Symptoms of allergy to CLEVELAND, Ohio – Britani Hayes are kept under control of the night dose of Zyrtec. But if he forgets it, he's miserable.
"My eyes are constantly irritated and I am always," said Hayes, 26, of Mayfield Heights. He gets headaches and has difficulty sleeping.
Dr. Sam Friedlander, assistant professor of allergy, asthma and sleep medicine at university hospitals, may be involved.
"Allergy may not seem important, but everyone knows how bad it feels to have a cold. Allergies are cold all the time, ”Friedlander said.
The current allergic season has already hit northeast Ohio. Friedlander witnesses a sharp increase in both old and new patients coming to him to help with allergies and asthma that may be aggravated by allergic reactions.
Cleveland is a challenging city for people with spring allergies, according to the Asthma ranking and the Allergy Foundation of America.
Cleveland ranked 39th out of 66 cities in 2018, but things are even worse in Akron (32nd), Columbus (28th), Youngstown (18th), Toledo (14th) and Dayton (seventh) .
April showers encourage plants, trees and grass to grow. Enjoy sneezing, coughing, sniffing and scraping, along with discomfort and distraction.
The cycle continues with weeds in late summer, mold in spring and autumn, and mites and pets throughout the year. "It's just on and on," Friedlander said.
What are the allergies?
As patients know, allergies happen when the immune system tosses something they should ignore, such as pollen, pets, mites, molds, and other allergens.
"The body thinks it's an attacker," Friedlander said. Scientists are still trying to understand why. This condition may occur for the first time in childhood or adulthood.
Allergy and asthma go hand in hand. Allergies exacerbate symptoms of asthma, leading to bronchial bronchitis, excessive mucosa and muscle tightness in the lungs. About 80% of childhood asthma and 50% of adult asthma are related to allergies, Friedlander said.
The eczema skin condition is also caused by an allergic reaction.
Allergies tend to run in families. Often, Friedlander sees families in which the mother has nose allergy, the eldest son has asthma, the daughter has eczema, and the youngest son has food allergies.
"They all travel our genes," he said. "It's like a lottery – we don't know which allergy is going to happen."
It can be hard to tell the difference between cold, flu or allergies. Each disease includes a respiratory system, but each also has key symptoms that distinguish them.
Influenza causes high fever, headache, fatigue and pain. These symptoms are usually not related to colds. Allergies cause watery, itchy eyes, but no colds or flu. Allergies generally do not cause headaches, fatigue and pain.
Allergic symptoms usually last for a six week pollen season. Cold and flu usually occur within two weeks. An allergist can perform tests to diagnose and diagnose allergies.
There are simple things allergy sufferers can do to find relief:
- Use central air conditioning with air filtration and replace the filter regularly
- Use sunglasses and hats outdoors.
- Wipe your pets with a towel before entering your home.
- Shower and shampoo before bed to remove pollen from hair and skin.
More tips can be found at Asthma and the Allergy Foundation of America. And there are useful phone applications and websites that monitor the current pollen count in the region. The Pollen.com website gives a five-day allergy forecast. Weather Channel and Accuweather also have predictions.
A prescription medication containing antihistamines and prescription drugs can be used before the allergic season begins.
Immunotherapy also offers relief. These medicines – taken in monthly injections or tablets – help the body lose its hypersensitivity to pollen and reduce the severity of allergic reactions. Newer immunotherapy has improved in recent years, making it more rapid.
Research on new biological therapies and personalized medicine may lead to better allergy treatment in the future, Dr. Dr. Dean Metcalfe, principal investigator of the National Institute of Allergic and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health.
New biological agents – proteins produced by living immune cells – are now available for severe asthma and eczema. They provide years of relief, but are usually given in monthly intravenous infusions administered at the doctor's office or in the infusion center.
Ongoing medical tests are now testing biological agents that have a different approach to stopping allergic reactions and could be used at home. This and similar allergy-related research is mainly sponsored by NIH and the pharmaceutical industry, Metcalfe said.
Metcalfe sees the time when allergy experts investigate the patient's genes, determine their allergens, and treat genetically adapted drugs specifically for her. Achieving this goal will be carried out by extensive human genome studies.
"It's hard to imagine we can't get there," Metcalfe said. "We'll be close in 10 years."