For anyone who is allergic to cats - make your bedroom a cat free zone. Keep the door closed and take clothing and sheets right from the dryer to your bedroom. Don't leave them where the cats can sleep on them first.
I have a mildish cat allergy. Not bad enough to stop me from having one, but enough to stop me from breathing at night if I didn't keep the cat out of my bedroom (at all times, not just at night).
My big allergy is grass - and big as in the skin scratch test reaction took over the neighbouring scratches. It kept on spreading while we talked to the doctor. I also popped for four different kinds of trees and ragweed. I had allergy shots for four and a half years. Apparently five years is the optimum time - you'll get as much benefit as you're going to get in that time. Going longer doesn't improve things much. But they said the best time to stop was right before your season started, so I could stop at four and a half or go for another year. I opted to stop as I'd seen huge improvements and my allergies were controllable with OTC allergy meds. I avoid known triggers - fresh cut grass, fresh hay, packed haylofts for six months after the new hay's gone in. I can help put the hay up, if there's a breeze blowing the right way, and I'm outside. I had my one and only asthma attack putting hay into an enclosed space, and I'm not going there again. It scared me.
I tried a whole bunch of allergy meds a couple of summers ago to see if there was a better one for me, but they didn't work. I know some need 2-3 weeks to build up in your system to be really effective, and I gave each one a full trial. I use Claritin Extra, and I know it's mainly the pseudoephedrin that's giving me relief.
Mine arrived with a bang along with menopause. This fall has been the worst. Despite trying all the meds and using saline sprays, I couldn't breathe out of one or both nostrils and would wake up multiple times each night. They basically didn't go away until after Christmas when we got some good -25C o temps. I think I must have mold allergies.
Mine really affect my ears, too... get pressure and earaches.
Good to hear that the menopause related ones may attenuate somewhat later on.
First of all, be willing to experiment! There are lots of solutions out there, so don't give up if the first one you try doesn't happen to work for you.
Find an amazing allergist - it took me several years to get desperate enough to do this, and I regret them! I had cats my entire life, got progressively more allergic as an adult, to the point where I spent about 2 years just being continuously sick because my sinuses were constantly inflamed and would get infected, etc. I went to a great allergist who put me on a weeklong course of steroids to stop the cycle of inflammation, and then two daily Rx nasal sprays (a corticosteroid and an antihistamine) and Rx eye drops. I am not exaggerating when I say it was life-changing. This doctor was adamant that much of the reason meds seem not to work is that if your sinuses are horribly inflamed, an antihistamine is useless until you break the cycle of inflammation. Don't know if that's true, but it definitely was in my case. If your meds aren't working, try something else. It may not work (ultimately, my allergies got so severe that I rehomed the cats with a dear friend, and rarely get sick anymore), but there are lots of options out there to make your life better. They didn't feel that shots would be useful in my case (not sure why), but I would definitely try them if your doctor thinks they would help.
One other useful thing I learned (for me) was that they can be very cumulative - I tested severely allergic to cats, and mildly allergic to dogs and horses. When I lived with cats, dogs and horses caused a really severe reaction for me. Without cats, I am fine around horses and short hair dogs.
All that said, I have a friend who had allergies as bad as mine, and the tablespoon of honey a day route worked for her - she is completely fine now. So I would definitely experiment, but don't suffer, they have so many good choices now.
Benedryl is my friend. I have an inhaler, epi pen and a little container of charcoal. I have aircleaners in every room. I have a humidifier on at night. I shower daily sometimes more. I rinse my nose daily with sterile saline. I use only natural tears eyedrops. I eat local honey and bee pollen. Bee pollen acts like caffeine and can be downright dangerous. Be careful and check with your doc. I wash my clothes after one use. I vacuum ceilings, walls and trim. I buy a new mattress every five years. I am super careful of new foods, chemicals etc. Still it is a daily adventure. I have a GREAT allergist! THey are hard to find. I also have a new spray for the constant hives. I also keep steroids handy just in case. I still make the occasional trip to the ER.
