View Full Version : How do you deal with allergies?

03-28-2007, 09:25 AM
I live in New England which is damp/humid most of the time. It used to be that the fall leaves were the problem and I could ride fine the rest of the year. Now I notice that the allergies have gotten worse; sometimes when I bend down to grab the water bottle my equilibrium is off and I get a little dizzy or disoriented. I also get the weather headaches when the barometric pressure changes and a storm comes in. :eek:

Anyway, I have an appt. with an allergist soon, and I'm hoping some different medication will help. I'm worried though, that it will wipe me out and make me too tired to ride. Does anyone else have experience with this, and are there any meds I should stay away from in terms of riding and getting too tired? :confused:

I'm also interested in natural remedies; someone recommended local honey as a good treatment and I was wondering if you've tried it?

Thanks!! Debby:)


03-28-2007, 09:32 AM
Nasonex (or the other steroidal sprays of its ilk) are a blessing. They stop the histamine from even starting the nasal faucet but you have to use them as directed. If it weren't for Nasonex, I'd be sick all spring. Don't get scared at the steroid part. It's a very weak solution and if used properly just fine.

03-28-2007, 09:45 AM
I just saw an allergist yesterday - I'm really only bothered by the major symptoms for a few weeks in the spring, but I get this hacking cough that lasts several months, so I finally decided that it was time to do something about it.

He said its probably and additive effect that gets me going bad in the spring time (I was positive to cats- and I have two that I would never give up, dust mites, cedar/juniper pollen - the one that kicks me over the edge and grass pollen)

I get all the nasy side effects from OTC stuff so I don't like allergy pills too much. He gave me Allegra, which I've taken one of so far and it seems to be working pretty well without making me feel dried out and light headed (like Sudafed) or raising my HR (like OTC Claratin). He gave me a nasal spray as well, but I haven't tried it yet, since I'm supposed to do it after I shower and I'm going to wait until after my workout for that.

03-28-2007, 10:17 AM
I am allergic to all things green. Anyway, we had a heck of a time trying to come up with an allergy medicine that would work well and not interact badly with my other meds. 2 summers ago, my doctor got an idea to try and see if I took a year off from allergy meds how I would do, the theory went along the lines, if you can get through a season the next will be easier. It went okay. Oddly last summer I really did not have any issues at all. No clue why. This will mark my 3rd spring without allergy meds and if it continues to work, I will be thrilled. I must add, my head hurts a good 85% of the time, so my allergy symptoms could just be covered up by migraine pain.

03-28-2007, 11:28 AM
I tested positive for 53/64 allergens, 42 of which were severe. Its a wonder I'm alive :p . I did allergy shots for a few years which helped. Then in 2005 I had no symptoms. Yippee!!! Until last year when the grasses hit me hard. Hay is one of the things I'm most allergic to and there are hay fields everywhere around here. So I went back on the Rhinocort (I think this is similar to Nasonex, not sure what the difference is exactly). I have taken every pill, both otc and prescription, and they all make me drowsy, no matter how much they claim to be non-drowsy. Zyrtec makes me the least drowsy, but it still saps my energy some. Since my symptoms are all in my nose, the nasal spray works well. Would be different if I had problems with watery eyes, and/or hives.

Last year in July I was trying to wean myself from the spray (I would like to be medication free), but then it got so bad I could barely get out of bed. My nose was such a mess I couldn't even use the nasal spray, it would all just come back out. I ended up getting a cortizone shot from the family doctor while my allergist was on vacation. I felt great on the coritzone, but the allergist was none too happy about it. . .

(Making a mental note to start ramping up on the nasal spray since it takes about 2 weeks to work and the grass is a-growin'.)

03-28-2007, 07:28 PM
I used to live in Cincinnati, also high humidity. I thought I was allergic to everything but when I saw an allergist and got tested all I tested postive to was dust, clams, and cat dander (I have cats). However, I have non allergic rhinuitus, which means there are lots of things in the air that I react to. So, I'm on Singulair (also for asthma) Nasonex (at night) and Astelin, 2x a day. I still get stuffy, especially in our ski condo where there is carpeting so I also use nasal rinse 1x per day and an air cleaner.

