You LIVING WELL. As many as 40 million people in the United States suffer from allergies; armed with the following little-known information, your spring and summer could be nearly sniffle-free.
There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog
Allergy specialist Dr. Michael S. Blaiss of the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center insists there are no “best breeds” for people with allergies. “All cats and dogs produce allergenic proteins in their saliva, urine and skin,” he says. “The fur is not a factor in contributing to allergy. Each animal may produce different levels of allergen, but it is not breed specific.”
Dr. Marjorie Slankard of the Department of Medicine at Columbia Doctors Eastside offers a few additional dog suggestions. “Poodles and wire-haired terriers are thought to be less allergenic than some dogs,” she says. “The bottom line, however, is that it is possible to react to any dog.” Try spending time with friends’ dogs to see which breed is a good match, but be warned — after a pet is in the household, a person can develop allergies they did not previously have.
Manhattan allergist Dr. Clifford Bassett, a fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, has tips on allergy-enhancing foods to avoid: There are some foods, nuts, fresh fruits and spices that worsen seasonal allergies.
“In the springtime, carrots, pears, apples, cherries, almonds and hazelnuts can aggravate your seasonal allergies,” he warns. “The same can happen with grass pollens and potato, melon and tomato. If you have ragweed allergy, watch out for banana, melons, zucchini and even camomile tea and sunflower seeds.” Usually, Dr. Slankard adds, cooked vegetables and fruits do not exacerbate allergy symptoms as the raw ones might.
Do your chores — the smart way
Stay indoors during peak pollen hours — 6 to 10 a.m. — and leave yard work for wet, windless, overcast days. Vacuum often and use a HEPA air purifier when possible. Standard air-conditioners ought to remove about 90 percent of air irritants, so clean your filters at least once a year.