomach pain and diarrhea. In severe cases, you may need to go to purge the digestive tract in order to prevent loss of life. In some cases, symptoms are quite mild and manageable in mind that patients may avoid climate and the impact this type of food (nuts) to prevent the occurrence of allergy. In some cases nuts could also cause an allergy in your eyes water and you feel very sick. Walnut Allergy is caused primarily by proteins that are contained in nuts and could occur on the same people who consume nuts, and other cashew, almonds and pecans.

While most symptoms due to nut allergy are generally mild and manageable in nature, in some cases, could lead to severe dehydration, diarrhea, respiratory distress and even blood pressure variations which are harmful to health. You have to be aware of these serious and very worrying signs that the allergy is getting out of hand, simple self prescribed medication which would not. The patient must be taken to the doctor who will prescribe appropriate and sometimes strong drug that can prevent the patient from falling into anaphylactic shock, which can lead to death if not stopped in time. Walnut allergy is certainly not a condition one can afford to play with what has the power to exacerbate the situation and take the patient to the brink of death.

About the author: Jackson Davison is sales representative for a gourmet candy manufacturer (Old Dutch Cottage Candy) in Boston Massachusetts that sells their products throughout North America.

What NUTS can do

Oyster Allergies

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I have become allergic to oysters. What can I do about it or should I just avoid them?

Best Answer:

An oyster allergy is less well known than other seafood allergies. As other shellfish related allergies, symptoms can range from mild such as oral allergy syndrome to the severe such as anaphylactic shock. Seafood related allergies are the most common of all food allergies worldwide.

The technical term for oysters are bivalve molluscs and an allergy to oysters is also associated with allergy to other bivalves such as clams, mussels, and scallops.  If someone has been diagnosed with an allergy to one mollusc, they will usually be advised by their physician to avoid all molluscs. It is interesting to note that people with a known allergy to shrimp can usually consume molluscs without reaction. However, there are rare cases where an individual is allergic to both types of shellfish. Furthermore, persons which are known to be allergic to finfish (such as cod or salmon) do not generally have allergies to shellfish.

All shellfish allergies are primarily due to an individual’s reaction to tropomyosin, a protein present in shellfish.  Symptoms of a oyster and shellfish allergy are:

  • Urticaria (hives) and angioedema (swelling)
  • Urticaria (hives) of the hands from handling seafood
  • Asthma
  • Vomiting, looses stools and abdominal pains
  • Mild to severe Atopic Eczema
  • Anaphylaxis leading to the possibility of death

Source: Yahoo Answers

1990–Viva Las Vegas, Part 6 (Oyster Allergy)

Spring Allergy

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spring allergyRelieving Spring Allergies

After the long winter months, the spring season and the warmer weather that comes with it is always welcome; unless you have spring allergies.

As plants and trees start blooming, the pollen counts and symptoms of hay fever grow rapidly. And pollen isn’t the only thing growing as the spring showers come so does mold and the spores can create havoc for allergy sufferers.

When the pollen and mold spores are breathed in by an allergic person, the allergens are identified by the immune system as a foreign invader, triggering an immune system reaction.  Antibodies are then released by the immune system to attack the foreign invaders which release histamines.

Too many histamines released into the body at one time will cause allergy symptoms. Drugs such as antihistamines will block minimize this body chemical thus bringing temporary relief.

If you or someone you know are among the 35 million people across the globe who suffer from seasonal allergies, here are ten steps you can take to minimize spring allergies at home:

  1. Consult an allergist. Consider allergy tests and allergy shots.
  2. Remove shoes. Leave shoes at the door entrance as you enter the house.
  3. Avoid exposure. Keep the doors and windows closed to minimize pollen from entering your home; keep car windows closed.
  4. Clean yourself frequently. Wash your hair and change your clothes after coming in from the outside.
  5. Use higher efficient filters. Use pleated air filters regularly in heat pumps or air conditioners.
  6. Use the clothes dryer. Don’t hang your clothes outside to dry.
  7. Wear a mask. When outside working, consider wearing a N95 face mask approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  8. Purify the indoor air. Use High Efficient Particle Air (HEPA) vacuum cleaners and air purifiers. They are efficient at removing 99% of airborne allergens.
  9. Clean bedding and linens. Wash your bedding and pillow covers weekly.
  10. Clean your carpets, rugs and furniture. Vacuum twice a week with a HEPA vacuum.

About the author:
Stan K. Hall (The Sick House Doctor) is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution. Read more about allergies at Sick House Doctor.

Relieve Spring Allergy Symptoms