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Allergy Medications

BKM

Cyburbian
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It may be too early for many of you, but I had to cut a bicycle ride shut because my eyes were so swollen and teary that I was afraid I couldn't see the traffic 8-!

I asked this question at a lunch party today: Does allergy medication, prescription or otherwise, help you at all?

I vote "no" I've never noticed a difference with or without Claritin, Allegra, or any of the others. The only results are from al-buteral (and, in worse years, prednisone :( ) to keep me breathing!
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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18,704
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I'm very allergic to cat dander, dust mites, and certain types of pollen. among other things.

Of the OTC medications, Claritin D works fair. Several Benadryl will work, but I'm knocked out in the process. Nothing else available without a prescription makes a dent in my allergies; not Tavist D, Drixoral, Contac, Seldane (when it was still available) or anything else OTC in the US and Canada.

I've tried Allegra, and it was like taking a placebo. Right now, a combination of Zyrtec and Flonaise works wonders; a pill and two sprays keeps my sinuses clear all day.
 
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I do use benadryl a fair amount. I also suck down caffeine like there is no tomorrow because it has similar stimulant effects to things like albuterol but I find the side effects more tolerable. I was on Claritin at one time. I really don't like the stuff but it did help. I also use flonase when necessary. Steroids generally work. Anti-inflammatories, like advil, can help. I also read somewhere that vitamin C is a good anti-allergy thing and I have sometimes used it with good results.

Mostly, I clean my house to within an inch of its life and irrigate my sinuses regularly and I take a decongestant and anti-inflammatory daily. When that isn't enough, I pile benadryl and "extra" caffeine on top.

Hi, my name is Michele and I swear: my drug addiction is totally legal and doctor-sanctioned. :-D
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
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18,313
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I guess I'm one of those rare people that don't seem to be allergic to anything. However, while working in Santa Clara County for a while, I couldn't figure out why I would go the job in the morning feeling fine but by the end of the day feeling as though I had developed a cold--went on for a week or so. Turned out it was the flowering plum trees. Go figure.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
I, too, am a member of Alergics Anonymous. Like Dan, my problem is with cats, dust, and some pollens. (Thankfully, I am not allergic to trees or dogs.) Claritin has worked the best for me, but it is not nearly enough to get me through mowing the lawn. I have to plan around that event, doing it as late in the day as possible, taking extra medication beforehand and showering after, and planning to be miserable until going to bed. I need a little extra help breathing at night, so I usuaully pop a 12-hour pseudophedrine HCL (generic Pseudophed) before going to bed. Allegra did not work very effectively for me. Zyrtec and Benadryl put me to sleep.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
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1,369
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A combination of Clarinex and Nasonex worked for me, but you better have a good health plan: Clarinex is more than $1 a dose. If you have to take prednisone you better do something. It is extremely damaging to long term health.

Once I started working with a naturopathic physician, I found ways to manage my allergies without drugs. I took one round of Clarinex with some Nasonex, when we started a stint as foster parents for a cat, but my body figured out how to deal with it after three weeks, and I am back off drugs.

The most important single thing is washing out your sinuses: get a syringe and whoosh 20 cc of a warm saline solution (1 tsp of baking soda, 1 tsp of salt that has no iodine in four cups of water - boil for 8 minutes to sterilize, let cool) up each nostril five times. Do this twice a day.

Eating right is also incredibly important. I am convinced that a lot of allergies are based in chemical sensitivities that make us unnaturally sensitive to natural irritants. Eat organic. I found that going without any meat except fish/shellfish made the most difference for me, but you may be different. I would find a naturopathic doc to work with.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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10,623
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I received two allergy shots every four days for seven years, and I still have bad days, just not as many. The only over the counter stuff thats helps is the stuff that knocks me to sleep, so I usually just suffer until I get home.
 

Greenescapist

Cyburbian
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1,169
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24
I love Claritin and have lived on it for a while now. It works great for me and is now generic, thank god.
 