When I lived in Cincy I was getting sinus headaches everytime a front came through. Since Cincinnati gets a lot of rain my headaches were constant. My allergy doc. here gave me Liquibid-D. It's a decongestant and I only use it when I feel the sinus pressure or headache coming on. For some reason, they often occur in the early morning.

Now that I live in a dryer climate the headaches have decreased dramatically.

And for itchey eyes I use Patanol, a prescription eyedrop.

03-29-2007, 02:32 AM
Nasonex (or the other steroidal sprays of its ilk) are a blessing.
I couldn't agree more. Started taking Nasonex last year and it made me functional again!

03-29-2007, 07:03 AM
Made you sing again, huh?

If I use my Nasonex properly, I don't need any other medications. The symptoms are almost nil. Even the sneezing drops off. Given that I go manic just by smelling the "fed" in pseudoephedrine and my heart pounded with PPL, I have real motivation to use it. I know this stuff is off the market now, but I don't want to experiment with anything new. Nasonex is worth its weight in gold.

I feel like a Nasonex-proselytizer at times. That group of meds is simply amazing.

03-29-2007, 09:06 AM
Oh my, where to start? Maybe with our pollen count today in Atlanta: 5934
(130 is considered extremely high). Everything is yellow! :eek:

I have taken allergy shots for a year and am almost to my maintenance dose. They have helped a good bit along with the Singulair that I take. The pollen makes my eyes feel and look terrible so I use prescription Patanol drops. I might occasionally take OTC Alavert if I need something more. Medications affect people very differently so you may just have to try some out to determine which don't make you zonked out. Good luck!

Aint Doody
03-29-2007, 01:20 PM
I took the shots for a little over 5 years. At first it was 4 shots twice a week. When I got to maintenance, I gave them to myself--4 shots only once a week. I was allergic to about 90% of the things they tested me for. The shots have helped me immeasurably. I know they don't work for everybody. I'd taken an antihistamine every day of my life for over 20 years before starting on immunotherapy. I "graduated" last fall. Since that time I think I've had 3 Allegras. I'll never be totally allergy free--I can't even imagine what that's like. But if the shots help you and you can stick it out, it's well worth it. --Hah, I said stick!!!

03-29-2007, 02:50 PM
I live in hayfever hell here in the Bluegrass. I get an allergy shot once a week (I've been taking them for nearly 15 years and they have made a world of difference). Every day I take Singulaire and Allegra and I use Rhinocort as I needed it (typically when pollen counts start to climb). I now only have 1 or 2 sinus infections a year and I feel 1000% better.

03-31-2007, 01:16 PM
Well, I've taken every allergy and asthma med in the world and none of them stop the eventual sinus/bronchial/asthma/sometimes pneumonia I get every year. I get a fall "thing' yearly. This year it didn't come until Feb., since it was so warm here in New England. I have been on Nasonex since the summer. It didn't stop the whole thing at all. In fact, once I start sneezing a lot of times in a row, I know it's gonna happen and all I can do is rest and hope it stays viral, not bacterial. Allegra works for me, but keeps me up, so I don't take it anymore. Sudafed doesn't really affect me badly, if I only take it for a couple of days when I'm sick. Singulair made me feel weird and so did Advair. Plus, I don't like the side effects of the Serevent part of Advair, like "possible increase in death from asthma" :eek: . I am now weaning myself off of a 2 month course of Qvar, a steroid inhaler for asthma. It did work, but it took awhile and I felt like s---- during my first couple of rides. The only thing that works well for my asthma is albuterol and that is supposed to be a "rescue" inhaler. I have been taking before rides, just in case.

I have had 3 rounds of allergy shots; the first when I was a kid, the second during my senior year in HS, and when I was in my 30s. Each time, I would have an asthma attack after the shots. I quit them rather quickly.

Actually, I am much healthier in New England than when I lived in AZ. There, I was on a nebulizer every 4-6 hours for the last 2 years i lived there. The dust spores are wicked and dust is the one allergen I know i am really allerg-
ic to. Plus, the air pollution in the Valley is awful in the winter. So, I guess i just live with it and try to baby myself a bit if I feel symptoms coming on. It doesn't stop me, but there are times when i have pushed myself over the edge with training too hard, the allergies kick in, and then it develops into something bad...

