How are your allergies?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by A.Goldberg, May 13, 2015.

  1. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Boston
    #1
    Mine are pretty bad this "spring", (spring evidently no longer exists in New England, for the past number of years we have jumped from winter straight to summer). Three days ago the itchy and runny eyes hit me like bus.

    I went through the allergy shot regimen about 5 years ago after developing severe birch and oak allergies 3-4 years prior. They were so bad I'd ended up with allergy induced asthma and pneumonia thee years in a row. At one point a doctor literally recommended I temporally move to a place with less allergens. While my spring allergies are way better than it used to be thanks to the immunotherapy (shots), my eyes and nose continue to bother me.

    I've started my morning cocktail of eyes drops and nasal sprays. I'm hoping my breathing doesn't become affected otherwise I'll have to start an oral antihistamine (and I'm prone to severe adverse reactions with many oral/systemic medications). I haven't had much luck with inhaled steroids and I'm not a fan of using them (steroids, especially inhaled), unless absolutely necessary.

    I keep hearing people recommend acupuncture, including medical professionals. I'm a pharmacist myself and typically don't buy into such forms of medicine. When I was in high school I injured my back and have been in pain ever since. I used all sorts of treatments including surgery, an extensive list of medicine, physical therapy, chiropractors, etc, etc. After years I ultimately landed on yoga and acupuncture which literally turned my life around. There's some high level studies out there, a prominent one shows acupuncture can help reduce nasal allergies with high levels of success and the placebo acupuncture (needs randomly placed) was less successful at significantly lower level, but still abnormally successful. The study design also included antihistamines, which as you might imagine still worked best.

    Interestingly, Claritin/Loratidine, has pretty high placebo effects too (~30% off the top of my head in their own clinical study). You wouldn't think itchy eyes and runny noses would be so prone to the placebo effect.
     
  2. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #2
    What triggers your allergies?

    And how extensive are these allergies - is it just confined to nasal responses, or are there others?

    I used to have severe sinus troubles, which started in my teens. While I never fully worked out all of my allergies, I did, over time, notice some specific triggers, and tried to address them, with the result that my sinuses are probably a lot better now.

    In any case, I have attempted to address them, either by removing myself from the source of the trigger, adjusting and adapting my lifestyle, or otherwise - removing the trigger from my life.

    One was cigarette smoke, which I have always and long detested (and I would class myself as a fanatical non-smoker); these days, I am in an almost completely smoke free environment (for which we have European and domestic Government laws to thank).

    Another trigger - which surprised me - turned out to be dehydration, and too much coffee; these days, I make sure to hydrate - I drink at least two litres of water a day. Now, I still drink lots of coffee, (not quite as much as I used to) but I always have several glasses of water to hand as well.

    Personally, I detest air conditioning, but I recognise (reluctantly) that in some hot climates it is a necessity. However, my sinuses don't care for air conditioners.

    And there is another trigger which may sound hilarious to some reading this, but which took me aback at the time. The two worst sinus attacks I have had in my entire life occurred at house parties where people were smoking cannabis. Actually, I vividly recall how I spent hours - and I mean hours - poleaxed, having sought refuge in the kitchen blowing my nose on kitchen tissue (ordinary tissue being no longer sufficient for the my needs).

    Indeed, just to emphasise that point, (in case it does up) I like to remind people that I am so uncool I am actually allergic to cannabis.

    I also suspect that my glasses may have been a contributory factor, as well. As my eyesight is quite poor, especially that of my left eye, the glass lenses I wore used to be rather thick (and heavy, resting on, and placing pressure on, cheekbones and sinuses) These days, with the development of lenses that are made from other, far lighter substances, that is no longer an issue.

     
  3. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #3
    Ummm. Spring?

    Just within the last week I've become phlegmy, nasally, scratchy throat. Compared to my wife, my allergy symptoms are quite minor. However, this year seems to be a bit worse than normal.
     
  4. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

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    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #4
    Ditto here. I've been an asthma/allergy sufferer all my life. Generally, every spring and fall I have a couple of weeks like this where my head drains into my throat each night and I spend most of the morning coughing and clearing everything out just to have it return the next day. However, my general asthma symptoms have really decreased since I lost a good bit of weight a few years back. I stay very active now and do not have to be on routine medications. I don't think the allergy part will ever go away though. :(
     
  5. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #5
    Fair enough.

    Undoubtedly, climate can be an issue with allergies, and changing seasons can often trigger them, too.

    Well, I am from a damp, humid climate, which I loathe (too much rain - i.e. low pressure - and my sinuses respond rapidly) and I have found I love living in warm dry climates. For much of the last decade, I have been abroad most of the time in warm, dry climates, and my allergies have hugely improved.

    However, I will say that lots of hydration - a minimum of two to three litres of water a day has also worked wonders for me, along with eating a diet that is almost entirely (not quite) organic.
     
