Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Stress Worsens Allergic Rhinitis Condition

Do you find that whenever you are highly stressed for a period of time, your allergic rhinitis condition worsens? It certainly does for me. That or lack of sleep will certainly turn on the tap of my nose. Very simply, when our body is not getting enough rest or is highly stressed, our immune system weakens and thus we are more sensitive to the allergens.
This is also medically proven. An experiment conducted in 2008 by Ohio State University College of Medicine found that allergy sufferers fared worse after they took an anxiety-inducing test, compared with one when they performed a task that did not make them stressed. According to Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Ohio State, IgE - blood proteins that cause allergic reactions may be stimulated by stress hormones.
So plenty of rest and relax can help allergic rhinitis condition. But in this fast paced society of ours, this is certainly not easy!

Friday, 26 July 2013

What Should an Allergic Rhinitis Sufferer Bring When Travelling?

This is what I bring along with me when I travel. I have all these with me both in the luggage and carry on bag (in case I need it any moment). I bring loads of tissues with me. Sometimes when my allergic condition flares up, I can get very bad headaches as well, so that's what the Panadol is for. For those whose allergic condition is very serious, its best to bring along your nasal spray too. I have 2 antihistamines: Xyzal & Zyrtec-D. As the latter causes insomnia for me, I don't take it before sleep.

Monday, 22 July 2013

How To Choose Your Anti Dust Mite Bedding Cover

If you suffer from dust mite allergy, getting an anti dust mite bedding cover (mattress, pillows, duvets, bolster, box spring) is a MUST. This is a point that I cannot emphasize more because it really helps a lot and you get much better sleep which in turns gives you a more energetic day. Read here about what I've said in the past about anti dust mite bedding cover.

Here's the criteria I personally used when I purchased my anti dust mite bedding covers:

Full encasement
Choose one that completely enclose the mattress (including underneath) with a zip fastener to prevent the spread of dust mites   

Pore size                                
The smaller the pore size, the better. The one I’m using is less than 3 micron pore size, good enough to keep out dust mites, pet dander and pollen.                      

Any chemical treatment?
A bedding cover which is chemically treated against dust mites is usually only treated with an insecticide and is not very effective in the long run. I personally would not like to sleep in a chemically treated bedding cover, and more so for those with sensitive skin.                           

Fabric Material
Comfortable fabric is of utmost importance for something you are going to sleep on every night. Get one that is breathable (so it doesn’t built up heat) and good at wicking moisture. The fabric of your bedding cover should also be soft and russle-free. You don't want to hear noise from every turn you make on the bed when you sleep. Choose membrane free fabric as membrane ones tends to break apart after long term washing.

I would prefer to buy from a reputable retailer that offers life-time warranty than one who doesn't. Offering life-time warranty demonstrates the retailer's confidence in the quality of their product.         
Allergy Store is one of those that fulfils these criteria. You can check out here for their range of anti dust mite bedding covers.


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Managing Dust Mites - List To-Do

I have an earlier post about Managing Dust Mites - List of Don'ts & No-No. This is the follow up post on what we should do to minimize dust mites at home.

Dust mite allergies

1)Anti Dust Mite bedding covers
This is top of my list and I talked about it here. If you can only choose to have 1 item to manage the dust mites, this is THE one you have to get. Having anti dust mite bedding covers contributed to a great leap of improvement in my allergy condition and I have never looked back.

2) Wash beddings in hot water (130-140F) once a week to kill dust mites

3) Good HEPA Vacuum Cleaner
Get a good one that does not spew the dust particles back into the air when cleaning. Good quality HEPA vacuum cleaners  ensure that dust particles do not escape through poorly sealed canisters, filters and hose connections. Miele and Nilfisk are well known brands for allergy sufferers.

4) Keep items enclosed in cupboard and containers to minimize dust and for ease of cleaning

5) Wear a good dust mask when cleaning to block out the allergen.

6) HEPA Air purifier
A good HEPA air purifier helps to filter out micro allergens and allows you to breathe in cleaner air. I've heard good reviews about Austin air cleaners and you may wish to check it out.

7) Dehumidifier
Dust mites thrive in damp environment. Having a dehumidifiers help to remove excess moisture, thus containing growth of dust mites.

Keeping the house clean and minimizing the dust mites sounds like an expensive process. If you ask me, this is what I feel:
Anti dust mite bedding covers--SUPER MUST have;
HEPA vacuum cleaner-- MUST have;
HEPA air purifier--GOOD to have;
Dehumidifier--NICE to have.

