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Your Fall Allergy Survival Kit

Are you suffering through itchy eyes, a runny nose, redness, and other allergy symptoms? Or are you anticipating muddling through similar symptoms when fall allergy season begins? Don’t wait to seek relief until you’re halfway through a nasty allergy season. There are things you can start doing now to prepare yourself for the upcoming fall allergy season.

In the fall, ragweed is the number one trigger for allergy symptoms and usually begins to release pollen in August. Many people believe that spring is the only time you need to worry about pollen allergies, but ragweed season can last until October. If you’re one of the 23 million Americans with allergic rhinitis you may want to begin preparing now for fall allergy season.

With fall allergy season on the horizon it’s time to start preparing your fall allergy survival kit. Not sure about what items to include in your kit? No problem.

Hudson Allergy has put together a quick list to get you started. (Tip: You may want to create multiple kits and stash them in different places, such as a drawer at work, in the bathroom cabinet at home, in a purse or backpack, or in your glove compartment.)

Here’s what we suggest you keep on hand during the fall allergy season:

Allergy medications
With allergies, the body’s immune system overreacts to harmless substances such as pollen or dust and responds to them as if they are a threat. Allergy medications can be helpful in curbing this response. Make sure that both your maintenance medications as well as emergency use medications are included in your kit.

Cough drops
In addition to your allergy medications, you should include cough drops in your fall allergy survival kit, particularly if you experience a cough or sore, scratchy throat due to postnasal drip. Many cough drops begin working in as little as 10 seconds to begin soothing your symptoms. A strong menthol cough drop may also help to alleviate some of your nasal congestion caused by allergies.

Eye drops
Do you often suffer from red, itchy, or watery eyes? Eye drops can offer fast-acting (though temporary) relief if your allergy medications aren’t working fast enough for your liking. However, it’s important to remember not to use over-the-counter eye drops for longer than 2 to 3 days as overuse can actually make your symptoms worse.

Tissues
Sneezing up a storm? Make sure to include a to-go pack of tissues in your allergy survival kit!

Hydrocortisone cream
If your allergies tend to cause skin rashes, you’ll be glad you included this in your survival kit. Hydrocortisone helps to reduce redness, swelling, and itching caused by allergy symptoms, eczema, and other irritations.

Nasal spray
Nasal sprays can bring relief if your allergies have caused a stuffy, itchy, or runny nose. An over-the-counter nasal spray might be what you need, or you may need to make an appointment with an allergist for something prescription strength. Remember not to overuse decongestant nasal sprays due to the rebound effect. When the rebound effect occurs, you may need increasingly higher doses of medication to keep your symptoms under control or your symptoms can become worse if you stop using the spray. If this occurs you may need to stop using the nasal spray to reverse this effect.

In addition to your fall allergy survival kit, you may want to add at least one digital tool to your arsenal: a pollen tracker app for your phone, tablet, or computer. A pollen tracking app will let you know the expected pollen count for your city so that you can prepare ahead of time on particularly bad days. This will allow you to double up on tissues or make plans to stay inside that day.

When you’ve finished putting your allergy kit together, be sure to make an appointment with your allergist to go over your allergy management plan for the fall allergy season. Don’t wait until symptoms are making you miserable!

If you suspect you have allergies or have questions about other resources available to people with allergies, give us a call. We can be reached at 212-729-1283 or send us an email at info@hudsonallergy.com.

Our Fall Reading List for Allergy Sufferers

The Allergy Fighting Garden Fall Reading List

Now that fall is here and peak allergy season is upon us, it’s the perfect time to get away from all that pollen and cozy up indoors with a good read.

We know how tough it can be to find helpful books on allergies that aren’t packed with medical jargon or complicated tips, so we asked the experts, Dr. Julie Kuriakose and Dr. Tim Mainardi, and put together our list of top 5 books for allergy sufferers that are worth the read.

Check out our list below and let us know what’s on your reading list for fall.

1. The Allergy-Fighting Garden: Stop Asthma and Allergies with Smart Landscaping

Author Thomas Leo Orgen is a horticulturist, seasoned allergy researcher, and all around gardening expert. In this book he carefully explains how different types of plants tend to aggravate certain allergies. One of the most valuable assets in the book is his explanation of the OPALS scale, which rates all plants from 1 -10 based on their likelihood to cause an allergic reaction. This book is perfect for someone who suffers from seasonal allergies and wants a little more insight as to how your environment can effect your symptoms.