03-31-2007, 01:28 PM
Nasonex (or the other steroidal sprays of its ilk) are a blessing. They stop the histamine from even starting the nasal faucet but you have to use them as directed. If it weren't for Nasonex, I'd be sick all spring. Don't get scared at the steroid part. It's a very weak solution and if used properly just fine.

Yeah, what she said! I love my Nasonex; can't get by with out it. I used to be sick about 4 times a year...now only once or twice when the weather changes significantly.

Here in Houston, everyone is allergic to something in the air.

03-31-2007, 01:35 PM
I've been reading this with great interest. I always had sensitivity to smog and smoke (lived in Southern California until about four years ago). The doctor said I had/have exercise induced asthma. I learned what my triggers were and refused to take medication because I didn't like the way it made me feel.

I moved up to WA state and all of the sudden it felt like I was catching a cold every month! I started getting sinus infections when I had never had one before. Honestly, I'd only feel good a very short period of time after antibiotics because those don't make me feel good either but then I'd immediately get "sick" again.

My last doctor, when I asked about the "perpetual cold" state, started asking me questions and then asked if I ever thought I had allergies. I hadn't. He recommended Alavert which makes me feel SO much better!

So from what I'm reading, allergies can cause sinus infections? How do you not get sinus infections, take allergy medication every day? For those who live in very cold climates, does wearing something over your face help? (I'm assuming people are like me and have difficulty breathing when it's cold.) I don't mind the Alavert so much but still would rather not take inhalers or anything like that. I don't really have any allergy advice because I've only really known I had allergies for a month or so. Except for the sensitivity to smoke/smog but I figured that was just sensitivity and should be avoided anyway.

03-31-2007, 01:43 PM
I used to sneeze all the time...I mean multiple times at once and countless times a day. All that sinus irritation, for me, would lead to sinus infections fairly regularly.

Now that I use the Nasonex (and have for about 7 years) I rarely sneeze at all. I can't tell you what a relief that is!

However, I will also get sick if there is too much cold or wind in/around my ears. Riding in the car with the driver side window down on a nice day will get me sick really quick. In colder weather I have to cover my ears when riding my bike because of this. But that is my take on it and the way my body seems to be.

03-31-2007, 04:39 PM
Acupuncture can help some people.

03-31-2007, 04:41 PM
I have had allergies on and off for many years. When they are bad, my eyes nearly swell shut and I can't think about anything except how miserable I am. I have never taken medication for the allergies except for the odd benedryl. I tried local honey (the idea being that the bees are pollinating the plants you're allergic to and that their honey will act like a homeopathic vaccination) it helped to some degree but takes awhile - as in days to a week or more for your body to adjust. The thing that helps me the most- in fact I pretty much swear by it- is going dairy free for several weeks at the peak of allergy season. This can be hard (I love toast with butter and a slab of cheese) but really is the only way for me to fight off the allergies. I think it works because dairy causes excess mucus and this mucus traps more pollen which makes the allergies start up- so by getting totally rid of dairy in the diet, the pollen trapping mucus factor is down. I have no medical credentials to back my idea up, but it truely does work for me and it may work for you too. The key is to be totally (not even a dash of milk in your coffee) dairy free. The good news is that you don't have to do it forever, just when the allergies are acute.
I hope this helps.:)

04-01-2007, 04:53 PM
Has anyone tried a neti pot?

I don't have a whole lot of allergies, but my house is old and the windows leak and there is a lot of dust. I'm thinking of trying the neti pot as a regular part of my hygiene.


If you've tried one, I'd love to hear your impression of it.


04-01-2007, 05:40 PM
The neti pot just looks like a simple nasal wash (never heard of it before). I've heard that saline solution can help for clearing sinuses. I don't know if you need a special pot for it though, just take the warm water like they describe with some salt and rinse out your nasal passages (just make sure the water comes back out :) )

04-01-2007, 05:51 PM

Dianyla told us about them awhile back. I didn't try it but she gave me tips on using Alkalol properly. Love that stuff.

04-01-2007, 07:53 PM
I use a neti pot - it does seem to help keep the pounding sinus headaches at bay. I haven't had a sinus infection for two years now - I used to get them pretty regularly.