Allergy Maps


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Allergies caused by pollens can vary widely according to which area of the United States you may live.  For example, if you live in the central plains states instead of mountainous regions, then certain pollens may have traveled to your area from an adjoining state or even further away.  However, when it come to the most common of all pollen related allergies “ragweed”, they are usually worse in areas with the highest ragweed concentrations.

As you can see by the following ragweed season map, ragweed allergies are somewhat seasonal according to your region of the country.

ragweed-season

The next map shows why ragweed sufferers generally reside in the central part of the United States.

However, those with a severe hypersensitivity to ragweed can experience allergy symptoms no matter where the may live.

ragweed-density

There are many “live” online allergy maps which can give you up-to-date allergy data across the United States. Many of these live maps are broken down according to the specific allergen as seen in the image below of the live map offered on the Weather.com web site.

pollen-map

Source: AllergyReliefExpert.com staff


Virtual Pollen Guide: Regional Allergens in the U.S.

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Cold Allergies


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cold-allergiesAccording to the National Institute of Health (NIH), children be get over six colds per year  in various degrees. Young children under the age of six which have developing immune systems are more likely to develop a cold.

Preventing Colds

Eating a good healthy diet and using pure water is the first defense against colds and allergies. Having a good nights sleep and getting enough daily exercise is also equally important.  A recommended diet includes whole foods, fresh fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.

Cold Self Treatments

If a child has a cold, it is important for the to eat lightly until it has subsided. This will allow their body to focus on healing instead of heavy digesting. Wisely chosen foods such as chicken soup and other nutritious meals are the best medicine. Here are some additional food recommendations:

  • Steamed vegetables
  • Herbal teas
  • Ginger, onions and garlic
  • Lemon and honey in warm water
  • Mint flavored teas

Certain foods may actually make a cold worse and prolong wellness. For example, sugar depresses the immune system and may keep white blood cells from fighting infection. Remember, orange juice and other juices are high in sugar and should be avoided. Switching to teas and water is a better alternative.

Milk encourages the buildup of mucous, so it’s best to avoid dairy during the healing process. If they must have milk, consider soy or rice milk.

Cold Remedies

Medical doctor James Balch, co-author of Prescription for Natural Healing recommends the following herbs to counter a cold:

  • Echinacea
  • Lomatium
  • Elderberry

Hydrotherapy

Hot baths, showers and breathing in steam imbued with lavender oil can soothe coughs and help children fall asleep. Adding eucalyptus or peppermint can relieve congestion. Finally, remember the age-old tradition moms have used for centuries; for sore throats, gargle with salt water.

About the author: Dr. Lauri Grossman writes for various holistic publications.

Common Cold Or Allergies?

Sinus Allergy


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sinus-allergiesThe best natural remedies for sinus infections are alternative treatments you can do at home. People are more commonly seeking these remedies due to the side affects normally associated with traditional medical treatments.  Sinus infections are systemic which means it affects the whole body, as you probably know if you have ever suffered from sinus problems.

Sinus infections affect over 36 million United States residents every year.  Sinus infections is also called sinusitis and is usually caused by allergies, a cold, a deviated nasal septum, nasal polyps, bacterial infection or an abnormal growth that is blocking the nostrils. Immune System Disorders is another less frequent cause of sinus infections.

Here are some great natural remedies for sinus allergies and their related infections:

Neti Pot – A popular natural remedy for sinus infections is a neti pot. Fill the neti pot with warm saline solution, then place the tip of the pot into one nostril, tip your head slightly and let the solution flow through the nasal cavities and the other nostril. In doing so, you wash the allergens, irritants and other mucous membranes and moisturize the sinuses. Neti pots come from India, which have been used to unclog infected sinuses for centuries. Known in Yoga circles as “Jala Neti”, the term is refers to an ancient cleansing technique that literally means the “water purification”.  However, some people have reported ear problems when using a neti pot because they must turn their head to the side when using allowing water to flow into their ear tube.