2. Cosmetics Unmasked: Your Family Guide to Safe Cosmetics and Allergy-Free Toiletries

If you suffer from cosmetic allergies or eczema, you might want to pick this book up. Written by a former chemistry researcher, this pick gives real insight into what ingredients, like synthetics and parabens, could be harmful to your skin and why. It also lists out specific ingredients to be wary of when shopping for new beauty products and how to spot them.

3. Allergic Girl: Adventures In Living Well With Food Allergies 

This book is great for anyone struggling with the daily problems that occur as a result of having food allergies. Author Sloan Miller has dealt with food allergies since she was a young child and is a great authority to dish out helpful strategies for things that food allergy sufferers might find difficult like: how to create healthy relationships with friends, family, and food, and how to create a safe environment wherever you are.

4. The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide

Gluten allergies have become more of a hot topic over the years and this book still remains one of our favorites for those newly diagnosed, or just looking to learn a little more information about this particular allergy. This book offers up author Elizabeth Hassleback’s interesting history with celiac disease while also managing to break down the medical side of this conversation into digestible tid-bits.

5. The Allergy-Free Pantry: Make Your Own Staples, Snacks, and More Without Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy or Nuts

This pick is part cook book, part instruction manual that is perfect for anyone with an allergy sufferer in their house. Author Colette Martin details delicious recipes with careful hints like what to add when for the best tasting, allergy friendly, muffins, butters, spreads, and more. The recipes focus on everyday basics that even the novice chef can take on to help expand your allergy free menu options and learn how to be healthier in your everyday choices.

If you or someone you know is suffering from allergies, stop bye our office to get tested. We can help you create a plan to manage your allergy symptoms and live a healthier, happier life.

We’re experts who care, on your schedule, around the corner. Just walk in.

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It’s Ragweed Season – Here’s What You Need to Know

The late summer season has brought an unwelcome guest for allergy sufferers: ragweed.

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Ragweed is a flowering plant whose pollen causes up to 50% of all cases of pollen-related allergic rhinitis in North America, according to a peer-reviewed article in Swiss Medical Weekly. A single ragweed plant can produce nearly one billion pollen grains in a single season. The pollen is transported by the wind and has even been found two miles into the atmosphere and 400 miles out at sea.

As such, it can be difficult for allergy sufferers to avoid ragweed pollen. There are 17 different species of the plant in the United States and, while it is most common in the rural Midwest and the East, it is found throughout the country.

Ragweed season begins in August and lasts until mid-October. This year, ragweed pollen was detected in NYC as early as August 11th! Did it affect you?

Ragweed allergies occur when the body’s immune system mounts an overzealous response to the harmless grains of ragweed pollen. Immune cells release antibodies to the proteins found in ragweed pollen, which causes histamine to flow into the blood stream. Histamine causes symptoms that are very familiar to allergy sufferers – itching, sneezing, nasal congestion, disrupted sleep, hives, and red or puffy eyes. If the ragweed allergy is severe it can lead to chronic sinusitis or asthma.

Because it is so widespread it can be difficult to avoid ragweed pollen altogether, but here are a few tips to minimize exposure:

1. Stay indoors when pollen counts are at their highest (if possible). Pollen counts are typically higher in the morning and late afternoon. Downloading pollen tracker apps for cell phones and mobile devices allows allergy patients to know when counts will be at their highest and take extra measures to avoid it.

2. Keep windows closed. Use an air conditioner to cool your house instead – but first make sure the air conditioner’s filter is new and properly installed. A HEPA filter will help remove pollen from the air in your home.

3. Change your clothes after coming in from outside and, if possible, shower immediately and wash your hair to remove pollen.

4. Don’t dry your clothes on a line outside. The clothes will collect pollen that will then be transferred into your home.

5. Regularly wash your pets to remove accumulated pollen from their fur.

6. Have someone else take care of the yard work. Outdoor activities like mowing the lawn or raking leaves can stir up pollen. Avoid this by hiring someone to perform your outdoor chores (or cash in on a favor from a friend or neighbor).

If you’re interested in being tested for seasonal allergies or have questions about resources available to people with allergies, give us a call. Or, if you are looking for an allergist, we’d love to meet you. We can be reached at 212-729-1283 or send us an email at info@hudsonallergy.com.