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Like Lee said: irrigating your sinuses does wonders. You can also nebulize your lungs, but that takes a fancy and expensive piece of medical equipment called a nebulizer. (Yeah, I just bought one a few days ago, after a few months of nagging by my guardian angel/best friend. I feel a whole lot better.)

Here are the recipes I use and some research, etc:

http://califmichele.com/saline.html

or, if you have a really slow modem or old browser (like netscape 4, which won't properly open the first link), you might want to go to this version of the page (same info, but minus the fancy backgrounds):
http://califmichele.com/plain/saline.html
 

Zoning Goddess

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13,852
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39
I was under treatment by an allergist until I left my former place of employment 8.5 years ago, and haven't had a bad allergy day since. I feel so lucky!
 
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Zoning Goddess said:
I was under treatment by an allergist until I left my former place of employment 8.5 years ago, and haven't had a bad allergy day since. I feel so lucky!
Maybe you were suffering from "sick building syndrome"? Indoor air quality can be lots worse than outdoor air quality.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,080
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34
Michele Zone said:
Maybe you were suffering from "sick building syndrome"? Indoor air quality can be lots worse than outdoor air quality.
This is very true, and becomes even worse when heat and especially, humidity increase. My problems get much worse on humid days, which is why I keep a dehumidifier running most of the summer. You can get a whole-house dehumidifier as part of you HVAC system. My biggest problem is a person in the office who likes to turn off the AC so that the temperature in the building gets to 80, and the humidity levels rise as well. It affects my ability to work.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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6,463
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29
Interesting range of ideas. I am generally skeptical of "alternative" medicine, but allergies are one of those things "western medicine" are weak in.

As Michelle can confirm, one of my biggest problems is that I live in the pollen capital of California. Suisun (Suisun bay) means "West Wind," and we get wind! The North winds are the worse. We get all the dust, all the pollen, because the naggative side of open space preservation is lots and lots of pollen :)

The other side of the coin is I tend to be a bit of a grin and bear it (or whine and bear, to be more accurate). When combined with doctorphobia, I tend to let things go untreated sometimes.

Prednisone is scary stuff. I've only had to use it a couple of times over the past five years, so I am luckily not on it very often or for very long. My doctor, when I rarely did need it, prescribed a single course (with no refills).

My original complaint aside, my allergies seem to becoming a little less severe over the past couple of years. For one thing, I don't push it that hard in the Spring any more (cycling wise), so that helps reduce exposure.
 
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Cardinal said:
This is very true, and becomes even worse when heat and especially, humidity increase. My problems get much worse on humid days, which is why I keep a dehumidifier running most of the summer. You can get a whole-house dehumidifier as part of you HVAC system. My biggest problem is a person in the office who likes to turn off the AC so that the temperature in the building gets to 80, and the humidity levels rise as well. It affects my ability to work.
Ugh! Sorry to hear that. I live with three guys who all have the metabolism of a polar bear. I wear a sweater in the house in July, if I am cold. I can always put more on but they live in shorts and tanks as is. Two teenaged boys have no control over raging hormones giving them hot flashes. Can't you discuss this problem with the person???

You know, it is not merely YOUR comfort at stake. They stupidly turned off the AC in some poor Southern school district -- where it can be REALLY humid -- over summer break and came back to a building coated in mold and mildew on the inside. Now all the kids are sick and the building probably should be condemned but I don't know if it will be -- they can't afford to. Ugh.

When I said "sick building syndrome", I was also thinking in terms of asbestos, building products which off-gas, and so forth. New carpetting, wall paper, the glue used to hold it up, and many other things can cause bad reactions in some people. I was miserable when I lived in a trailer -- so miserable that I joke that I would prefer a tent to a trailer if it ever came to such a choice.
 
