And so it begins..... allergy season.

And So It Begins... Allergy Season

So, as I am cleaning my kitchen this weekend, I start laughing because I have PILES of bottles and nose spray allergy medicine.

My college-aged sons recently moved back home, so now we have allergy medicine for 5 people. My husband and I both have allergies, as does our teenage daughter too. (Yay for genetics! Oh wait...)

At our house, all 5 of us have allergies and 4 of us have asthma. And allergies and asthma go hand-in-hand.

Allergy triggers also make my asthma worse

Some of the same things that make my allergies worse can also trigger an asthma attack, such as pollen, pet dander, etc.

We will usually start sneezing and coughing. These symptoms in addition to a tight chest tends to equal an asthma attack. Sigh.

So, to minimize asthma attacks, we try to control our allergies. It's crazy that everyone in my family likes something different. We have a variety of nose sprays and pills, name brand and generic. Why so many?

Allergy medicine galore!

That's the weird thing about treating allergies, is there's no one-size-fits-all treatment.

Some people love allergy pills. For me, I can't find one that doesn't make me drowsy. So I use nose spray instead. Others HATE the thought of squirting something up their nose. Some people insist that only the name brand allergy pills or nose spray will work for them, and others feel that the generic version is just fine. You have to use what works for you.

In a Huffington Post article about generic vs name brand, they interview C. Michael White, Pharm.D., Professor and Head of Department of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Connecticut.1 When asked "So, will you always achieve the same effect with a generic as with a brand name? He says:

“Keep in mind that there is a lot of diversity among people. When they do the blood concentration studies, they do them in “average” people, but because the inactive ingredients and process of manufacturing are different, they can’t assure that everyone will achieve same blood concentrations. For example, if you have a shorter colon or disease that makes food pass through your intestines faster or slower, that might make a difference. Other people are just very sensitive to small changes in blood concentrations and notice a difference.”

So, there is a scientific reason why some people feel a difference with generic vs name brand!

Another option for treating allergies when they are REALLY bad is to have allergy shots.

Allergy testing

They can do a skin test to see what you are allergic to. Then they mix up a vial of those allergens just for you. You get tiny doses of the allergen in your shots, and slowly build up over time. It takes about 5 years.

All 3 of my kids had to have allergy shots. Of course, none of them were on the same cycle. One would qualify for shots, then 2 years later another kid would qualify. Therefore, we spent about 10 years at the asthma doctor's office, hauling all 3 kids there twice a week for shots. They all had to go, no matter who was getting shots. To quote Nacho Libre, "My life is good. Real good.'

For some people, they don't have to take allergy medicine after the 5-year cycle of allergy shots. For my kids, it just made it so allergy medicine could relieve their allergy symptoms. Before that, my daughter would sneeze 30 times in a row. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month.

Talk to your doc and see what's right for you. You may have to try a few different pills or nose sprays.

Has anyone found that treating your allergies helps your asthma?

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