I have allergies to most of the planet. Flora, Fauna and Food.
If I think of anything else I'll let you know.
Ain't life grand?
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
― Albert Einstein
I just bought an air purifier for the bedroom, recommended by my doctor. I also put the hepa filter on the furnace, bought new sheets and the Claritin pillows (Bed Bath and Beyond). These changes helped a lot. I keep the bedroom door closed and also am being more conscientious about dust control in general. Can't say enough good things about the air purifier, though! I've had others that were both loud and ineffective. This one is amazing and super quiet. It's this one: http://www.amazon.com/Blueair-HepaSi...ywords=blueair
I got it from Amazon. Worth every penny. I love this thing, even DH says it makes the bedroom much nicer to sleep in.
try a nasal rinse twice a day, or at least right after you've been exposed to allergens.
Use purchased sterile water or else boil water and put it in a clean jug when it's cool, for you to reheat to about body temperature (lil' nasties can lurk in water from the tap, apparently... I was freaked by a story on NPR about some poor guy who used water from the tap for a nasal rinse & ended up with a nasty protozoa problem in his brain!)
I don't use a "Neti Pot" because I don't see any reason to practically stand on my head to use it; there are a number of readily available squeezable plastic versions that are very easy to use.
Also, don't discount the possibility of hidden food allergies. I discovered that when I eat soy it causes post nasal drip.
And not even that the food allergies can be causing the immediate symptoms but can make your allergy cup runneth over, casuing your hay/grass allergies to be worse.
You can get skin tests for food intolerance. you might find that avoiding certain foods helps your environmental allergies be much more manageable. For me, it was gluten. Once I eliminated that, life got a lot better in the allergy department with regards to hay and such.
I have lived in this area most of my life, and allergies were getting worse. I tested last year and was allergic to cedar (like off the charts allergic), horse, cat, walnut, most grasses, etc. I started the sub-lingual drops and the difference was amazing. I started the end of May, felt crummy one week of June and by the time I started "maintenance" doses in September, was feeling much less effected by them. This winter (my first post-drops) I've had a couple of sinus infections, but nothing like I have in the past. I still use steroid spray and take claritin daily, but I'm fine with that.
I highly recommend giving the shots a shot (pun) at working - give them time. They dramatically helped improve my health. I so rarely get sinusitis/rhinitis now.
You may need to stay on pills for awhile until you build up enough immunity.
Be CAREFUL with nasal sprays. They do work but you must spray into your sinuses, towards the outer edge of your eye. Otherwise they can very quickly eat a hole in your cartilage and that's just gross (trust me on that one!). Wish someone had warned me...
Likewise, be careful with nasal rinses. NEVER use tap water because you can introduce a parasite into your brain and that's uber scary! OK, maybe a million to one (?), but I prefer the saline sprays or distilled water. Just because.
I find that eventually the pills become less effective. And I needed the decongestant, and that just made me hyper. I'm much happier with the shots. And I don't do nasal sprays any more.
I thought I was allergic to Utah. Lit up like a Christmas tree for every single damned thing in the skin tests, coughed all the time, no lungs, etc. Then I gave up dairy. Amazing difference, almost immediately.
So there may be some underlying trigger that is sensitizing you to everything else. It's worth investigating.
Now, I'm still sensitive to hay. Which is a pain. But at least it isn't everything any longer.
Wow, glad to know I'm not the only one MISERABLE right now with allergies... Like Purplnurpl I too am allergic to Texas... plant & tree pollens, grasses, dust, molds, cattle, you name it... had shots 1x week as a kid, now daily Zyrtec & steriod nasal spray, neti pot almost daily, antihistamine eye drops and OTC nasal sprays as needed... but right now nothing is helping... Ugh. I got retested in my 20s and the only allergy I had otugrown was cats (which is good because I have 3!)... If any one can find the ideal place for me to live, lemme know!
