Monthly Archives: September 2017

Why Have an Allergy Skin Test?

Millions of American suffer from various forms of allergies. At different times of the year our allergies can get stirred-up and make life uncomfortable for us and even those who live around us. If your allergies are severe enough it may be necessary for you to make an appointment with your physician. If you what your actually allergic too has never been identified than the doctor may chose to perform an allergy skin test. Allergy skin test can be used for people of all ages including infants. During a skin test areas of the persons skin is exposed to various allergens to determine which ones cause a reaction on the skin. The doctor at that time will likely want to know about your family history concerning allergies. The information gathered by your doctor will help them to better determine what coarse of action will best treat your symptoms.

The only risks associated with allergy skin testing is that it is likely for the tested areas to turn red, with itchy swollen bumps. These bumps often disappear after a few hours, but can linger for a few days. A mild cortisone cream can be used to relieve the discomfort.

Be prepared to inform your doctor of any genetic history of allergies, and any other medical concerns that you may have that will help them to determine your treatment plan. They may through medical history and physical examination be able to determine the trigger or cause for you’re allergies. Making sure your doctor knows of what medications you are on whether prescribed or over the counter is other vital information that must be gathered. Most medications are out the body within days so they may ask you to prevent from taking some medications to see if your problems begin to clear up and improve.

There is no need to become upset or apprehensive about the skin testing procedure. It normally will take place in a doctor’s office and be performed by a nurse. The doctor then will interpret the results. The three major test types include:

Puncture or percutaneous test

Intradermal or intracutanious test

Patch epicutaneous test

Some test detect for immediate reactions and other will test for reactions over several days.
These test are not painful and are rather quickly administered. If a reaction is noted by an irritated area of skin the information is recorded and used to determine which form of treatment would be best.

So if what you have been taking over the counter is not adequately dealing with your allergies a allergy skin test may be needed to better pin point what is causing the reaction, and how to treat it.

Source: mayoclinic.com

Is Goat Cheese a Dairy Product?

There are many similarities between goat’s milk and cow’s milk, but there are also some differences that may be important to people with dairy-related dietary restrictions. The similarities mean that most kinds of cheese made with cow’s milk can also be made with goat’s milk. The differences mean that some people with lactose intolerance, dairy allergy, or other dietary considerations may be able to eat goat cheese. Is goat cheese dairy? Keep reading to find out.

Definition of “Dairy”

A dairy product is generally considered to be anything made of the milk of an animal. Because goat cheese is made of goat’s milk, it is technically a dairy product. However, most people who want to know if goat cheese is dairy are really wondering if it has the same properties as other cheeses, made from cow’s milk, that they are unable to eat.

Lactose Intolerance, Dairy Allergy, and Goat Cheese

Lactose intolerance and dairy allergy are two different beasts. If you are lactose intolerant, you are unable to consume products made with cow’s milk because you have trouble digesting lactose, or milk sugar. If you have a milk or dairy allergy, you are unable to consume these same products because your immune system reacts negatively to milk proteins (caseins and/or whey).

Because goat’s milk and cow’s milk have different lactose and protein contents, people with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies may be able to consume products made of goat’s milk even though they are unable to consume products made of cow’s milk.

Amount of Lactose in Goat’s Milk vs. Cow’s Milk

Is goat cheese lactose free? No. But it might contain less lactose than cheese made of cow’s milk, so it may be easier to tolerate for some people.

According to the Dairy Research and Information Center (DRINC) at the University of California in Davis, the concentration of lactose in goat’s milk is usually lower than in cow’s milk. The DRINC also points out, however, that inconsistent methods of measuring lactose levels in goat milk create some uncertainty. Also, different goat breeds and even different animals within the same breed may produce milk with varying lactose levels. Still, the average amount of lactose in goat’s milk is generally reported to be slightly lower than what’s in cow’s milk.

