|How can you hit your 30s (or beyond) and only then start reacting to ragweed or cat dander? That’s the question on the minds of more and more grown-ups who are suddenly sneezing right alongside their kids.
“If you look in the medical literature, you’ll see an explosion of new cases of allergies, sinus problems and asthma in adults all over the world,” says Clifford Bassett, M.D., an allergist/immunologist with the Long Island College Hospital of Brooklyn. “In my practice, I see mostly children and adolescents who eventually outgrow allergies. Then there’s a bump of patients in middle adulthood coming in for the first time.”
Is It an Allergy?
Recognizing an allergy can be tricky, since symptoms—runny nose, breathing problems, excess mucus and coughing—are similar to those for a cold or sinus infection. Colds usually go away within a week, Bassett says, but sinus infections are harder to distinguish from allergies since they can last for months. “One difference is that allergies almost always cause itchy eyes,” he says.
Fatigue is an under-recognized symptom of allergies, O’Connor adds. “When people complain about being tired all the time, I ask if they have allergies, and the answer is almost always, ‘Oh, they’re terrible right now.’”
Finding Sweet Relief
Treatment options include avoiding the allergen, prescription medications and allergy shots. “A little planning can go a long way,” Bassett says. “If the allergies are seasonal, I have patients start preemptive medication before the season kicks in to reduce the severity of the symptoms. If we find out the allergen is year-round, we can take steps to remove the problem or treat it.”
|Can Folic Acid Help?
A recent study at Johns Hopkins University found that folic acid may help suppress allergic reactions and lessen the severity of allergy and asthma symptoms. Though researchers caution that it’s too soon to recommend folic acid supplements to prevent or treat allergies and asthma, both O’Connor and Bassett believe the study is part of a larger trend of looking for holistic treatments. “Keeping the immune system healthy is the first line of defense against sickness and disease,” O’Connor says. “Natural approaches to allergies and asthma are very promising.”
Home Decorating Remedies
Original article from Publix Greenwise Marketing Magazine.