Monday, 31 March 2014

Allergy Poem

Carol, who blogs at Light Words, suffers from allergies and wrote this allergy poem. She has kindly permitted my posting of her poem here. Check out her full blog post here. Enjoy!

Allergies A Seasonal Sport



 allergy season came often and 

 always too soon. 

 It began with 

 sniffles and snorts 

 trumpets and sneezes


 keeping kleenex up her sleev-es 

 became a serious sport. 

 We could hear my mother’s trumpet,  

volley and report 

 clear cross the street 

 and around the corner at the volley ball court. 

 That’s a sound I can’t forget

 for now I have joined team  

extreem sneezers!

by Carol Carlisle

Monday, 24 March 2014

Why Do People with Allergic Rhinitis Have Dark Eye Circles?

Do you suffer from allergic rhinitis and wondered why you have dark eye circles? I do! Here's what I found out about those "allergic shiners":

Lack of sleep
Especially for those who are allergic to dust mites, you will tend to have poor quality sleep as the dust mites irritates your breathing passage and results in sneezing, nasal congestion, post-nasal drip etc throughout the night.

Nasal Congestion
According to Allergy New Zealand, dark eye circles are due to pressure from blocked nasal passages on the small blood vessels. This is similar to the bruising effect - when you get hit, there is pressure on the small blood vessels. The dark area is so visible due to the fact that the skin around the eye is the one of the most delicate and thinnest, with capillaries much closer to the surface.

Eye Rubbing
Having itchy eyes is one of the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. I know how it feels. Am guilty of rubbing my eyes pretty hard when the itch is here, though I try to minimize that as I get older, for fear of developing fine lines, i.e. wrinkles around the eye. Constant rubbing of the eye will aggravate the dark eye circles due to what is said above about the delicate skin around the eye area and possibly breaking those capillaries, leading to discoloration.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Foods to Avoid for Pollen Allergies - Part 3

This is a continuation of Part 1  and Part 2 where we discussed about the foods to avoid for ragweed pollen allergies and grass pollen allergies. If you have birch pollen allergies, the following food may cross react with birch pollen and trigger the oral allergy syndrome (OAS):









Raw Potatoes

Your body may not react to all of these food even though you are allergic to birch pollen. Only limit or avoid them if you notice your body having allergic reactions to the food. The good news is that cooking and processing sometimes help to change the protein in these food that cause the allergy so that your immune system no longer reacts to them. Therefore, you may find that consuming applesauce or cooked potatoes will not trigger OSA, but eating them raw might. 


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Treating Sinusitis - Don't Rush To Antibiotics

I came across this article on treating sinusitis which reminded me of the dreaded experience I had (or rather we had) of sinusitis.

What happened
About 2-3 years back, my spouse and I came down with the flu one after another. After several days when we did not get better, we visited the GP and was given some flu medicine. After a week had passed, we still did not get better. We were both having loads of thick greenish mucus and phlegm. We went back to the GP who is not one that prescribes antibiotics freely. But on this second visit, antibiotics was prescribed as its unusual for typical flu (virus) to not get better after almost 2 weeks.

So off we went, hoping that the antibiotics would quickly relieve us of the nasal congestion and phlegm. Morning was the worst time of the day, I was feeling congested and I could hear the wheezing in my air pipes as I breathe - the wheezing sound coming from the thick phlegm. Every now and then, I would be trying to cough up the phlegm and had to run to the toilet to spit it out. To be honest, it was quite embarrassing to be coughing with tons of phlegm and having to cover your mouth and excuse yourself for not being able to speak and dashing to the toilet to get the chunk out. I also lost my sense of smell.

Another few days passed and I was not hopeful about the antibiotics. From my experience, if antibiotics were to work, it would have taken effect quite quickly, probably in about 2 days. Nonetheless, we had to complete the course of medicine.

We went back to the GP for a 3rd visit. It was wearing us out. This time, his diagnosis was Sinusitis. We were given yet another dose of antibiotics, together with a nasal steroid spray to reduce the swelling around the sinus passages. The GP assured us that the nasal spray will not have rebound effect.  I was also given some antihistamine due to my allergic rhinitis history. We finally got some relief from the nasal spray!