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BKM said:
As Michelle can confirm,

.
Michele can't confirm anything. He swears he lives where I live, but I have yet to see hide nor hair of him. :-D :p (Really, I promise: it is all rumors that I am a vampire -- and never mind that I sleep days, have excessively pale skin, and am prone to anemia. That is all sheer coincidence. You have nothing to fear. ;-) )
 

Floridays

Cyburbian
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769
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21
Greenescapist said:
I love Claritin and have lived on it for a while now. It works great for me and is now generic, thank god.
I've found that Claritin works wonders but only use it when needed...don't want to build up a tolerance to it. Allergy season has arrived, folks, and according to the news, it's here early this year. :-#
The BEST eyedrops that I have found for allergy/watery eyes are Bausch & Lomb Opcon A. They have saved my life!
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
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7,917
Points
36
My allergies aren't as bad as they were when I was younger. I'm not sure what to ascribe that to. I have found that taking a multivitamin helps - I don't know why, but I'm sure MZ may have a theory or two :) Being in better shape has helped too.

I too did the rounds of OTC medications, and have found that Tylenol Allergy and Sinus works for me. I only need it on really bad air quality days, or when I'm golfing.
 

boiker

Cyburbian
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3,889
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26
Chet said:
I received two allergy shots every four days for seven years, and I still have bad days, just not as many. The only over the counter stuff thats helps is the stuff that knocks me to sleep, so I usually just suffer until I get home.
I recieved 4 shots a week for about 3 years, then 2 shots a week for another 4. I really believe it helped. I used to have horrible reactions to dogs, grass, tree pollen, flowers, cats, etc. etc. basically, if it was alive and it came near me. i reacted to it.

Now, my allergies are much less intense, but I still have to take a shot of my inhaler when i exercise. Zytec seemed to be the only one that helped my allergies be reduced.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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Man, your stories and the amount of meds you guys take is wild.

I, fortunately, have almost no allergies, except that I get mild sneezes and watery eyes when around cats, but that is because I'm not around them, and I havce a suspectibility to poison ivy and poison oak (if I get it, it spreads easily)

other than the above, I ever have anything happen to me. I have waaaaay too many sick days. :-\ ;-)
 

Cardinal

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Michele Zone said:
When I said "sick building syndrome", I was also thinking in terms of asbestos, building products which off-gas, and so forth. New carpetting, wall paper, the glue used to hold it up, and many other things can cause bad reactions in some people. I was miserable when I lived in a trailer -- so miserable that I joke that I would prefer a tent to a trailer if it ever came to such a choice.
One of the projects I am working on is a new office building we are putting up. It is great to have the architect, tenant, and my board all thinking "green" in the deisgn. This is going to be a showcase for us, and hopefully begin encouraging others to get into the act. We can't continue to put products in buildings that ruin people's health.
 
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Tranplanner said:
My allergies aren't as bad as they were when I was younger. I'm not sure what to ascribe that to. I have found that taking a multivitamin helps - I don't know why, but I'm sure MZ may have a theory or two :) Being in better shape has helped too.
well, if you take your vitamins and workout, etc, it strenthens your body. Your immune system takes a lot of energy, etc, to do it's job. When my youngest son had that "winter vomitting" thing and laid in bed for 5 days (while me and the other son, with our defective digestive tracts, hardly noticed we had a bug -- bwa ha ha -- which is, of course, the reason these "defective" genes survive: like sickle cell, it is protective against SOME things)....er, anyway, I made a comment that was a bit of an epiphany for me: laying in bed, fighting for your life, may look like you are "doing nothing", but it takes all your energy to fight for your life.

You probably don't want to know the gory details of my many nightmares about eating a plate-full of shrimp or the like while I fought for my life. But the "short version" is that white blood cells eat invaders that are trying to subsist by feeding on your flesh. Combatting disease is an "eat or be eaten" thing at the cellular level. (Gee, Tran, don't encourage me!)
 
