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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How I treat Allergies

What I do to treat allergies

1. Allergy testing. Many people have house-hold allergies in addition to outdoor allergies. Controlling indoor allergies can greatly diminish symptoms of outdoor allergies. But first, you need to get skin tested (by an allergist, not a GP) - IgE blood levels are useless so don't go down that route.

2. Most of us have dust mite feces allergies. I have dust mite encasings on my pillows and mattress (purchased at www.allergyasthmatech.com)

3. I have no carpet in my place, but when I did in college I put dust mite powder on my carpet (simple to use - just put it on the carpet and then vacuum it up a few hours later. it lasts 6 months). Also can be found at www.allergyasthmatech.com

4. HEPA air purifier in the room that I do meds and my bedroom. Nothing else but HEPA will do. I bought mine at www.costco.com

5. I never open windows in my house. It's a pain, but it lets allergens in. Instead, I run my air conditioner

6. I take an anti-histamine. 70% of the allergic cascade is attributed to histamines. As Nicole said, check out my blog for an explanation of the differences between anti-histamines (school down to categories on the left, then click medications)

7. I take a leukotriene agonist. 30% of the allergic cascade is attributed to leukotrienes. Singulair is my med of choice there

8. I take an intranasal steroid. Flonase has alcohol in it (spraying alcohol up my nose hurts, burns, smells badly and causes nose bleeds). I use Nasacort AQ instead. It's just as powerful, but no alcohol.

9. Allergy shots.

10. One thing I forgot - getting rid of down comforters and pillows if you're allergic to down. What a difference that makes!

Treating allergies when you have CF can dramatically improve lung function. Allergies cause inflammation in the lungs - and as you know, as CFers, we already deal with so much inflammation to begin with. So heading allergies off at the pass is essential to good health.

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