  6. senseless macrumors 68000

    senseless

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    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    #6
    May tree pollen for me and we have zillions of trees in Pennsylvania. I'm able to make it bearable with Zyrtec. I started Flonase nasal spray today (over the counter now) and it did help.

    I was going to ask the CVS pharmacist if allergies were particularly bad this year, but noticed the entire end cap display of Flonase was sold out!
     
  7. AutoUnion39 macrumors 601

    AutoUnion39

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #7
    It's pretty bad, but towards the middle of last summer, I stopped taking any allergy meds and was fine. Claritin and Benadryl don't work for me.

    Last week, the temperatures started jumping into the 70s and my allergies hit me like a freight train. Red/itchy eyes, runny nose, congested, constant sneezing. I could feel my chest tightening up too. Went to my local CVS and they only had Allegra and Benadryl left. I bought a 5pack of Allegra to try out. One day after, no improvement. Next day, found some generic Zyrtec by combing thru the display. That lasted me a few days.

    They finally received it this morning. Went to my local CVS and bought 3 boxes of 24pk Zyrtec-D. I got my Flonase prescription refilled. One tablet of Zyrtec-D and two pumps of Flonase works for me. In a month or so, I know I will go back to my physician to get eye-drops because they will start burning regularly. Same crap every year.

    Allergy season seems to be brutal this year. Every allergy medicine (besides Benadryl) has been sold out for the last week. Flonase and Nasacort are OTC now and those were gone too.





    ----------

    It's pretty funny. I've been prescribed Flonase for the last two years. Got it refilled this morning and paid $7 for it. I got the brand-name one. They were out of generic (that usually costs me $4).

    Flonase off the OTC shelf at CVS was $21.99. Nasacort was $24.99. Completely sold out of both! :eek:
     
  8. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    Mar 22, 2010
    #8
    You're not hydrated, you're saturated.

    ;)
     
  9. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    The Far Horizon
    #9
    Believe it or not, my sinus problems -which I had since my teens, and which used to be horrendous - have improved enormously since I decided (was advised) to consume (drink?) plenty of water.

    I never have a beer or a glass of wine without also having a glass of water to hand, even when out in a pub or restaurant.

    My rule of thumb is - roughly - one half pint of water per glass of beer or wine. It works; there is the stupefying fact that - these says - perhaps surprisingly, I hardly ever get hangovers any longer. (Now, in my twenties, I never got them either, but cruel fate came knocking as I entered my thirties).
     
  10. A.Goldberg thread starter macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    Jan 31, 2015
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    Boston
    #10
    I'm amazed your insurance still pays for an OTC. Usually as soon as an Rx becomes OTC they stop paying immediately. It may the deal the PBM and manufacture have worked out ultimately makes the copay more than wholesale cost of the drug (they could be making money off you). The worst part for customers when insurance stops paying for OTC's, what was once $0-10 is now usually $20. When originally Nexium and Prevacid went OTC many old people could not afford going from nothing to $40+/month.

    Drug companies love making their products OTC. It's milking the patent for as long possible and allows for anyone to have access to the drug. That's why some pharma companies are pushing for OTC blood pressure, cholesterol, etc meds… a terrible idea for something that needs to be clinically monitored.

    Glaxo Smith Klein makes the brand name/original/otc Flonaze and for a while made a generic. Roxanne Labs usually makes the generic now, it's not as good in my opinion and the floral smell is much more intense.

    I use ketotifen eye drops (sold as Zaditor by Alcon or Alaway by Baush and Lomb). I think B&L is a better overall manufacturer and it's substantially cheaper. Ketotifen was RX only up until somewhat recently.

    Benadryl doesn't work? Wow. Benadryl is a pretty heavy duty antihistamine, people generally don't take it anymore because of the cognitive side effects. Thought nearly all antihistamines advertise effects within 24hrs, with some people, it can take days for the drug to achieve an optimal therapeutic levels.
    Chlor-Trimeton is a first generation (strong!) antihistamine. If you can find it, it might be worth a shot.

    I ordered all my meds through a friend who owns a retail pharmacy (wholesale pricing ;) ). I didn't order eyedrops and he was out. I couldn't find them. I had to drive to a satellite campus of my work in the middle of the woods in north central mass. I found a little indie pharmacy that had what I was looking for thank god.
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #11
    I'm on medication that largely keeps things under wraps. My kids are suffering pretty bad this season. I've taken those shots myself years ago and they have helped a great deal.
     
  12. twietee macrumors 603

    twietee

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    Jan 24, 2012
    #12
    I feel for you guys!

    Had serious problems in my childhood until early teenage years but that somewhat mostly disappeared by itself - no medical treatment. Now it's mostly gone except one week per year at most.
     
  13. Mr. McMac Suspended

    Mr. McMac

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    Far away from liberals
    #13
    Besides being allergic to Shell Fish and Cats, I'm pretty much allergy free. Years ago my nose would get clogged when I mowed my lawn, but that no longer happens.
     
