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Beautiful Fall Brings Not So Lovely Allergies

If you have a runny nose and sneezing with watery or burning eyes, you have an allergy. Welcome to the club. It’s not a very exclusive club because over 50 million Americans have allergies or develop them sometime in their life. One of the most common allergies in the Fall is pollen. It can come from grass, weeds or trees. Ragweed is the most common culprit in the Fall.

Besides the usually symptoms of runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes, many people develop seasonal dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is simply your body’s reaction to something touching your skin. A skin allergy can be mild, like a slight rash or It can be more pronounced, with itchy bumps or blisters. Allergic reactions are caused by our body’s natural immune system, the body’s system of white blood cells and antibodies that fight off infection.

In people with allergies, the immune system over reacts to things that aren’t really dangerous. Their immune systems react to certain foods, plants like poison ivy, pollens in the air, metals like nickel, or ingredients in makeup, detergent or shampoo. Nobody knows exactly why this happens, but there seems to be a genetic connection, because allergies tend to run in families.

A rash can be caused by:

• Irritants in the air
• Nickel, often found in inexpensive plated jewelry or white gold jewelry
• Preservatives, including formaldehyde and quaternium 15, which are found in some cosmetics, paints, and household cleaners
• Fragrances in shampoos, detergents, lotions and anti-aging products
• Latex or other materials in rubber gloves
• Cobalt chloride, found in some deodorants. I use Almay hypoallergenic Fragrance-Free Antiperspirant & Deodorant
• Fabric dyes, especially those used on synthetic fabrics.
• Poison (plants or chemicals in cleaning products)
• Certain foods

What to do:

• Many dermatologists will tell you to use-low dose steroid creams. They are fine for very short-term use, like for poison Ivy. I would stay away from them for extended use. I used steroid creams for many years and have permanently damaged the skin on my arms and upper legs. My skin is now thinner and crepey in those areas.

• Avoiding the irritant is the best course of action. Always shower and wash your hair before going to bed. to remove any air-borne allergens from your skin that would transfer to your bedding. Wash your clothes after coming in contact with the allergen. Use a fragrance-free, dye-free detergent, with a double rinse.

• Check labels carefully for ingredients you are allergic to. Be careful of cheap jewelry and white gold jewelry that might contain nickel.

• I also like to use over-the -counter antihistamine tablets, such as an allergy medicines. Consumer Reports recommends: Loratadine 10 mg tablets, Loratadine dissolving 10 mg tablets, Loratadine liquid 10 mg or Alavert dissolving 10 mg tablet. These all contain the same best-selling prescription drug as Claritin (in 2002  loratadine became generic). Antihistamine medicines block histamine from interacting with your skin and nasal tissues.

If you have any other hints please share them with us in the comments below.


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