Neil-Med Sinus Rinse – This plastic bottle is filled a with warm saline solution similar to a neti-pot and is actually easier to use. This device is very good for both prevention and cures. Effective results have been reported by most users and even the editor-in-chief of this web site uses this method regularly with great results.

Humidifier with Essential Oils -You can also add eucalyptus in your humidifier every night during the worst spells. However this method only seems to work for mild cases.

Apple Cider Vinegar – One of the most popular natural remedies for sinus is apple cider vinegar which can be effective in helping dissipate the mucosal infection. Take two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, mixed with a teaspoon of honey in 8 ounces of warm water and drink 4-6 times per day. Once again, this method is reported to help in only the mildest cases.

Goldenseal Extract – One of the simplest natural resources for sinus infections since they are often the result of a weakened immune system, is using the herb goldenseal.  Goldenseal can boost immunity. and helps reduce mucus congestion. Goldenseal is known for its antibiotic properties that may help the body to get rid of the infection. The root of the goldenseal plant is a powerful astringent that helps reduce the flow of mucous into nasal cavities. However, this method may take up to 3-5 days before results.

Garlic – One of the most effective natural remedies for sinus infection is using garlic. Garlic is both a antibacterial agent and an antimicrobial agent. It’s great for people with sinus problems and also increases your immunity system. However, it can be hard to get into your diet in sufficient amounts needed. With that said, garlic is always a good additive to any diet and can help prevent all types of infections.

Doctors refer to “acute sinusitis” as lasting 2-8 weeks while sub-acute infections may last from 1-3 months long. Sinus infections which last longer than 3 months are considered chronic. Reducing indoor allergens which can cause sinus problems while at the same time using prevention techniques is paramount to the cure and the prevention of sinus allergies and their related infections.

About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. 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.

To learn more about how to make your home a allergy-free haven, please sign up for our sponsor’s Free 10-Part Email Mini-Course on this page or click here to read more.

NeilMed Sinus Rinse review

Winter Allergy


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winter-allergy2A winter allergy is not as common as allergies during the spring and fall months, however as the winter season starts to set in, ,old and other allergens can still reek havoc among allergy suffers. A winter allergy is more likely in the indoor environment according to certain factors which may be occurring in the home.

Indoor Air Pollutants!

Indoor air pollution which can actually become worse during the summer months can be tied to the occurrence of winter allergies. Mold and certain bacteria species can actually multiple during the summer months in the AC coil box of central air systems only to be aerosolized (becoming airborne) during the beginning of the winter season when the particles become dry.

Air Conditioning Mold

The reason for this is that during the summer months as households use air conditioning (AC), mold can grow and colonize in the AC coil box. If the mold remains wet and doesn’t grow too large, it normally will not cause allergic reaction to household members during the summer. However, as the heat is used as the weather turns cold, this mold will tend to dry over weeks and the dead spores can actually break loose and circulate throughout the home. The human body does not know the difference between a dead or live mold spore and can have an allergic reaction to either.

Winter Allergy Strategies

Here are a few tips you can use to minimize allergy reactions during the winter months:

  • Have your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) unit properly cleaned at the end of the cooling season to remove organic matter and mold spores from the surfaces.
  • Use a HEPA (High Efficient Particle Air) vacuum cleaner and air purifier units which are 99.99% effective at removing mold spores and other dust particles from the indoor environment.
  • Keep your sinuses rinsed with a sinus rinse product which will minimize sinus allergies, especially during the winter months.

About the author:
Stan K. Hall (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.

Saline Sinus Rinse/Flush

Sinus Pain


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sinus-painYour sinuses are lined with a membrane that manufactures a sticky substance known as mucus. When the membrane swells – most likely because of an infection or an allergy, mucus production kicks into overdrive. The combination of inflamed membrane and excess mucous blocks those tiny passages between your sinuses and nose. That’s when you feel the pressure build behind your forehead and eyes.

