Why do allergy medications work so well when I’m treating my cold? I get a cold the same time every year that lasts only 3 days.

Some allergy medications address the same symptoms that you experience when you have a common cold (e.g., nasal congestion, post-nasal drip) so you might get relief and feel better while taking those medications. Ultimately, a cold goes away after several days whereas allergies can linger longer.

I have been diagnosed with asthma and allergies. I’m only treated by my family practitioner. Would it be a good idea to see a specialist on a regular basis also?

It depends on how severe your asthma and allergies are and the level of care you’re getting with your family practitioner. I always recommend seeing a board-certified allergist because they are narrowly focused on allergies and can pick up on nuances in your condition to target the appropriate treatment. They also can perform allergy testing and thoroughly interpret the results to ensure you are getting a treatment tailored to your specific needs.

I have ventricular tachycardia (on beta blockers, flecainide) what OTC allergy medicine will avoid rapid heartbeat?

It is very important to speak with your doctor so that you can get a medication that does not interfere with anything else you might be taking or that takes into account any other conditions you might have.

I suffer horribly from dust allergies. Are dust mites live creatures?

Yes, dust mites are living organisms and are very much a part of our environment. There’s nothing we can do to get rid of them completely, but you can protect yourself from exposure. Consider protecting your mattresses with allergen encasings, washing your bedsheets in hot water every week, making sure your bedroom is carpet free, minimizing the amounts of upholstery and curtains and wiping down hard surfaces regularly.

Can allergens trigger asthma symptoms? Sometimes when walking outside, I experience breathing difficulty after 10 or 15 minutes of walking. After coming back inside symptoms subside after a short time.

Absolutely! Asthma flare-ups or attacks are often a side-effect of springtime allergies and walking outside on a high pollen day can trigger asthma symptoms. It’s important that you see a doctor who can treat your asthma with proper medication. I recommend my patients take their “as-needed” inhaler 15 to 30 minutes before going outside or coming into contact with a trigger, along with the medications they are directed to take daily.

What can I take for night time nasal congestion? I get congested then I’m sleeping with my mouth open then I snore.

A: There are great over-the-counter options including Xyzal® Allergy 24HR and Nasacort® Allergy 24HR. Xyzal® Allergy 24HR is an antihistamine that provides relief of sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes and itchy nose or throat. It provides all night and all day allergy relief that can help you get a better night’s sleep and be more productive during the day. Nasacort® Allergy 24HR provides 24-hour relief of sneezing, itchy runny nose and congestion. It does this by blocking the body’s responses to allergens and reducing inflammation in the nasal passages.

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