How long did I take to recover
All in all, it took about 2 months from the time our flu kicked in to the time we were completely healed from sinusitis! Imagine feeling sick for like 1/6 of the year! According to The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease , we fell under the category of subacute sinusitis - sinusitis that last between 4 - 12 weeks.

My afterthought 
Although we took a long time to recover, I think my GP did the right thing in delaying the prescription of antibiotics until the second visit. This is because antibiotics are only effective for bacteria infection, NOT virus infection.

I am not sure if the antibiotics actually helped us at all as we only felt significantly better after using the nasal steroid spray. We also did not take any test to confirm its bacteria infection. The test result will take time and incur cost, so the GP did not even mention about taking a test. But in all likelihood, our GP, after assessing our condition and the fact that it dragged on for so long, thought its the right step forward in prescribing antibiotics to us.

I will share in another post what you can do on your own to get some relief from sinusitis.

Note: This is based on my personal medical condition and not meant to be medical advice. Please seek advice from medical professional for your own condition.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Test Your Indoor Allergy IQ

What!! The Sneeze Queen did not get 100% right on this indoor allergy IQ quiz? Lol! Ok, 87% score is nothing to be sneezed at :)

These are the 2 questions that I tripped on:

Q) How often should someone with indoor allergies vacuum?

-Twice a day
-As little as possible

Q) A dust bunny that weighs the same as a paper clip has ...

-About 50 dust mites
-About 500 dust mites
-Nearly 50,000 dust mites

What do you think is the correct answer? Pretty tricky eh? If you are interested, you can take this 15 questions quiz here and find out for yourself how much you know about indoor allergies.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Why Is It So Hard To Find Anti Dust Mite Mattress and Pillow Covers?

Given the rising trend of allergic rhinitis and that dust mites is the main cause of respiratory allergies in Singapore, I am surprised to find the lack of support in this area.

By support, I mean I don't see any foundation or community here for allergic rhinitis. In United States, they have the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America; in Australia, they have the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy; in United Kingdom, they have the Allergy UK, a national charity to represent people with allergies. I am sure there are many more in other countries.

There is one in Singapore - The Allergy and Clinical Immunology Society (Singapore), but it is a professional society catered to medical and healthcare professionals. There is not much resource there for an allergic rhinitis patient, mostly long wordy medical papers.

By support, I also mean that on the retail front, there is a lack of it. There are only 2 of them selling anti dust mite mattress and pillow covers in Singapore. Yes, only 2, and the prices are exorbitant! For the same price, I could have purchased online from the United Sates about 3 sets, with shipping charges inclusive. I shared my purchase experience here. Till this day, I am still puzzled why major departmental stores are not stocking these allergy products, given that 40% of the adult population here is troubled by allergic rhinitis .

Is it common to see shops specializing in allergy products in your country? I'd like to hear from you if you find support or the lack of it in your country. Do leave a comment here or drop me an email :)

For those who are allergic to dust mites and are interested to get a good quality anti dust mite mattress cover, here's some tips on how to choose one. And if you happen to reside where such allergy shops are not easily accessible, I recommend you purchase online from the Allergy Store. This is where I bought my anti dust mite mattress and pillow covers after doing extensive research online. Great quality! I am a careful shopper, even more so when it comes to online shopping and buying rather big ticket items. Besides being in this industry for a long time (since 1989 - well, at the back of my head, I am thinking if they are not good, they would't be able to last this long in the business!), this is also why I chose them:
"... it offers international shipping & accept international credit card as payment. Also for some of their anti dust mite bedding cover series, they offer LIFETIME warranty"
I encourage you to do your own research online as well before purchasing. The anti dust mite bedding covers are not exactly cheap and it is important you buy good quality ones from a reliable retailer that can last you for a long time to come.

p/s: If anyone knows of a national foundation or society here in Singapore for allergic rhinitis, do let me know. Appreciate it!