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allergies

Basic information

An allergic response to an allergen in the air. Hay fever affects the eyes, nose, sinuses, throat and bronchial tubes in the lungs. The name is confusing since hay does not cause an allergic reaction and there is no fever. Attacks flare up in pollen season.

Itching, watery eyes
Frequent sneezing; stuffy nose with a clear discharge
Itching in the roof of the mouth
Wheezing (sometimes)
Burning in the throat
The body's immune system produces antibodies that release a chemical called histamine.
Histamine in turn produces swelling and irritation in certain areas (nose, sinuses, eyes).
Allergens in the air that cause an allergic sensitivity include: Pollen (from weeds, flowers,
grasses, and trees) mold, dust mites, tobacco smoke, and other pollutants.
Having other allergic reactions, such as eczema or asthma.
Smoking
Spring and Autumn. Most plants produce pollen during these seasons.
Family history of allergies
Weak immune system due to drugs or illness.

There is no way to prevent having allergies. You can take steps to help prevent having symptoms. Symptoms can be controlled with treatment, but the condition persists over a lifetime. It is usally more troublesome than disabling.

Difficulty sleeping and chronic fatigue
Increased risk for other infections

Diagnosis & Treatment

Your health care provider will do a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms. Medical tests such as blood and allergy skin tests may be recommended, but are usually not required for diagnosis.
Try to remove as many allergens in your home or the surrounding property area as possible.
Prepare your bedroom as follows:
Empty the room of furniture, rugs or carpet, and drapes or curtains.
Clean the walls, woodwork, and floors with a damp mop.
Wax the floor.
Cover box springs, mattress, and pillows with plastic covers.
Use bedclothes that can be washed often.
Don't use chenille bedspreads, quilts, or comforters.
Use throw rugs that can be washed easily.
Use wood or plastic chairs, not stuffed chairs.
Use window shades or blinds, not drapes/curtains.
Use a vacuum cleaner, damp rags, and a damp or oiled mop to clean the bedroom once a week

Other Preventative Measures:

Keep windows and doors closed, where possible.
Don't handle objects that are very dusty, such as books or stored clothing.
Don't keep stuffed animals or toys in the house.
Remove all pets (except fish) from the house.
Wear a filter facemask during exposure to allergens, including during housecleaning.
Install an air-purification unit in your home's heating and air-conditioning system, preferably a high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filter.
Drive an air-conditioned car.
Have someone else mow the lawn.

Medications

To reduce the body's allergic response, you may be prescribed: Antihistamines; decongestants; cortisone eye drops or nasal spray; cortisone tablets (severe cases only); cromolyn nasal spray; or cromolyn nose drops. These medications relieve symptoms, but they don't cure hay fever.
Desensitization injections for known allergens for severe or year-round cases. Once allergens are known (through skin or blood tests), small amounts are injected over a period of time. This helps block the immune system from releasing the histamine. This process may take months or years for effective results. No limits.
Avoid areas with known allergens.

Diet

No special diet

Notify our office if:

You or a family member has severe symptoms of hay fever that are interfering with normal activities

Moore, Stephen W., M.D. Griffith's Instructions For Patients, Seventh Edition, Elsevier Saunders, Philadelphia, PA, 2005.

 
Copyright 2008 Robert Bouvier MD, Website by www.HennesseeCorp.com