Thanks for all these replies, and boy is allergy season alive and well in Kentucky, now that I know what to look for.
I also just got tested for food allergies (I suspected wheat), and holy crap, I'm allergic to that plus soy, peanuts (my peanut butter!), tomatoes, strawberries, oats.. and the list goes on. Just got blood drawn today for more food testing. I guess that explains a lot of my IBS though. Life changes. Sigh.
We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting. www.dleestudio.com
Sounds crazy, but my dad had the WORST hay fever most of my life. Constant sneezing, red face, watery eyes, nose running like a faucet -- it was absolutely miserable!!!! Especially when we were haying!!!
About 15 years ago he took MSM all during haying, and has never had another symptom since. It completely, 100% cured him. And I can't stress enough how truly miserable he was before this.
It's an easy thing to try, and you can even get it in pills now if you aren't "man enough" (I'm not, lol) to mix the powder with water and drink it.
We shall see though. But, for the first time in my life, the dark under-eye circles have receded.
I also switched from Claritin to Zyrtec. It seems to be working better for me. Also see if your doctor/allergist will prescribe you a nasal spray, like FloNase or Nasonex.
Neti pots can also provide relief, but don't use it continuously. There's probably a recommended protocol -- 1 week on, 1 week off -- but I'd check. If you can't bear the idea of a neti pot, try saline sprays.
And, make sure you don't have a sinus infection...
Also, I have a coworker whose allergist has him cycle through the antihistamines -- couple of months on Claritin, couple of months on Zyrtec, couple of months on... who knows. That allergist believes your body gets acclimated to specific allergy meds and they don't work as well. I have no idea if that's true - it's not something my allergist has recommended.
Are the drops something you give to yourself or do you have to go to the doc's office?
Not sure whether the sublingual allergy drops are self-administered or not. Do know that a recent study showed that allergy drops have a 40% efficacy rate while shots can run as high as 85%. If I can find the article title/abstract, I'll post it.
How long ago were your shots? From what I understand, the strength and efficacy of the serums has improved over the past decade or more. But it is a time commitment, that's for sure.
HUGE allergy sufferer here. I've tried allergy shots twice now for years at a time both when I was a kid and more recently a few years ago. I didn't feel a ton better and its easier for me to just take pills, even though I gave myself the shots at home I would forget, better just to take two pills every night for me.
I think finding the right meds combo was what worked for me. I now take Clarinex and Singulair(ehhh sp?) but I have taken multiple others. Trial and error.
If I know I'm coming into contact with a known allergen say cats, I wash hands and change clothes afterwards. If its really bad I shower and wash my hair. You may want to try allergy covers on your mattress and pillows. Change your air filters at home to a high quality hypo-allergenic one. I have two air purifiers, one in my room and one in the living room.
Have you had a skin test? That's an easy way to find out what you should avoid.
Allergies are a chore....sorry for the novel
My cousin found out she was allergic to KY. Her hair hated it also. She moved to AZ. And 20 plus years later, she is still there.
Lifelong allergy and asthma sufferer, been on meds since I was little, but nothing prepared me for the hell of northern Virginia (had lived in CA all my life). I moved back to CA 7 years ago, and I'm better but still on meds.
My regimen is Claritin every 12 hours, with singulair at night and advair 2x a day. I add in rescue inhalers and Benadryl as needed. In VA we had air purifiers, and we generally had to turn the bedroom into a hermetically sealed bubble. Here I can leave the windows open. There was a lot of issues with my allergies and accompanying meds duringy pregnancy, but I ended up in bed for most of it (and a lot of that in a hospital setting, so my allergen exposure was pretty minimal).
I tried shots, sublingual drops, local honey, local bee pollen, MSM, and diet changes. The ONLY thing that works is the drugs, and showering the instant I come in from the barn. We haven't started the season here yet, but I've picked up my scripts already. Ready as I can be.