Thursday, 27 February 2014

Best Dog Breeds for People with Allergies

I am not a pet owner, but I do understand there are people who are allergic to dogs but yet still want to have one. In my post "Does Hypoallergenic Pets Exists?", I mentioned that there is actually no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic pet. Do not fall for the hype of hypoallergenic pets! That said, there are some dog breeds which are better for people with allergies than others. Here are a few of them:

Bichon Frise: It has easy to maintain curly coats that produce little dander

Labradoodle: Those with wool coat may not pick up as much outdoor allergens as other breeds

Schnauzers: Known to produce less dander

Poodle, Maltese: These dogs either come in toy breed or are tiny. A smaller dog is likely to produce less allergens.

Xloloitzcuintli: Some of them are hairless and others have short coat.

Portuguese water dog: Suited for outdoor living with its waterproof coat and webbed feet, it need not stay indoors with you all the time, which will aggravate your allergies.

While the dog breeds listed here are known to be better for those suffering from allergies, this does not mean that it will not cause any allergies. This is because the allergens - pet dander or saliva cannot be totally eliminated. Here are some tips to cope with pet allergies at home.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Foods to Avoid for Pollen Allergies - Part 2

This is a continuation of Part 1 where we discussed about the foods to avoid for ragweed pollen allergies. If you have grass pollen allergies, the following food may cross react with grass pollen and trigger the oral allergy syndrome:













Swiss Chard


This looks like a long list of food, does it mean you need to avoid all of them? Of course not! Bear in mind these food and only limit or avoid them if you notice your body having allergic reactions to the food. Your body may not react to all of these food even though you are allergic to grass pollen.


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Does Traditional Chinese Medicine Concept for Allergic Rhinitis Applies to All Types of Allergies?

Registered Acupuncturist Ka Hang Leoungk discussed about the causes of allergic rhinitis from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective here. Due to my interest, I followed up with her further on this topic.

Question: Does this TCM concept of spleen deficiency and lung dysfunction  that you have explained here for allergic rhinitis applies to all types of allergies e.g. eczema, food allergies etc?

Ka Hang LeoungkThe TCM concept about spleen deficiency and lung dysfunction applies to allergic rhinitis and/or hay fever, i.e. the “breathing” allergies. For skin disorders i.e. eczema and psoriasis, the diagnosis would generally involve some kind of lung dysfunction but also heat, either in the blood or stomach. It’s much more of an “excessive” disorder as opposed to “deficiency”. Food allergies, on its own, does not really factor in TCM diagnosis. I tend to look at the symptoms of food allergies i.e. rash, bloatedness, lethargy etc, some of which would be due to spleen deficiency.

In case you missed it, here are my earlier Q&A with her after our TCM allergic rhinitis series ended.

Is it harder to treat perennial allergic rhinitis or seasonal allergic rhinitis?

Do patients with perennial allergic rhinitis need to do acupuncture all year round?

Friday, 14 February 2014

Foods to Avoid for Pollen Allergies - Part 1

If you are suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis and noticed that eating certain food produce sometimes leaves you with a scratchy throat, itchy mouth or swollen lips, you could be suffering from pollen food syndrome, also commonly known as oral-allergy syndromeThese symptoms are usually mild and go away on their own after a few minutes. If you have ragweed pollen allergies, the following foods may trigger the oral allergy syndrome:








Honeydew Melons


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

House Dust Mites is the Main Cause of Respiratory Allergies in Singapore

This is the statistics shared by a recent study published in Singapore. The scientists involved said: "This high rate of reactions from house dust mites are strongly correlated with increased rates of allergic rhinitis and asthma in Singapore." They added that these findings address the widening problem of allergy and asthma in tropical countries. The results suggested that changes in lifestyle resulting in more time spent indoors increased one's exposure to high loads of house dust mite allergens.

To be honest, these results were alarming and shocked me! While I am aware of the rising allergic rhinitis trend in Singapore and worldwide in general, I find it unbelievable that 80% of those who took part in the survey were reactive to house dust mites. I wonder if reactive bears the same meaning as allergic in this study? Probably not. Just like there is a difference between food intolerance and food allergy. Perhaps being reactive could just mean that someone has the occasional few sneezes when exposed to dust and the reaction ends there; whereas someone like me, who is allergic to dust mites will sneeze non-stop with runny nose and itchy eyes. While I do not have more information on the survey with me, I find this statistic gels more with the former.

I am also quite surprised that almost 40% of our adult population is troubled by allergic rhinitis. This means 4 in 10 people suffer from allergic rhinitis. This is a rather high figure and other than my family members, I have only known 1 or 2 persons with this condition. I asked my spouse and he said the same. It is certainly not easy to find someone that has allergic rhinitis whom I can relate to and discuss the condition with. I think I know more people who are asthmatic (or who have outgrown it) than those who have allergic rhinitis. But well, this could just be me. Maybe there are those who know of many others with this condition. 

Friday, 7 February 2014

Is it Harder to Treat Perennial Allergic Rhinitis or Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis?

I have always wondered who has it worse? Those with seasonal allergic rhinitis, who cannot step out of the house without constantly sneezing during the season or those with perennial allergic rhinitis like me, who gets it all year round (but usually due to indoor allergens) but happy to be outdoors? Well, I figured that no one has it better really, especially when it comes to allergies!

And so after my allergic rhinitis & Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) series with Registered Acupuncturist Ka Hang Leoungk, I pondered over it and asked her which is easier to treat. In case you missed it, this was an earlier Q&A with her.

Question:  In your experience of treating allergic rhinitis patients, is it harder to treat those with perennial allergic rhinitis than seasonal ones?

Ka Hang LeoungkYes, perennial allergic rhinitis is harder only because the irritant may be around the patient. It’s like treating a typist for carpal tunnel, acupuncture would relieve the symptoms but it will inevitably come back because it’s a constant aggravator if she continues to type every day. The main problem I have experienced is the patient does not stick with the treatment plan because it can take many months so in their minds, acupuncture is not as effective. This is understandable and why I think an honest explanation of expectations is so important. However, every individual is different and some respond better whereas there are also season allergy sufferers who only come for a few weekly sessions sporadically and in that case acupuncture is not good for them either.