Tips For Dealing With Seasonal Grass Allergies

This post is sponsored by Stallergenes Greer. Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor and this should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your Doctor before starting this, or any other, medication or treatment plan. I am not on ORALAIR® (Sweet Vernal, Orchard, Perennial Rye, Timothy, and Kentucky Blue Grass Mixed Pollens Allergen Extract) Tablet for Sublingual Use; however, I am sharing because I thought it may help one of you.

The cooler weather here in Chicago seems never ending so I’m already dreaming of the warmer months that are coming in the (seemingly not-so-near) future. I love when the warmer weather comes because nicer days mean vacations, outdoor sports, time by the pool, concerts in the park, and camping. I like everything about the warmer months, except for the allergies they bring. It’s frustrating when being outside doing fun things with my family means itchy eyes, sneezing, a runny nose, and general congestion for me.

As an allergy sufferer I wanted to share some of the things that have worked for me when it comes to dealing with seasonal allergies.

First, I recommend staying inside (with the windows closed) as much as possible on days that allergens are bad. When you check the weather forecast each day you can also look at an allergy tracker that lets you know what pollen levels are like outside. I get an alert on my phone (you can easily set one up using IFTTT) when pollen is high, too, so I’m aware of the pollen count without having to look at the allergy tracker every day.

When you have to go outside on high pollen days, avoid activities that will stir up the allergens- like mowing the lawn. I’d also suggest taking off your shoes and changing your clothes when you come inside so you don’t spread the allergens around your home. (If you have time for a shower that’s great to do as well but I know it’s not always possible to shower mid-day -especially when you have little ones!)

Also, if you have an allergy to grass pollen, you should visit your doctor to talk about sublingual immunotherapy, like ORALAIR. ORALAIR is an FDA approved medicine prescribed to treat sneezing, runny nose or itchy eyes for patients 10-65 years old, who have been diagnosed with an allergy to any of the five grass pollens. The therapy works by providing the patient a small amount of allergen in a pill under the tongue daily and it can be taken at home after the first dose is administered in the doctor’s office. This sublingual immunotherapy may be considered for children 10 and over and adults who can’t or won’t consider allergy shots. In children and adults, the most commonly reported side effects were itching of the mouth, lips, tongue or throat. These side effects, by themselves, are not dangerous or life-threatening. ORALAIR can cause severe allergic reactions that may be life-threatening. Symptoms of allergic reactions to ORALAIR include: trouble breathing, throat tightness or swelling, trouble swallowing or speaking, dizziness or fainting, rapid or weak heartbeat, severe stomach cramps or pain, vomiting, or diarrhea, severe flushing or itching of the skin. For more information, check out: http://www.oralair.com/assets/pdf/ORALAIR%20Med%20Guide.pdf

While I am not on ORALAIR, the reason I’m sharing about seasonal grass allergies so early in the year is because sublingual immunotherapy requires patients to begin treatment as early as winter before the start of grass allergy season so I wanted to give everyone plenty of time to look into this option in case it may help one of you.

The good news though, is that ORALAIR can reduce grass allergy symptoms within the first allergy season it is taken. It can also help patients take less of other allergy medicine during the grass allergy season. Over time, ORALAIR is effective in relieving grass allergy symptoms—not only in the first pollen season after you begin treatment, but also year after year for up to three years of treatment. ORALAIR can help you reduce your grass allergy symptoms like runny or itchy nose, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and nasal congestion.

Here are some topics and questions that you may want to discuss with your doctor to learn more about your grass allergies and treatment options, including ORALAIR:

– What is allergy immunotherapy?
– How can I find out if I’m allergic to grass pollen?
– Could ORALAIR be an appropriate treatment option to help relieve my symptoms?
– How does the treatment routine for ORALAIR differ from my current one?
– How should I take ORALAIR?
– Are there support resources available for patients taking ORALAIR?
– How much does ORALAIR cost? Is it covered by my insurance?

What would you enjoy doing outside if your seasonal allergies were under control?

Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor and this should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your Doctor before starting this, or any other, medication or treatment plan.

 

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Indications and Usage

ORALAIR (Sweet Vernal, Orchard, Perennial Rye, Timothy, and Kentucky Blue Grass Mixed Pollens Allergen Extract) is a prescription medicine used for sublingual (under the tongue) immunotherapy prescribed to treat sneezing, runny or itchy nose, nasal congestion or itchy and watery eyes due to allergy to these grass pollens. ORALAIR may be prescribed for persons 10 to 65 years old whose doctor has confirmed are allergic to at least one of these five grass pollens.

ORALAIR is taken about four months before the expected start of the grass pollen season and is continued throughout the grass pollen season.

ORALAIR is NOT a medication that gives immediate relief of allergy symptoms.

Important Safety Information

ORALAIR can cause severe allergic reactions that may be life-threatening. Symptoms of allergic reactions to ORALAIR include:

– Trouble breathing
– Throat tightness or swelling
– Trouble swallowing or speaking
– Dizziness or fainting
– Rapid or weak heartbeat
– Severe stomach cramps or pain, vomiting, or diarrhea
– Severe flushing or itching of the skin

If any of these symptoms occur, stop taking ORALAIR and immediately seek medical care. For home administration of ORALAIR, your doctor should prescribe auto-injectable epinephrine for you to keep at home for treating a severe reaction, should one occur. Your doctor will train and instruct you on the proper use of auto-injectable epinephrine.

Do not take ORALAIR if you or your child:

– Has severe, unstable, or uncontrolled asthma;
– Had a severe allergic reaction in the past that included trouble breathing, dizziness or fainting, or rapid or weak heartbeat;
– Has ever had difficulty with breathing due to swelling of the throat or upper airway after using any sublingual immunotherapy before;
– Has ever been diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis; or
– Is allergic to any of the inactive ingredients contained in ORALAIR.