Breathe a Sign of Relief

For most people decongestants are the treatment of choice for sinus pain. “If a blocked nose is your only symptom, an over-the-counter oral decongestant can help,” says Salah D. Salmon, MD, director of the Sinus Center at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston.  Dr. Salmon also stated “Be sure to choose a product with an antihistamine if your sinus pain is associated with allergy.”

What about localized decongestants such as sprays and drops? “They can be extremely effective, too.” Dr. Salmon says. “But you shouldn’t use them for more than three days in a row. They can be habit forming if you use them for too long. And once their medicinal effects wear off, they can produce rebound congestion.”

But decongestants are not your only option for dealing with sinus pain. The following strategies can help ease the pressure and keep you breathing easy.

Just add water. “Dryness often sets the stage for a sinus infection,” Dr. Salmon says. You can keep your sinuses moist by drinking plenty of water every day. A saltwater solution, administered as either a nasal spray or nose drops, can also help, he notes. You can make your own solution by mixing 2 tablespoons of salt into a glass filled with 8 ounces of warm water. Use this preparation three to four times a day.

Hold your head high. Elevating your head while you sleep promotes sinus drainage, experts say. Prop up your bedposts ath the head of your bed on books or bricks and see if it helps.

Clear the air. Anything that irritates the nasal passages is an ally of sinus pain. “Pay close attention to air quality,” says Dr. Guillermo Mendoza, MD, chief of allergy for Kaiser-Permanente. “Avoid smoggy environments, cigarette smoke and any other pollutants that you’re sensitive to.” You may also need to stay away from seemingly harmless items such as scented laundry detergents and scented tissues.

“C” your way clear. Dr. Mendoza recommends a daily dose of vitamin C as a preventative against sinus pain. “If you are prone to sinus infection or you have a chronic sinus problem, take 1,000 milligrams of times-release vitamin C a day,” he advises.

Don’t catch a cold. If you have a chronic sinus problem, a cold will only intensify your sinus symptoms, Dr. Mendoza says. So do what you can to steer clear of cold-causing viruses: Eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise, practice good hygiene (as in lots of hand washing), and stay away from people who have colds.

Excerpted from: Pain Remedies by Philip Goldberg.  Rodale Press

Balloon Sinuplasty Provides Quick and Easy Relief to Chronic Sinusitis Sufferers

Ragweed Allergies


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ragweed allergiesThe spring and fall is a time that most people consider to be wonderful times of year. Spring brings a fresh start after the winter months. Trees regain their leaves, flowers and blooming flowers and autumn leaves change color of a sample making fun of color in preparation for winter to come. However, for ragweed allergy sufferers, it is a time of terror and fear. Spring and autumn are the two important times of year for seasonal allergies.

Seasonal allergies are classified by certain substances in the air, which only appear at particular times of year, most often during spring and autumn, although summer allergies are also common.

More commonly known as hay fever, allergies do not always coincide with the summer when hay is harvested and rarely, fever, so the term “hay fever” may be a little misleading. Ragweed is one of the most common of all hay fever causing allergens.

Hay fever usually causes itching of the roof of the mouth, nose, back of the throat or eyes. This itching can come very rapidly. Symptoms include runny nose, as well as a filler in nose and sneezing. It often causes watery eyes, sometimes very very watery and possible redness of the eyes and eyelids. The nasal lining in the nose may inflamed and swollen. It can also cause headaches, irritability and wheeze. Many who experience these types of allergies may also have asthma.

Treatment usually depends on the type of allergy and severity, but usually this kind of allergies can be controlled through the use of antihistamines in the counter decongestants section of your local drug store. Bathing the eyes with eye wash regularly can also help alleviate any irritation of the eyes.