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Cardinal said:
One of the projects I am working on is a new office building we are putting up. It is great to have the architect, tenant, and my board all thinking "green" in the deisgn. This is going to be a showcase for us, and hopefully begin encouraging others to get into the act. We can't continue to put products in buildings that ruin people's health.
I am glad to see more stuff like that being done. "Sick building syndrome" is one of the reasons I expect to run a business from home: I need an unusually high degree of control over my physical environment and air quality to be productive at all! Not to mention the whole selfish desire to not deteriorate and become, er, "useless" (not the word I am looking for) and unable to Have A Life due to such exposures. :)
 

trishm1

Member
Messages
17
Points
1
I am also one of the very allergic. Trees, grass, cats, dust, hamsters, etc...I have tried many different inhalers, pills and even the horrible prednisone. For the last couple years I have been using Advair in a diskus form. It acts in two ways-prevents inflammation of the airways and is a long-acting bronchial dialator. Very expensive, but covered by insurance or available for cheap at your local free clinic.

For sinus relief-Flonase is the way to go.

Eyes that itch, water and drive you to run into things on your bike-there's the new Patanol prescription, Opcon-A over the counter works for the itch and redness, and there are other similar eyedrops available. I highly recommend washing your hands religiously, and keeping them away from your eyes. Cold compresses work in a pinch.

Good luck!
 

BKM

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trishm1 said:
I am also one of the very allergic. Trees, grass, cats, dust, hamsters, etc...I have tried many different inhalers, pills and even the horrible prednisone. For the last couple years I have been using Advair in a diskus form. It acts in two ways-prevents inflammation of the airways and is a long-acting bronchial dialator. Very expensive, but covered by insurance or available for cheap at your local free clinic.
For sinus relief-Flonase is the way to go.

Advair sounds interesting. I've used Pulomcourt and the like before, which is steroid baded. Prednisone is scary, but it helped me through a couple of bad spells a couple years back.

Sadly, like most insurance plans, the subscriber co-pay for meds seems to be going up dramatically. Not that I have any grounds to complain. I am very lucky, to date. I'll talk to my doctor about it.
 

Dan

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Like what Trish said, Flonaise, Flonaise, Flonaise. Without health insurance, it's around $80 a bottle or 120 doses. With my insurance plan, it's $15, or five bucks if I get it mail-order. Definitely worth it.
 

plannerkat

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204
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I'd be very happy if my office declared a ban on purfume during the months of March and April. I'm surrounded on 3 sides by competing strong scents and I'm dying!!!! You'd think that the hacking, sneezing & wheezing chick in the cube next door would be a tip off that the purfume isn't helping...The sudaphed-claritin-sinus irrigation cocktail isn't doing squat today. It may be time to go to the doctor for the heavy artillery. :-#
 

ilikefish0

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I happen to be allergic to christmas trees. Winter was always hell until we got an artificial tree. That year was the first christmas I can remember not being sick, stuffed up,and basically miserable.

Cardinal said:
I need a little extra help breathing at night, so I usuaully pop a 12-hour pseudophedrine HCL (generic Pseudophed) before going to bed.
That's amazing stuff. I can only seem to find six-hour though--that requires a little planning. (don't really use it for allergies anymore, but it destroys any stuffiness)
 

Cardinal

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ilikefish0 said:
That's amazing stuff. I can only seem to find six-hour though--that requires a little planning. (don't really use it for allergies anymore, but it destroys any stuffiness)
You can get the 12-hour stuff at Target. It's even cheaper than at Wal-Mart.
 

jordanb

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3,232
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25
I spent my first days in a Midwestern farming town eating dirt out of the front lawn, so I'm not allergic to anything. :-D Plus pathogens ph33r my 31337 immune system.

Boy am I glad my parents weren't affected by all of those fear mongering Lysol commercials about babies and germs.
 

BKM

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jordanb said:
I spent my first days in a Midwestern farming town eating dirt out of the front lawn, so I'm not allergic to anything. :-D Plus pathogens ph33r my 31337 immune system.

Boy am I glad my parents weren't affected by all of those fear mongering Lysol commercials about babies and germs.
That's why, some scientists think, allergies are so bad. Our immune systems were never tested by disease during youth.

Interesting conundrum-less disease because of immunizations and sanitation but more autoimmune problems.
 
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