Stop taking ORALAIR and contact your doctor if you or your child has any mouth surgery procedures (such as tooth removal), develops any mouth infections, ulcers or cuts in the mouth or throat, or has heartburn, difficulty swallowing, pain with swallowing, or chest pain that does not go away or worsens.

In children and adults, the most commonly reported side effects were itching of the mouth, lips, tongue or throat. These side effects, by themselves, are not dangerous or life-threatening.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800- FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. Talk to your doctor before using ORALAIR while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning and Medication Guide.

Is It A Cold Or Is It Fall Allergies?

Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with MinuteClinic as part of their Fall Allergy campaign. As part of my involvement, I have received sponsorship from MinuteClinic for my posts and activities, but all opinions expressed are purely my own.

Did you know that 35 million Americans suffer from allergies and don’t even know it? That’s because many people confuse the symptoms of fall allergies with a common cold or the flu. I know I have confused them before and thought I was suffering from a cold that just wouldn’t go away when really it was allergies.

The folks at MinuteClinic, walk-in medical clinics inside select CVS Pharmacy and Target stores across the U.S., share the following important differences to help you identify if it’s a cold/flu or allergies. The first thing to consider is how fast your symptoms developed. If your symptoms develop fast, it’s likely allergies because allergy symptoms flare up as soon as you’ve come into contact with an allergen. If symptoms developed over several days it’s likely a cold. The length of sickness could be a clue as well. A cold will typically clear up pretty quickly, within 7-10 days. Allergies may last weeks or even months!

Another common allergy symptom is itchy eyes which are something that rarely occur with the common cold. Along with itchy eyes, allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, headache and sinus pressure. Signs it’s probably a cold or flu and not allergies include: the presence of a cough, green or yellow mucus, severe shortness of breath, a fever and/or aches and pains.

If you believe you have allergies you’ll want to see a healthcare provider. At MinuteClinic, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants can recommend the right course of over-the-counter medications and write prescriptions when medically appropriate. They can review your medical history, perform a physical exam, analyze your symptoms and decide on a treatment plan. MinuteClinic is open 7 days a week, including weekday evening hours. No appointment is necessary and most health care insurance is accepted.

Your healthcare provider may recommend taking an over the counter antihistamine which works to relieve itchy noses and throats, sneezing, and watery eyes. When you visit MinuteClinic, make sure to pick up their J&J coupon book which has $40 worth of savings in it to help you have a healthy fall season!

Along with taking an over the counter allergy medication I try to avoid being outside on days that allergens are high. MinuteClinic also suggests rinsing sinuses to remove mucus and allergens from the nose and also running the air conditioner instead of opening the window on nice fall days. If you do yard work they say you should avoid raking leaves, especially when they ar wet and the likeliness of mold is high, or at least wear a face mask when you do so. Also, remember to  take off your clothes and shoes when you come into the house to avoid spreading the allergens throughout your house.

I’d love to hear what tips you have that help relieve allergy symptoms!

 

 

Spring Allergy Tips {Courtesy of Claritin®}

I received the following tips from Claritin® and wanted to share with all of you.

It’s not surprising that in the season notorious for allergies, we have the most tips to share! Beginning as early as February, invisible pollens from hardwood deciduous trees are big troublemakers for many allergy sufferers. But there’s no reason to be miserable. These tips can help you minimize your exposure to allergens, and be prepared as possible for the pollen storm that’s on the horizon.

  • Start taking Claritin® allergy products as soon as symptoms start.
    • Having medication on hand will help you prepare for allergy symptoms.
  • Know your nemesis.
    • When you understand what triggers your allergy symptoms, you can make an extra effort to avoid them. For example, grass pollen levels rise when grass is disturbed, so if that’s one of your triggers, wear a mask when mowing or avoid mowing altogether.
  • Beat the clock.
    • Peak pollen production can occur in early morning, so try to plan outside activities at other times of the day.
  • Check the forecast.
    • Avoid going outdoors when pollen counts are high. Also, heavy rains wash pollen from the air, making post-shower outings more comfortable. Beware of dry, windy days when pollen can be particularly intense. (Get the pollen counts and weather forecast for your area and sign up for the Claritin® Allergy Forecast.)

(Disclosure: All material is courtesy of Claritin®. I am a member of their mom’s crew and receive perks but was not asked to post this or compensated to do so.)

WaterPik SinuSense Review

I was excited when I was send a couple products by WaterPik to review. The first product, SinuSense Water Pulsator, massages, cleanses and moistens sinus passages. It is great for allergy sufferers like myself but I let my mom review it because she has many issues with her nasal passages and I knew she’d benefit more from it. Here’s what she had to say:

I’ve been a long time sufferer of sinus infections and know about sinus rinses all to well.  I used SinuSense and loved the ease and convenience.  It made my nasal passages feel refreshed and clear.  On the whole, I am pleased with this innovative alternative to other nasal irrigation techniques. It’s convenient, easy, and effective.  I do wish it had a bigger tank so if you wanted to rinse a little more, you could do so without refilling.  I am  a chronic sinus sufferer, and I have done saline nasal rinse in the past and it was  always a little messy, but this product helps keep mess to a minimum.   You have complete control of the pulsating rinse and it cleans deep, and pulsates, leaves sinus clear and helps with inflammation.  It seems helpful with my current congestion problems and I feel a lot better after using it.  I love that it is manufactured by a well respected company and Waterpik offers a $10.00 off coupon on its website that makes this a terrific deal.

Find more information about WaterPik’s SinuSense on their website and find a coupon to buy this product here.

WaterPik on Facebook and Twitter

(Disclosure: I was compensated for this post but all thoughts are my own or my mom’s.)