  14. mscriv, May 15, 2015
    Last edited: May 16, 2015

    mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

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    #14
    Great, will you come mow my lawn then...:D
     
  15. Mr. McMac Suspended

    Mr. McMac

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    #15
    Sure. Just pay for my plane ticket and pick me up at the airport. How does that sound?
     
  16. MattG macrumors 68040

    MattG

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    Location:
    Fletcher, NC
    #16
    Long-time allergy sufferer here. For me it's not the sneezing/runny nose that's the biggest issue, it's the congestion. My passages get swollen, and honestly there's not much I can do about it. Tried prescription/non-prescription, allergy shots, etc. I could get surgery but at this point I don't really want to.

    For everything else, the only thing that really does anything for me is regular old Benedryl. Whenever I start getting sneezy/leaky, I tend to pop those.
     
  17. AutoUnion39 macrumors 601

    AutoUnion39

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    #17
    Yeah, I'm not sure. I was expecting them to tell me that it wouldn't be covered, but it was. Maybe for my next refill, they will force me to go OTC or my doc will prescribe me some other nasal spray?

    Valid point. Huge topic of debate between my bosses (I work for a Pharma company in Cambridge... They make Theraflu)

    Exactly what I've been using. Don't need it yet. Probably in a few weeks.

    About 10 years ago, I found out about a soy allergy and the only thing that would calm down the hives was Benadryl. Hasn't worked since then.
     
  18. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    Midlife, Midwest
    #18
    What I've found with allergies is this:

    Once you get into a "death spiral" of symptoms, its very hard to get out.

    Once my eyes begin to itch, and my nose runs - then its already too late. I need to physically absent myself from the irritants for long enough for my immune system to reset itself. Sometimes this means taking a 20 minute shower at the club (with swimming goggles on to dissuade me from rubbing my eyes).

    The best practice, for me, has been irritant reduction. Replace fitted carpet with hardwood floors (that are religiously dust mopped every day). Twice weekly bedlinen laundering. Wear dust mask and glasses when cleaning. And learn to recognize the signs of an oncoming attack. An untoward sneeze or throat tickle is usually enough for me to swallow a Claritin and make myself a cup of hot tea.

    I've recently found that twice-daily nasal irrigation with OTC saline sprays, combined with an energetic nose blowing or two, can also help keep my sinuses off my enemies list.

    Allergies really are a puzzle. They seem to be all but unknown to medical science prior to the ~ 1850 or so. And what works for one person - fails miserably with another.
     
  19. Plutonius macrumors 603

    Plutonius

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    New Hampshire
    #19
    Claritin/Loratidine and Flonase work for me. I usually have bad sinus issues and Flonase works well to alleviate them.
     
  20. The Doctor11 macrumors 603

    The Doctor11

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    #20
    Lately allergies have been kicking my ass pretty bad :(
     
  21. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #21
    The two "Z's" -- Zyrtec and Zaditor -- work for me! Also, nasal irrigation really seems to make a difference as well. I love Spring, it's my favorite season after Summer, but, boy, do I hate my allergic responses! When things start growing, i start blowing.....AND sneezing AND itching (eyes), etc., etc. Thankfully here in the DC area things are starting to calm down a bit as far as the pollen is concerned (or at least as far as the things which particularly affect me); I'm almost at the point now where simply nasal irrigation will keep me comfortable and I won't need to reach for the meds any more -- until next Fall, when Ragweed and Goldenrod make their appearance!
     
  22. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #22
    That does not surprise me at all. (Although, as a regular Claritin user, I'm worried that now I know it...)

    With the itchy eyes you get with bad allergies, one is terribly tempted to rub them. And if you don't rub them, then you certainly obsess over them. Which of course only makes things worse. But knowing (or at least believing) that relief was on the way takes your focus off the (negative) act of rubbing.

    As I noted earlier, I've actually gone to the slightly absurd level of wearing swim goggles as a means of physically preventing me from rubbing my eyes. An act that has to rank up there with those comical cones veterinarians place around the necks of their patients to prevent the feckless beasts from reinjuring themselves.
     
  23. Synchromesh macrumors 6502a

    Synchromesh

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    SF
    #23
    When I lived in Boston I had bad pollen allergies in late April - mid May period. When I moved to SF they disappeared. Most likely due to absence of silly trees that cause it. So I tried to stay away from visiting Boston at those times. Of course my friend is having a wedding tomorrow so I'm here in Boston coughing and sneezing hard when walking down some streets. Fun fun fun!
     
  24. AutoUnion39 macrumors 601

    AutoUnion39

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    Jun 21, 2010
    #24
    Welcome back to Boston! I've been all over the city the last week. Few of my friends were graduating. Almost all the ceremonies were outside too. Brutal for my allergies, but Zyrtec/Flonase has been working well for the last few days!
     
  25. shinji macrumors 65816

    shinji

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    Mar 18, 2007
    #25
    A few days this year have been particularly bad, but I take generic Zyrtec which works much better for me than Claritin or Allegra. Little bit of drowsiness, but nothing a cup of coffee can't fix.
     

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