I personally only use the anti dust mite bedding covers and a good HEPA vacuum cleaner, though I have thought about getting a HEPA air purifier when the haze was raging in Singapore last month.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Has Allergic Rhinitis Ruined your Day?

Allergic rhinitis has ruined my mood and days on many occasions, far more than I can remember. On those days when the allergy symptoms are severe, I just can't wait for the day to pass and get over it. Off my head, I can recall 2 major episodes ....

I was on a short 3D2N getaway holiday trip with my spouse to Bali without the little one. My nose started acting up on the flight as I started yawning. Read here about how yawning can trigger my allergy. I noticed that whenever I'm in an enclosed vehicle, I have a tendency to yawn. Perhaps due to lack of oxygen or fresh air. Anyway back to my story. I was sneezing away and having a runny and block nose which resulted in insomnia at night after I took my anti-histamine medication, Zyrtec-D. I was not aware then of the insomnia side effect. Lack of sleep all night made me tired the next day and I didn't enjoy much to be honest. And then the next day we flew back home. What a wasted trip because of my allergy!

This happened during my university days. I, together with a few other students, was selected to take part in a hostel campaign which required some video shoots indoor and outdoor. My allergy got triggered somehow and before long, I was sneezing away with teary eyes. I was trying very hard to contain my sneeze and look my best, but trust me, it was really really tough. I was constantly holding a tissue in hand and all the sneezing was causing me a headache. I ended up trying to avoid the video camera as much as I can. What was supposed to be a day of fun with fellow hostel mates turned out to be a dreaded day. I was young then and didn't know how to manage my allergy - I didn't bring along with me my anti-histamine medication. Now, its always in my bag.

What about you? Has allergic rhinitis ruined your day and how? Do share your experience here in the comments section.

To be honest, I wished I knew more about allergic rhinitis when I was younger and be more informed of the choices I have with regards to managing it. Well, better late then never. I hope you can use these allergy tips to help yourself get some relief as well. Breathe better, live better.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Yoga for Allergy Relief

I've been doing yoga for a few years and I really love it. Yoga looks like its easy to do as the movement are slow but you'll be surprised at how much it works your body out -from the sweat to the body aches the next day (if you have not been practising it for sometime!)
Yoga can help with your breathing and congestion. recommends the warrior pose and half moon pose for combating the allergies and hay fever. These are basic yoga poses which basically help to open up your chest for easier breathing. Here's 2 videos on how to do these yoga poses:

Warrior Pose. "Allows chest and lungs to open and gravity to drain all that mucus that's causing your stuffiness."

Half Moon Pose. "Eases breathing by opening the lungs and ribcage."


Thursday, 4 July 2013

Diet for Allergic Rhinitis

If you are suffering form allergic rhinitis or hay fever, other than avoiding the allergens (dust mite, pollen, moulds, pet dander etc), I would recommend adjusting your diet as well to reduce severity or frequency of attack.

I try to adhere to this diet as much as possible, as they are well documented to help in allergic rhinitis. These food generally concur with what my traditional chinese medicine (TCM) doctors recommend as well. From a TCM perspective, dairy food, egg white, cold drinks, prawns and crabs are said to generate phlegm and people with sensitive airways are advised to avoid them. I never have a sweet tooth and I only eat cakes for celebratory reason and occasionally indulge in ice-cream. For health reason and keeping weight in check, I've always looked to avoid food with trans fat and processed food. Additives is something that I need to keep a close lookout for as its not something I previously pay a lot of attention to.

I am not sure if it is coincidence, but I noticed that the list of food to avoid are pretty similar to those with food allergies as well. It is possible that you have underlying food allergies or food intolerance that trigger your allergic rhinitis symptoms or you suffer from both.

It is a good thing that I personally love my greens and fruits and food that are high in Omega-3 fats. I have also talked about the goodness of Quercetin for allergic rhinitis. We live in a society that is still generally bombarded with lots of unhealthy food high in trans fat and processed food. Admittedly, its difficult to eliminate them totally from our diet when our choices are limited, but I'm glad that we're seeing a trend of more organic food coming into the market at more affordable prices.

Eat your greens and up your intake of food high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Minimise those items in the Avoid list. Try it for sometime and I think you will see some positive effect on your allergy problem.

If you are interested to find out more about diet and allergic rhinitis, here's some resource: