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Preview: Ask MetaFilter questions tagged with allergies

Ask MetaFilter questions tagged with allergies

Questions tagged with 'allergies' at Ask MetaFilter.

Published: Mon, 13 Nov 2017 19:26:35 -0800

Last Build Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2017 19:26:35 -0800


Conan! What is good in Cincinnati?

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 19:26:35 -0800

Hey MeFi! I'm going to be in Cincinnati shortly and am a bit of a snowflake as you may know from my prior asks. It's going to be a short trip but I'm not at all familiar with the area. Under the cut for more, any advice appreciated. Food: no gluten, no soy, no fish. Cool foods I can't get in other areas appreciated strongly - in a prior ask someone directed me to the Basque food in Boise, and I loved it. I like Indian, Ethiopian, Mexican, South and Central American, and I love hippie cafes where the recipes seem to have been made up by stoners and then tested on a sober person. What's good?

Tea: where is a nice place to sit around and drink some tea and maybe get work done? Bonus for LGBT owned/run/friendly, tea rooms, punk rock, or electronic music. Minus for places with heavy folk or British Invasion rotation. Coffee shops with a decent tea selection are fine, though if the place knows that not all tea steeps at the same temperature that's preferable.

I'm always interested in local spots that carry zines or cool local museums.

I will have a car and a navigation app. I have a minor mobility disability that means no hiking and I avoid stairs when possible. I will be spending the night before in Yellow Springs.


Any real connection between seasonal allergies & inflammatory diseases?

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 12:05:49 -0800

I have bad seasonal allergies, and I live in Austin, where there is literally no time when at least one allergen is not peaking. I also have stage 3 endometriosis, with lesions all over my uterus, ureter, bladder, and probably pouch of Douglas. (It's as fun as it sounds.) I was traveling this weekend and had almost no allergy symptoms and my endo pain was a lot better, too. Is it possible that allergies could increase the endo inflammation? When I try to research this I get a LOT of complementary medicine articles and general "anti-inflammatory diet" stuff, which doesn't have any scientific backing. Are allergies and inflammatory diseases like endometriosis even the same kind of inflammation? Is there any possible correlation here? Or is it just that one kind of feeling bad makes the other bad feeling worse?

Flavor Combination Conundrum

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 08:37:32 -0800

As one who is prone to eating ruts, while possessing negative integers of culinary skills in any form (think, 'banned from my Italian grandmother's kitchen, after being deemed "a disgrace to my heritage"- level ineptitude'); I am in need of flavorful ideas from the trusty Hive Mind, please. Rigid preferences inside, because this beggar is choosy as all hell, but for very valid reasons! Currently, I find myself hopelessly enamored of salads, and coleslaw. So much so, I am actually eating coleslaw for breakfast as I type, and this particular batch is already nearly gone. Ultimately, my hope is to glean flavor suggestions that will work for both salads and coleslaw interchangeably, while adhering to a stringent five-ingredient recipe:

salad/coleslaw base + fruit-flavored vinaigrette dressing + fresh fruits/berries + nuts/seeds + dried fruits

e.g. classic coleslaw mix + pomegranate vinaigrette + Granny Smith apples + honey roasted pecans + Craisins = breakfast of this champion! :D

Salad can be any sort of greens EXCEPT KALE. Spring Mix has been my default go-to. Coleslaw can be a standard mix of red cabbage, white cabbage, and carrots. Willing to try Asian-style slaws, but prefer classic slaw in general.

Vinaigrette dressings must be fruity, whether sweet or tangy. Nothing savory, please.

Fresh fruits/berries can be anything but mango, avocado, passion fruit, juniper, and goji. Because, allergies. KALE, I am still glaring at you.

Any nuts/seeds are welcome but they must be sugared, candied, glazed, caramelized, honey roasted, fruit flavor infused, or otherwise sweetened somehow where possible. Please nothing yogurt-coated, savory, or wasabi flavored.

Dried fruits of any kind (aside from allergens above, obvs) are welcome. So far, I have tried incorporating original Craisins or pomegranate-infused Craisins, because I am a madcap like that. Heh!

When I try to come up with other combinations of ingredients, I get stymied. Which nuts would pair with that fresh fruit? Do I stick with single-flavor themes, or brave contrasting/complementary tastes? What the heck else goes with pomegranate?? Why is this so daunting to me??? <-------- Uhm, rhetorical.

Many warm thanks in advance, so very grateful to have this community to consult. Please MeMail any questions, I am also allergic to consequences of threadsitting. ;)

My new loveseat is trying to kill me.

Sat, 02 Sep 2017 07:01:51 -0800

Bought used, upon delivery noticed a chemical smell. Whenever I sit on it I end up breaking out in hives. What could be causing it and how do I fix it? Got this awesome used loveseat that I didn't realize stinks like chemicals and makes me break out badly. I assume the smell is from the previous owner's efforts at cleaning. I don't own a steam cleaner, and I'm wondering if there is a way to solve this problem without renting one.

Why have my colds started to turn into months of post-nasal drip?

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 07:35:47 -0800

For the past two years, I have been getting colds that turn into months of thick, sticky mucus dripping down my throat from the back of my nose. For all of my lifelong nasal problems, this one is new. A complicating factor is that I moved across the country to an infamously polluted West Coast city in the midst of the first of these episodes, although later experience shows that they are not limited to my new place of residence. Please help me figure out any details or patterns that I’m missing. Have you ever experienced anything similar? Two weeks ago, while visiting family in VA, I caught a cold. The main symptoms abated after a week, at which point I still had a cough producing yellow phlegm and was blowing the same material out of my nose. Another five days or so, and that went away. Now I am left with an exceedingly annoying sensation of occasional post-nasal drip. This can occur at any time/place, but it seems to be exacerbated by eating or drinking anything (even a glass of water), taking a shower, or engaging in any kind of physical activity. When it happens, I become aware of a feeling of congestion behind my nose (my nasopharynx?), after which this stuff starts to slide down my throat. It is often so thick and sticky that I am unable to swallow it without washing it down with several gulps of water. It starts during or immediately after these activities, and abates after about 15 minutes. It seems to be at its worst when I do any of these things in the morning, although some days are worse than others in terms of the volume of mucus. When I bring it up, it is clear. None of this would seem particularly noteworthy to me were it not for the fact that this has started to happen after my colds very abruptly. Two years ago, around this time of year, I caught a cold, which turned into months of the same post-nasal drip. I was then in the midst of a move from the Northeast to California, so when the symptoms persisted in CA, I thought I was allergic to something local. They got better over the course of several months, although the various medications I tried (Claritin, Allegra, Flonase, Mucinex) didn’t seem to do anything, and Sudafed with pseudoephedrine seems to dry things up for the most part but doesn’t seem like a viable long-term solution. I have been to my doctor several times about this. At first he thought it might be lingering infection and recommended sinus rinsing and Flonase. This didn’t help much in the short term, but over the course of months, the drip went away. When I went to my doctor after the second time this happened (about a year after the firs time), he said it sounded like allergies, prescribed a new nasal spray (Dymista), recommended sinus rinsing, and gave me a referral to an allergist. The allergist confirmed that my nose looked allergic and scheduled allergy testing. The results of that show that I am likely allergic to dust mites and several types of grass and tree pollen. This makes sense, as I’ve had some kind of allergies my whole life. At times, I have had almost constant rhinitis, sneezing, and post-nasal drip, but what I am experiencing now seems very different—the persistent post-nasal drip for a month or two following a cold is new. Furthermore, seemingly complicating the idea that it is a dust mite allergy is the fact that I wake up with a totally clear nose and no mucus. It only gets worse when I get up and start moving around (having breakfast, taking a shower, etc.). When I first got this, I particularly noticed the drip after eating, and googling this symptom led me to read a great deal about laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), which in turn led me to reading a bunch of desperate-sounding accounts of people who had tried every medication imaginable and had found no relief. This made me anxious (and this anxiety was no doubt compounded by my cross-country move to a place where I didn’t know anyone and had to begin a stressful new job). Then, one afterno[...]

Vegan meals that are nut-free?

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:44:29 -0800

Hello. I have a dear friend that will be visiting and she is sensitive to nuts and identifies as a vegan solely. I am wondering if there are vegan dishes to make that are nut free and filling? She said she can eat hemp seeds and sesame seeds; if that contributes to anything. I am sensitive to certain pastas, so we will have to balance out what will work out for the two of us. Any filling recipes to make? Perhaps something with avocado and a spiralizer machine to make things? Beans? Tacos? Tofu? Any ideas would be heavily appreciated. Thank-you!

Please help me figure out why my dog is so itchy?

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 06:53:13 -0800

My dog is scratching herself like crazy and I can't figure out why. I took her to the vet but they had no answers aside from theorizing that she's allergic to something she is laying down on, because it's her undercarriage that seems to be itchiest (along with her legs). The only other clue is that this happened the previous two years as well, around this time of summer. So it's seasonal and it's localized in her tummy/chest and legs. There's nothing unusual in her environment - same old hardwood floors, rugs, and lawn that she always hangs out on. And there are no fleas. Does anyone have any idea what might be causing this? She's so uncomfortable.

Calling Dr House...

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 03:38:14 -0800

Please help solve a medical mystery. My four year old daughter has started vomiting about half an hour after eating. Initially I thought it was a stomach bug (which she had three weeks previously) but she has no other symptoms. Before the gastro she also had bad bronchitis (winter in Australia) which was treated by antibiotics. So the vomiting has been going on for two weeks, maybe three, now. Initially we thought it was because she was gorging her food or leftover from the gastro she had previously but now I think it's something else. Our local doctor has tested a stool sample for giardia and other exotic bugs and come up with nothing. She doesn't have diarrhoea, headaches, fever, congestion, stomach pain or anything else. She does have eczema (she's always had that) but it is much worse now.

So, what sets it off? I was leaning towards lactose intolerance as when I first noticed, it occurred straight after ice cream and hot chocolate, so we cut out milk products. (These are occasional treats so we weren't making the connection that there could have been a trigger there for a week or two.)

Eggs, toast and condiments in the morning don't set her off. Fruit, plain vegetables and sandwiches or wraps with salad are fine (large portions of her diet). Dinner is more of an issue. We went out for Chinese (mostly dumplings, no soy sauce or dairy) and that triggered it. For lunch she had sushi with tuna and avocado and for dinner she had veal tortellini (no sauce) and that triggered it.

When she vomits, it occurs about half an hour after. She doesn't completely purge her stomach, it's more like a baby's reflux, mainly saliva with a small amount of stomach contents, say 20ml, and she'll do this about six times.

I saw the doctor a few days ago - when I still thought it was lactose intolerance - and he has referred me to a pediatrician but I won't get to see them for another three weeks. I'm keeping a food diary now but I'm completely flummoxed and Dr Google, as to be expected, is throwing out all the scary things, celiacs, lactose intolerance, crohns, heck, brain tumours!

I'm sure this coming doctor will test for all sorts of things but in the meantime, does anyone have any ideas? I'm now thinking a food allergy of some sort, I'm even leaning towards the antibiotics we gave her might have upset her stomach flora and be causing this, even though I have her probiotics religiously at the time, but I just don't know. After tonight, I'm going to give her an even blander diet and see if that helps.

What's going on with my eyes?

Tue, 23 May 2017 06:35:38 -0800

YANMD, and I've got an appointment but in the meantime: Why are my eyes very swollen, but not red, not painful, not crusty, not itchy, etc. My vision (which isn't great to start with) doesn't seem any different. So what could cause my eyes to be very swollen like someone punched me, but with no other symptoms? I had a cold or light flu about 10 days ago, and I definitely have had trouble completely getting rid of the stuffy nose part. It's about a 2 on a scale of 1-10, occasionally flaring up to an 8.

But the end of my cold also coincided with warmer weather, which may have triggered my very, very light adult-onset allergies. I categorize my allergies as a 2 on a scale of 1-10, which means that though I go through periods of nasal stuffiness, it never rises to the level of taking any kind of medication. In most years, it's just something I notice, shrug about, and then move on.

So I don't know if my stuffy nose is about a lingering cold, or just allergies.

Back to my eyes: they're definitely getting a bit worse each day (which is why I finally made a doc appointment). One friend had told me to wash my eyelids with special "eyelid wash wipes" from the drugstore. Tried that for the last couple of days, without any difference.

Googling about swollen eyes only shows me problems that always come along with pain, crustiness, weeping, etc.


Alternatives to Claritin

Sun, 09 Apr 2017 21:48:36 -0800

My eyes are burning and tearing and spasming, which I am pretty sure is due to seasonal allergies. I do not want to take Claritin/Loratadine, as during the two weeks I was just taking it, I noticed I was uncharacteristically impatient and irritated at everyone and everything. Other ideas, especially from people who had a bad reaction to Loratadine? I wear contacts lenses, which also makes eyedrops a problem, I think?

Should I get a cat? A question from the formerly (?) cat-averse

Sun, 12 Mar 2017 17:55:26 -0800

I've never ever wanted a cat until about a month ago, but now I can't stop thinking about it. My husband likes them, my kid adores them, and I'm pretty sure I'm allergic. Should we try fostering a cat to see how it goes? Or just take the plunge? I am distrusting my cat interest because it seems ridiculously like my earlier urge to get pregnant: hormonal and illogical. But we aren't having more kids, I just love the idea of my cat-smitten 4 year old growing up with a little feline creature, and I think it would make our home feel more complete. I'm willing to take Claritin/eye drops and vacuum more, but I've never had a cat before and don't know how much grossness I'm willing to sign up for (my kid is potty trained, and I have enjoyed the last few relatively poop-free years). What should I know about cats as someone who previously distrusted them and generally never saw the point of having one?

I know the standard metafilter answer to the "should I get a cat?" question is "yes, and you should get two of them." But I haven't read about cat-related changes of heart, so please let me know if I should let this wave of cat craving crest and subside.

(We stopped by the humane society today to see how our kid would do, and I can't tell if the itchiness in my eyes and throat are due to large quantities of cats and/or multitudes of bunnies - it was bunny socialization afternoon. But the kid was so happy.)

Need help finding the guilty ingredient in a body wash.

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:14:10 -0800

My little girl tried Trader Joe's Formula No. 3 "All For One, One For All" shampoo/conditioner/body wash last night. Almost immediately, her skin started itching. Can you help me narrow down the suspect ingredients? Ingredients can be seen in the image on Amazon.

She also gets contact dermatitis from plastic, but not fabric, bandages. Because she tested negative for a latex allergy, we're guessing it's the adhesive.

Prepare for pollen season

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 07:16:52 -0800

In Atlanta, the trees vomit pollen all spring. How do I avoid severe allergic reactions? I am allergic to pollen. In Atlanta, everything is coated with a thin film of yellow pollen starting in March. It coats cars and everything outdoors; somehow, it got all over my floor last year. How do I keep my home and myself as pollen-free as possible? What steps can I take in advance?

Allergies - Help!

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 12:39:38 -0800

Since last year I have allergies, probably to some sort of tree or pollen because they play up in spring and autumn. I've had a number of blood tests that have ruled out several allergens but haven't yet zeroed in on the one(s) causing the problem. I take antihistimines, a nasal steroid spray and I have an inhaler for when they flare up but I still feel crappy all the time. The antihistimines make me tired, even the new kind but sometimes I have to take one to get through the day. Even when I don't take them I feel pretty lousy all the time when the allergies are flaring up.

Fellow allergy sufferers, please share with me your tricks and tips for surviving!
(I have a dog but have been tested and he is not the cause.)

Gifted iPhone 5 reeks of cig smoke -- what to do?

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 21:56:11 -0800

What it says above -- I was recently given a free, older iPhone 5 and the previous owner was a smoker. I'm not crazy about the phone, but it was a thoughtful gift; however, the phone reeks of cigarette smoke. And I'm allergic. I've only had it a day and just holding the phone for a few minutes sets off sneezing fits, my bag now smells of smoke, my hands. Any ideas to rid the phone of the smell of cigarette smoke?
Put it in a bag of rice?
Some other absorbent substance that will not ruin the phone?

I'm not a sensitive snowflake, but this could really keep me from using this phone and the person who gave it to me sees me daily (and sees me using it to call an Uber, so it's not like I can hide another phone).

I don't want to hurt his feelings, but I can't use this phone if it continues
to smell of smoke. :(

Help, please!

Can I take beef jerky on a cruise?

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 07:32:03 -0800

That's pretty much the question. I'm going on a Caribbean cruise in a couple of days and have run recently into some food allergy issues. I'm pretty sure I can find something to eat most places most days without running into the five or six things I'm sensitive to (and I'm taking my epi pen), but just in case I wanted to take a little bit of beef jerky along maybe some nuts. Is the cruise going to say hell no or customs or something? I have it sealed from the store it's not like it's homemade.

For my next trip, I will be visiting Iron Mountain!

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 11:40:54 -0800

Hey MeFi! I have travel coming up in January to Iron Mountain, Michigan. I am a special snowflake while traveling and thus somewhat nervous about smaller cities, and this seems to be the smallest that work has ever sent me to by a lot. Please help me enjoy Iron Mountain! Details below the fold. I will be in Iron Mountain for about 24 hours. I will have a car. I have not booked a place to stay yet and if anyone has recommendations for places to stay or to avoid, that would be great.

Other stuff:

Food. I am a vegetarian with gluten and soy allergies. I need to be able to ask questions about what's in anything I eat. I do well with tacos, Indian food, and little hippie cafes. A quick yelp search did not leave me optimistic. Are there restaurants there that will be safe for me, or should I plan to hit a grocery store and cook? Where is a good local grocery store?

Tea. Is there a good place to get a cup of tea? Local is awesome, Starbucks or Caribou is fine.

Environs: what's cool to check out in January in Iron Mountain for a person who doesn't move around easily? Any museums or local art stuff? Should I know anything about social attitudes in the town or larger area? I am from the upper midwest and have lived in the northeast, so I know to be careful about winter. Are there moose in the area, or other wildlife concerns?

The Post Nasal Drip Blues

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 09:31:02 -0800

YANMD. Every year without fail, by late fall/early winter, I develop post nasal drip. It quickly leads to a sore throat and then weeks of laryngitis. Prescription and OTC drugs aren't helping. Once the post nasal drip (hereafter PND) turns into laryngitis, the laryngitis lasts for weeks. This is particularly tough on me as my job requires me to be on the phone for hours a day (email and non-phone work is not an option; I'm not seeking advice on how to cope with this at work- just advice on how to prevent or better treat the PND symptoms.)

I've seen my doctor about the PND several times, and after trying Nasonex and a few other nasal sprays and allergies meds, their advice is along the lines of 'shrug' or 'it is what it is'.

- Neti pots and other nasal irrigation tools, used sparingly, don't help me. It seems to provide about twenty minutes of relief and then we're back where we started, if not worse.

- Likewise, I haven't gotten much help from nasal sprays like Nasonex.

- When I see the first sign of PND, I start to avoid food and beverage that may worsen it. This includes anything that is acidic or a diuretic (coffee, tea, alcohol), high fat foods, dairy. It doesn't seem to lessen the symptoms but I'm assuming it prevents them from getting any worse.

- One year I used Zinc supplements to try to 'fight it off' and it seemed to keep it at bay, but then my friend pointed out that it clearly wasn't going away and I needed to just let it run its course. So I did and it was probably the worst sore throat I ever had.

- Lortadine (Claritin) is the med that has come closest to helping.

I am otherwise healthy (no sleep apnea, asthma, or other respiratory issues), get regular deep sleep seven hours a night, drink 2-4 liters of water a day depending on my activity level and sodium consumption, and get regular exercise. During the winter, I exercise indoors and not out in the cold. We have a dehumidifer at my current place that keeps it at 45-50% humidity. Any less than that and I get a dry cough. High humidity has been known to trigger my migraines.

Are there non-pharmaceutical solutions I could be using to prevent or better alleviate PND?
Other points I should be discussing with my doctor?
Reasons I may be prone to PND?
What has helped you with this?

Seeking short term solutions to second hand smoke from 24hr chain smoker

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 04:25:48 -0800

My new neighbors are chain smokers who smoke right outside my bedroom windows. The weather in our neighborhood has been especially nice lately, so they're out on their patio more often to smoke multiple cigarettes over an hour. The second hand smoke is really affecting me now. I have a super important interview on Tuesday. What can I do to reduce the earache, cough, and dry eyes caused by the smoke? Heavy duty air filters have been running in my room and elsewhere since Friday. Earache and cough started the same day after I opened my window to get fresh air and instead treated myself to a sizeable dose of smoke that had drifted up to my room from my neighbors' patio. (4 people were chain smoking out there that morning and afternoon.) DayQuil helps a lot during the day, but NyQuil isn't working its magic so I can sleep at night without waking up to cough or put a damp washcloth over my eyes to stop the itching. Right now I've been up since 2am because they came back outside to smoke around the same time. Keeping my windows tightly shut doesn't stem the flow of smoke at all, and Benadryl/Zyrtec aren't doing much either..

I can't address the chain smoking with the neighbors or our HOA for a while because of Reasons. Obviously things have to change asap. However, the more pressing issue is that I have an interview this week that is the most important interview ever, and I can't miss it.

How do I cope in the interim so I can go to my interview (whether it's still on Tuesday or moved to another day this week) and not be totally inundated by sleeplessness/shortness of breath due to this new and very disruptive addition to my life? Is it inhaler time? I have 20 hours ish to try and mitigate my symptoms and I know that's stupid but it is what it is. :(

Thanks for your help and/or commiseration.

Itch attacks are taking over. Help me figure this out!

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:41:08 -0800

Please help me figure out what's causing incessant itching and how to control it. Several times a week, I experience intense itchiness on my body. Typically this occurs on my back, front, and legs.

Possible triggers: I notice that itching will often be triggered when I expose my skin to air; in the past, cold winter air would give me itchy welts on my cheeks, thighs, and bottom. This hasn't happened recently, but now the itch attacks occur when getting undressed in the evening, for example, when my skin is exposed for a minute or two.

Sometimes the itching will begin when I'm fully dressed, though. Usually my back is the first to start itching and then it spreads. My skin gets red with small bumps during this. It's almost a painful feeling. It feels like my body is on fire sometimes.

Photos of my skin during these attacks:





I'm allergic to dust, some types of mold, several trees, and furry pets. I have asthma. I'm on long term steroids for asthma, and temporarily on beta blockers for a thyroid issue. I haven't found an allergy pill that does a whole lot for these allergies.

This issue has typically been worse in winter (Minnesota winters, so very cold) but I've had countless itch attacks this past summer. Itching in general has been an on-and-off issue for many years. The only thing that brings relief is rubbing myself all over with one of those dry brushes meant for exfoliation. A derm once recommended a dry skin oil based body wash and a thick cream after. It helped some but he problem persists. Anyone have experience with this?

Help me buy the right deodorant for a sensitive, but powerful* person

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 19:53:17 -0800

I seem to be allergic to antiperspirants, but regular deodorant isn't strong enough to stop my powerful aura. What do similarly, uh, endowed people with sensitive skin do to be less of a nose-burden on the people around them? I used antiperspirant as a teenager but would get weird pains in my arm pits. I've used regular Old Spice for probably the better part of a decade, but I smelled like someone's dad at best, and by the end of the day I'd have kind of a funk going. Nothing so bad that I think I was emptying the office, but you know, if you notice yourself smelling bad, other people do too.

When I ran out of dad-oderant a couple weeks ago I finally gave in and bought antiperspirant. It was wonderful. No smell. I could even wear the same shirt two days in a row. (I mean, you know, theoretically.) But man did it make me itchy. Horribly itchy. Enough that I would wake up itchy in the middle of the night.

I've stopped using it and have been using my reserve deodorant, which is unfortunately (unfortunate for everyone involved) a natural brand that is supposed to work by the power of tea tree oil, but doesn't.

What can I do to firmly neutralize my BO without causing a really unpleasant allergic reaction?

Please help with aggravating medical issue

Wed, 06 Jul 2016 18:49:16 -0800

I have been having a headache-y/migraine-y, sinus-y, fatique-y issue for awhile and am feeling stuck. This is going to be long because I want to be sure to cover everything. Everything has truly been thrown at the wall below. First of all, it's hard for me to know exactly how often I experience these issues because sometimes they are so much my normal that I'm not necessarily aware of them until I stop and think, no, this doesn't feel right. The issues have also kind of snuck up on me to the point where I'm not really sure when they began. But, this morning/today I had a really concrete 'episode' that at least provides a good example of what I'm dealing with. In the middle of last night and/or this early morning, I woke up with a terrible headache. Unfortunately, because I was just awakened from sleep and was in pain, I didn't take care to note where the pain was located (this is something I've never been smart about, but I have now started a headache journal). I managed to get back to sleep. In the morning, when my alarm went off, I found it incredibly, incredibly difficult to wake up and get out of bed. In fact, I slept on and off through the alarm for about an hour. Throughout today I have felt fatigued, nauseous, dizzy and headachey but have not actually vomited today or ever from a headache. I have felt stupid, like my head is stuffed with cotton or something, and have trouble focusing mentally and with my eyes. I feel like I have a bad hangover but didn't have anything to drink last night (I drink very little in general, maybe 1 drink a week). My face also frequently gets hot when I'm feeling like this and I am also prone to getting hot ears. This morning I took some ibuprofen after breakfast, which I think helped take some edge off the headache but it's still been there all day, sort of 'rolling' through my head. By that I mean that my headache doesn't just stick in one place, but that, for example, my head kind of throbs in my forehead area, then sort of squeezes at the temples, then pinches in pain around my eyes, and then will hurt in the back of my head, etc. Not that these things can't all happen at once, but the pain definitely isn't just concentrated in one place. It will kind of act up in different spots. I have some type of nose-clogging issue and I reliably have pain and sensitivity between my eyes and along my eyebrow area. Within the last 3 months I was tested for allergies and had a CAT scan of my sinuses. No allergies were found and the CAT scan showed that my sinuses were clear. No polyps, and only a very slightly deviated septum. I can usually breathe ok through my nose as a whole, but when I plug one nostril the breathing through the other is definitely obstructed. I was diagnosed with vasomotor rhinitis, or nonallergic rhinitis. I was given a steroidal nasal spray and that works pretty well for the nasal obstruction as long as I'm using it regularly. It doesn't really seem to help with the pain around the eyes, though. I also sometimes get real, full-blown migraines, or at the very least aura. They are almost always preceded by physical exertion and are perhaps caused by dehydration, hunger, and/or not breathing well during exercise. Typically I will workout (CrossFit, but it's happened after a trip to the climbing gym and a long hike, as well) and then the aura will hit within the hour. It starts as a funky spot in my vision that expands out to crazy vibrating squiggly lines. After a half hour or so it subsides and then pain a[...]

Should She Be Playing with Me? (And More Newbie Dog Questions)

Wed, 18 May 2016 17:36:54 -0800

This is my dog and I have some dumb questions. I had dumb questions in this post too, but now I have more of them. Since the last post, I decided to adopt Huggy. I have mixed feelings about this, not because I don't love her (I do), but because when I see how social she is I can see she would be better off in a family. She's a wonderful dog and loves kids. However, the rescue group and I talked about it and because of her age, size and health issues she is basically never going to find a home-- let alone one with kids. This is Hong Kong reality. So she's stuck with me.

1. Play
She is the best behaved dog ever ever ever-- chews nothing, barks at nothing, destroys nothing. She also doesn't play with toys (probably was never used to them). She cuddles with me, but the only play she seems to like is to run and sprint in the dog park. She really likes to run.

Except she does like to play sometimes, I have discovered. With big men. She plays with big male visitors and with random big men in the street. (I am a smallish woman.)

Should I be worried she doesn't play with me? She cuddles with me and is very attentive to me, but it worries me that I'm making her boredom living alone even more boring by not knowing how to get her to play. (I live alone and work full time, but I have a dog walker who comes during the day and she's walked at least four times a day and is never home alone for longer than 5 hours.)

2. Scratching
Is there a way to deter a dog from (minor) scratching? I discovered that the granddaughter of my neighbors was teasing her through the door while I was gone, and she got in the habit of reacting by scratching the wall and floor near the door. I've spoken to the neighbor and the teasing has stopped, but she still scratches if she hears the girl in the hallway. I've put scratchguard film and a rug on the floor, and I suppose I can repair the walls when I move out, but is there anything which dogs don't like which would keep her from scratching?

3. Anallergenic food
My dog is itchy, and the anallergenic food is helping, but she also has arthritis and she is not losing weight any more on this food. She was losing weight nicely on the Merrick duck food. Any thoughts or tips? If you've given your dog this food, how long did you keep them on it?

The mysterious case of the non-allergic allergies

Thu, 05 May 2016 18:29:43 -0800

I have had "allergies" my entire life that seemed to culminate in a gasping cough last year, which sent me to an allergist (among other doctors), which found that I don't have allergies. All of the testing was negative. Except I frequently get bouts of what seems like severe allergies--nonstop sneezing, nonstop headaches, exhaustion, bad post-nasal drop--and nothing helps. Now it's worse than ever and I don't know what to do. Last year I saw an allergist, a GI, an ENT, and a speech pathologist, who all ran a gauntlet of tests that were mostly negative except a few key ones, which showed LPR. I definitely have acid reflux--ph test showed backflow of liquids, I get heartburn frequently, I regurgitate my food, and my LES is loose (confirmed by manometry). My throat and tonsils are also chronically inflamed, which my ENT found, who has me taking Omeprazole and Ranitidine twice a day to manage it. Suddenly, though, it's worse. I'm suddenly getting these awful "allergy" attacks indoors where my eyes water like crazy, my nose runs, I sneeze nonstop and basically become dysfunctional until I either remove myself from wherever I am or load up on decongestants, which doesn't get rid of it but brings it to a manageable level. Before, my throat would feel scratchy when I was tired--now, in the mornings and at night, it hurts. It woke me up one night. It generally clears up during the day but it always starts to hurt again. I'm always raspy, but now I'm a lot MORE raspy. I'm getting headaches. I constantly need to clear the gunk out of my throat, and I'm exhausted. I feel sick. I haven't been exercising because I start my day feeling pooped out. It gets better as I wake up and get moving, but it doesn't fully go away. I've been on All of the Allergy Meds Ever for basically my whole life. They've never worked very well. It's hard to tell if they make any difference at all. My nasal passage is absolutely, constantly inflamed and nothing makes it better. I plan on starting Zyrtec again and taking it religiously. I was also thinking of asking the doctor for a prescription for Flonase. I do have a deviated septum. My tonsils are also chronically swollen and basically look horribly diseased--they're constantly varicose and pussy and swollen, but ENT won't take them out because I'm not being bombarded by cases of strep. The doctors have basically thrown their hands up and told me to keep taking my PPIs/H2 blocker and to avoid tomatoes. Allergist insisted that allergies are impossible and this is "behavioral". GI insists that nothing is physically wrong. ENT is better--he thinks the problem is real, but only told me to take my meds and have my throat checked once a year. PCP seems baffled. I feel like, if I go back, they'll blame the LPR, maybe suggest I try a nasal spray, and then blow it off as non-allergic rhinitis if none of that works. Meanwhile, my throat really hurts and I'm very tired and I just want to feel okay. I'm working through a university medical center so these are supposed to be the experts, the good ones. Is this 2nd opinion territory? I'm moving Far Far Away in three months and I don't want to descend into another medical rabbit hole, but I'll at least see someone if I need to. I live in Western New York, for what it's worth. My diet has not changed. YANAD/MD etc. Any ideas of what it could be (YES you are not a professional, I'll obviously run this by a doctor)? What would you do?[...]

New Windows, Allergy and Noise Edition

Tue, 19 Apr 2016 21:50:26 -0800

Have any of you noticed an improvement in your allergy symptoms after installing new windows? We have single-pain windows now, from the 70s, and I have an asthma attack every time my neighbor mows his lawn. Would new windows help that much? Do they also help with the noise? Would I maybe go an entire day without hearing my neighbors' yippy, untrained dogs? Is it worth it just for that? I couldn't care less about improving the property's value or getting it nice for sale, I want to know if these improvements will help with my here and now, before I shell out $4000.00 for double pane windows. I need the bad air and noise out so badly that I don't want to get my hopes up to high and be devastated after I go through the mess and cost. Do replacing crummy windows really help that much?