Whether it's pollen, pets or peanuts, millions of us suffer from allergies. Here's some excellent treatment advice from leading ear, nose and throat expert and author Dr. Jordan Josephson.
LISA: I’m Lisa Birnbach. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you may not welcome those first blossoms of spring, no matter how brutal the winter. But what can you do to minimize the allergy symptoms? With us to discuss that is Dr. Jordan Josephson, a leasing Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist in New York. He’s the author of sinus relief now. Allergy season: is it one season, or is every season allergy season?
JORDAN: It can be brutal, it can be all year long, and there are allergies that are all year long. And those can be dust, those can be molds, cats, dogs, things along that line. Horses, for people who like to horseback ride.
JORDAN: And they can be seasonal, grasses, trees, ragweed. And those start in the early spring, and go through to the late fall.
JORDAN: But that being said, what can you do? One, is you have to start being a detective and pinpoint what you’re allergic to.
JORDAN: Over-the-counter stuff like antihistamines might be a good way to get the ball rolling, and if, if you’re, spring rolls in and you’re sneezing and you’re itching and – grab that antihistamine --
JORDAN: And maybe take one. Saline sprays and irrigation washes the allergens from your nose, very, very important. You go outside, you’re covered in ragweed and pollen and grass, depending on the season. Don’t get into bed with your clothes or with your hair. Shower – take your clothes off, shower before you get into bed. Because otherwise, you’re taking all of the allergens and putting them into bed with you, and then you’re sleeping in it and rolling around in it all night long.
LISA: So without seeing it, you’re covered with a microscopic film of this
JORDAN: Exactly. And in certain areas of the country, people will tell you in the morning, I go out and the car is covered in pollen. So believe me, it’s there. Now if you have pets, groom the pet well.
JORDAN: Make sure you shampoo the pet. The dander actually comes from, not the hair of the animal, but the skin of the animal. Air purifiers are very good, keeping the windows shut, washing when you come home.
LISA: Why is it getting worse?
JORDAN: Global warming, temperature changes are making it worse. Mold, for instance. Mold’s usually all year round, but you usually see spikes in the fall, when the leaves are wet and the mold grows in the leaves.
JORDAN: And then when it gets really, really cold, it dies down a little bit. And you’ll also see a spike in the summer, when you’re taking your wet towels and throwing them on the floor of your car, the molds growing in the carpeting. Or you’re throwing wet towels on your bed, or you’re throwing wet towels – don’t do that.
LISA: Do you recommend using hypoallergenic bedding?
JORDAN: Absolutely. I, I think they’re great. Bedding, and also bed coverings.
LISA: Now, how severe can seasonal allergies be? My son really suffers greatly in the spring. His eyes just get red, itchy and runny.
JORDAN: We could a term, CADI, chronic, airway, digestive, inflammatory disease. In my book Sinus Relief Now, we talk about it. How sinus problems, allergies, asthma, snoring, sleep apnea, gastro-esophagus geo-reflux are connected. So, it’s not just one problem.
JORDAN: It’s your whole body. Very important to get to the right person, the right group of physicians, and it should be a team to try to resolve your allergies. First take allergy testing; find out what you’re allergic to. If it’s a good, you may want to do an elimination diet. And there’s certain things the can do with foods to figure out what foods you’re allergic to. Take food testing and then they also have environmental testing.
LISA: What about the burgeoning peanut allergy?
JORDAN: We don’t know exactly why people are more allergic to peanut butter or peanut oil -- it’s actually the oils – and that’s why you can’t bring peanut butter, your kid can’t bring peanut butter when there might be another kid allergic, because the oils are like cat dander. Cat dander flies everywhere. And it lasts for a very long time. But the peanut oil itself, is a problem, we think has to do with people and the way their immunities are building. And unfortunately, back to the cough/cold types of things that we were talking about, some people believe that the earlier kids become exposed to various things, the earlier they’ll build up a resistance to them.
JORDAN: And they’ll be able to tolerate them better.
LISA: Lactose, for example.
JORDAN: Well, the allergy to milk is to the proteins in the milk.
JORDAN: And that’s more common today than it was years ago.
LISA: Is suffering from seasonal allergies something that will happen to someone for their whole lives, or is there any way that this can change?
JORDAN: Well, first of all, if you take allergy shots -- and allergy shots have been getting better and better every decade as we go on, so I have patients that come in and say, ‘oh, well I took allergy shots twenty years ago when I was a child, and they really didn’t work.’ Well, we now have newer extracts, better resolution with these extracts. So I would say try it again, if your allergist fells that you are somebody that would do well with allergy shots.
LISA: Thank you so much. And I guess people should be, just try to enjoy the spring.
JORDAN: Well it’s nice to smell the flowers and it’s nice to be out there. If you’re having problems with your allergies, you need to take care of them.
LISA: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks Dr. Josephson. I’m Lisa Birnbach.
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