Friday, 26 June 2015

How Are Allergy Drops Different From Allergy Shots?

For those who have been suffering from life-long respiratory allergies where the usual antihistamine is no longer as effective, another type of treatment you can consider is using allergy drops or allergy shots. There are some differences between these two treatments and here is a quick summary:

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 

Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Natural Remedies For Allergy Relief During Pregnancy

If you have always suffered from allergic rhinitis, your condition may worsen during pregnancy. Even if you have never experienced allergies, pregnancy may cause your nose to be runny or congested at times. According to, up to 30% of pregnant women suffer from this condition known as Pregnancy Rhinitis.

Why do your allergies worsen during pregnancy?
"Higher amounts of estrogen during pregnancy can contribute to swelling in the mucous membranes lining the nose and even cause you to make more mucus. What's more, the amount of blood in your body increases during pregnancy, which may cause swelling in the tiny blood vessels in the lining of your nose and congestion in the surrounding tissue. Other hormones may also play a role." -
I have personally experienced this worsening of my allergic rhinitis condition during pregnancy. The worsening occurred almost at the start of pregnancy and only disappeared after delivery. It was especially hard to get a good night's sleep as my nose was frequently congested and I would be up sneezing and blowing my nose away.

Some antihistamines are not safe to be taken during pregnancy. Do consult with a medical professional on what you can take during pregnancy. I shared my experience here.

I wished I had done more research on my own back then to discover natural, drug-free remedies for allergy relief during pregnancy. Through my time blogging, I have discovered these natural remedies which may help to alleviate your allergic rhinitis or pregnancy rhinitis:

Nasal Strip
Breathe Right nasal strip helps in relieving nasal congestion. These drug-free nasal strips gently lift nasal passages open to improve airflow and come in various sizes

Haymax is an award wining organic balm for the nose that has been tested to trap allergens before it enters the body. Prevention is key.

Neti Pot or Sinus Rinse 
Neti Pot helps to rinse out the allergens and excess mucus from your sinus passages. Many allergy patients find this little pot greatly improved their breathing. Be sure to use sterile water or saline solution when using the Neti Pot

I personally use this Sinus Rinse as I am not confident of using the Neti Pot. I have used saline nasal spray before as well, but found the spray pressure too strong and triggered my sneezing fits instead. I find this Sinus Rinse easy to use and pretty effective.

Essential Oils 
Essential oils are aroma compounds extracted from plant parts. They have been used medicinally in history. Here are some essential oils which are good for allergies:

Lavender: calms, antiviral and has natural antihistamine properties

Eucalyptus: relieves respiratory symptoms and headaches, ease breathing and scratchy throats, antiviral

Lemon: cleansing, protect immunity, antiviral and relieve excess mucous

Peppermint: antiviral, ease breathing, fights infection, helps congestion, relieves headaches and opens airways

Bacteria living in the gut and the digestive tract are linked to our immune health. It is said that the gut houses 70% of your immune system. Thus it is important to balance the good bacteria (probiotics) with the bad to maintain a healthy gut. A daily dose of probiotics may help to manage your allergic response to pollens and other allergens.

Apple Cider Vinegar + Raw honey
Some people find this natural remedy useful in alleviating their allergies. Read more here

Spiritual approach to healing
Some believe that the root of allergies lies in our psychological-emotional state of mind. This form of self-healing is pretty fascinating and worth a read if you are interested in such alternative healing. I have written 3 parts on this topic. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Lastly, do not forget that a sensible and healthy diet is also important. This includes eating more allergy fighting food and limiting or avoiding food that tends to worsen allergies (read more here).

Monday, 9 March 2015

Body Hacks To Clear A Stuffy Nose & To Stop The Sneeze

Watch for hack #1 & hack #4 in this video.

Hack #1: Clear a stuffy nose
Press between your eyebrows. Push your palate with your tongue.

Hack #4: Stop the sneeze
Pinch your nose or tickle your palate with your tongue.

Not one that I would recommend as it is always best to sneeze it out to avoid injuring yourself .

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Celebrating Valentine's Day With A Partner Who Has Allergies

The smell of love is in the air and you start seeing advertisement for Valentine's Day gifts. Yes, Valentine's Day is just round the corner. If this is the first Valentine's Day with your special one, it is good to be aware of he/she suffers from any allergies and take extra care in selecting your gift or restaurant.

Flowers are a big culprit. Do not send her flowers that she is allergic to, that will simply ruin her Valentine's Day with the sneezing and runny nose! Instead, a thoughtful idea may be to buy her some organic non-GMO vegetable, fruit or herb seeds to grow the seed of love :)

Some people are also very sensitive to stimulating smell. If you are aware of that, it is best to avoid giving perfume or cologne.

Some people, like myself, are allergic to nickel, which is common in jewellery. Nickel is a common cause of contact dermatitis. Wearing something that contains nickel can cause rashes, itchiness or swell.

If your other half is a practical person, you might want to consider getting something from to see if there are anything suitable for him/her. In my opinion, helping your partner in managing his/her allergies can be one of the greatest gift!

If you are gifting food items, do check that the ingredients are suitable for your partner if he/she has food allergies such as nuts, eggs, milk, wheat, soy etc. For example, when buying chocolates, check if there are nuts ingredient inside.

Planning a nice romantic restaurant to impress your other half? While making your reservation, check if the restaurant serves food that your partner is not allergic to. If you are taking the effort to bake or cook a meal, you need to exercise vigilant as well. The last thing you want is having to send your partner to the hospital on Valentine's Day!

You may wish to check out this post on Tips for Eating Your Favorite Food If You Have Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS)

The Kiss 
People with severe food or medication allergies can suffer from allergic reaction if they kissed others who have allergens in their mouth. The ACAAI recommends avoiding the allergen food for 16-24 hours before kissing and to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth before doing so.

If this is your first Valentine's Day celebration with your partner, it is a good time for you to get to know his/her dietary restrictions or medical condition better. Your thoughtfulness will impress your other half :)

If you have celebrated Valentine's Day umpteen times with the same partner, congratulations! Continue to exercise vigilant with regards to your partner's allergies and sit back to enjoy the celebration.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Ask The Experts: Nose Gets Blocked Every Day

Source: Mind Your Body, The Straits Times. 22 Jan 2015

This is a good and quick write up on allergic rhinitis by a ENT specialist. I have highlighted what I thought was key in this article. Like this boy, I started experiencing allergic rhinitis symptoms during my teens and would wake up sneezing and having to have a box of tissue under my desk in school. While it is not life-threatening, it significantly reduced one's quality of life. Sadly, other than taking anti-histamines, I did not take a pro-active approach in managing this condition as I thought it is a hereditary issue (my parents both used to have allergic rhinitis) and there is nothing much I can do about it. It was only a few years back that I finally went for a proper diagnosis!

If you are suffering similar condition, please do not wait. Take action. Get a proper diagnosis to determine the allergen(s) so that you can manage the condition better. You do not have to suffer as much or be dependent on medication for the rest of your life. I did not want to live my life like a sneeze queen for the next few decades. Beyond the reduced quality of life, it was also a constant source of embarrassment, both in school and later at work for me. I wondered how I even managed to find my life partner :)

Here is a quick way to determine if you are allergic to dust mites, but its not foolproof. It is best you get yourself tested by a doctor. And if you are like me, allergic to dust mites, this is a life-saver!

This is a new year. Make it a resolution to do something about your health condition. All the best!