In the spring, hay fever is known to be triggered in the southern, eastern and the midwest parts of the US.  Trees like cedar, birch, oak, alder, maple and elm can release much pollen into the air.  In summer, grasses, such as red top, timothy, bluegrass and orchardgrass, are the main culprits, and in late summer, ragweed usually becomes the worse allergy trigger of all.

In the fall, and russian thistle sagebrush are known to cause major problems for hay fever sufferers in the western part of the U.S.  Between December and March, cedar (also known as juniper) is an important pollen producer. Grass in the south-western U.S. has a long period of pollination, which makes for a longer allergy season for the southwest region.

If you think you may be suffering from any form of hay fever, you can try any of the countless over the counter (OTC) allergy drugs on the market. In most cases, these drugs will do the trick. However it is always wise to consult with an allergy doctor for diagnosis and treatment.  Allergy shot regimens can drastically improve hay fever and other allergies.

Michael Russell is an independent writer who publishes articles on allergy related subjects.

Fight ragweed allergies, naturally

Summer Allergies


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summer-allergiesI thought allergies were only in the spring or fall, but I have them worse in the summer?

What medication should I take?

Best Answer:

Unfortunate for some people, allergies are not just for the spring and fall seasons.  Pollen from the spring plants and trees are still plentiful and can play havoc for some. The main thing to keep in mind is that you need to keep your summer allergy symptoms from developing into a sinus infection.

The first thing I would do is to rinse my nose two or three times a day with a sinus rinse or neti-pot product. Secondly, there are a few over-the-counter medications you can take. If you can take a Claritin and it all goes away, are most surely…allergies.  If not, then you has a cold or worse yet, a sinus infection. You can also try taking a decongestant like Sudafed to help with nasal drainage and to prevent your symptoms from progressing into something worse. If you have problems with mucus in the throat or lungs, try Mucinex to help loosen it up  so you can cough it out. Benadryl can help too. If all else fails, try a mild antihistamine since they often have a drying effect and will stop a runny nose. Of course, there are many other medications you can try as well.

Remember that none of these medications will work unless you stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Limit your juices since they contain lots of sugar. Take lots of vitamin C and get at least 8 hours or more of good sleep until symptoms subside.

If this still doesn’t do it, then go to the doctor and get a stronger medication.

I hope you get better soon.

Source: Yahoo Answers

Summer Allergies Relief

Spring Allergies


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spring allergiesHow to deal with spring allergies?

Now that spring is really here, I have a lot of allergic reactions to pollen in the air. My eyes get red and itchy and my nose is stuffy and sneeze a lot. If you spend much time outside, my face and eyes get red and swollen. What can I do about it?

I already have the eye drops, but they take a long time to work, and in the evenings, my eyes still get really ITCHY. (I use contact lenses by the way.)

Best Answer:

Spring allergies are primarily caused by the pollination of trees such as oaks, elms, poplars, sycamores and maples. As the season progresses, pollinating grasses can also trigger allergy responses.

Here are a few of the best over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medication which are the most effective at reducing spring allergy symptoms:

  • Antihistamines, such as Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra work well by blocking the release of histamine, a chemical produced by your immune systems over-reaction to airborne allergens.
  • Nasal steroids, like Beconase, Flonase, Nasacort, Nasonex, Rhinocort, and Veramyst will reduce inflammation and treat that runny nose brought on by seasonal or year-round allergies.
  • Leukotriene modifiers, such as Singular work by blocking the effects of leukotrienes, which is another chemical produced nu the immune system in response to an allergen.

Before using any other the medications above, it is wise to talk to your doctor or better yet, consult with an allergy professional as to what allergy medications are best for your symptoms.

Source: Yahoo Answers

Early in spring, trees such as oaks, elms, poplars, sycamores, and maples are the biggest sources of pollen. As the season progresses, pollinating grasses often trigger symptoms. By late summer or early fall, weeds, especially ragweed, are producing large quantities of pollen.

Combating Spring Allergies – Alvarado Hospital

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

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