Milk Proteins in Goat’s Milk vs. Cow’s Milk

All milk contains several different kinds of proteins, but no two mammal species produce milk with the same combination and concentration of proteins. Because a person may be allergic to one or more of the proteins in cow’s milk, that same person may or may not encounter the same problem with goat’s milk.

According to the DRINC, there are some similarities and some key differences between the proteins contained in goat’s and cow’s milk. The proteins in each are composed of similar amino acids, in similar amounts. Structurally, however, the proteins are quite different. Because of this structural difference, the proteins in goat’s milk may not trigger an allergic reaction, even in someone with a milk allergy.

Conclusions

Is goat cheese dairy? Yes. Goat cheese is a dairy product, and it does contain lactose and milk proteins. If you are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy, then you could potentially have the same problems with goat cheese as you do with products made of cow’s milk. However, the differences between these products might be enough to make goat cheese a good alternative for you.

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Sources:

Bruhn, John C., “Dairy Goat Milk Composition,” The Dairy Research and Information Center.

Hurley, Walter L., “Milk Composition – Proteins,” Milk Composition amp; Synthesis Resource Library.

“Lactose Intolerance,” National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, NIH.

“Milk Allergy,” KidsHealth.org.

Why I Quit My Asthma Medication

We Americans love our drugs. Be they over-the-counter or prescription, we pop pills constantly, filling our bodies with chemical brews in hope of alleviating what ails us. At age 24 I decided to cease the last of my asthma medications, albuterol and Singulair, and become pharm-free. While this is, of course, not an option for many users of prescription drugs, I found that I prefer handling my exercise-induced asthma naturally instead of through the use of inhaled or ingested medication.

A doctor once told me that I could build up a tolerance of running, though at the time I was skeptical. I was a teenager and hated running. I could only run a little bit before my airways began to close up. By the time I was sixteen I had had several major asthma attacks. When I began running for exercise as a teen I loathed any suggestion that I try to run for longer distances. I could make perhaps a third of a mile before my asthma symptoms began to kick in.

After my sophomore year of college, by which time I was a regular runner, my asthma symptoms began to decrease. By the time I was 24 I was still taking albuterol before every run…but one day decided to abstain from the stuff.

And I did just fine.

I never went back. I was no longer on any medication, over-the-counter or prescription. The only tablet I took was a daily multivitamin.

Two years later I have no ill-effects from ceasing asthma medication, though a brisk run on a cold day will still restrict my airways.

I put up with the occasional tightness in my chest and the sniffles in my nose because I prefer them to a taking a cornucopia of pharmaceuticals.

According to researchers today, Americans are on more drugs than ever before. Pregnant women are taking record-amounts of medication, and children and seniors are also consuming more prescriptions than ever before. We all have allergies, asthma, ADHD, pain, etc. We all want a pill for what ails us. And it seems normal, doesn’t it?

As a child and teenager I did not mind all the medications. Not until I was older did I suddenly have the desire to quit taking all medication entirely. Fortunately, it worked for me. I know it will not work for everyone, or even most people.

I feel better being off medication, more in control of my life. My performance is up to me, not some concoction of chemicals. I prefer the occasional sniffle to popping an antihistamine pill that may have a whole slew of unintended side-effects. With a chemical-free body I don’t have to worry about strange or unexpected mixtures creating harmful reactions or worrisome behaviors.

So if you have some summer allergy sniffles, consider reaching for a box of tissues before calling the doc for a potent prescription – if you have the option, I’m sure you’ll feel better in the long run.

DISCLAIMER: I am not one of those anti-medication radicals…if I need medication, I will take it. I get an annual flu shot and am a firm believer in vaccinations and prompt medical care.

SOURCES:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110525/hl_nm/us_medications_pregnancy

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20110526/hl_time/httphealthlandtimecom20110526whychildrenandtheelderlyaresodruggeduponantipsychoticsxidrssfullhealthsciyahoo

http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20110527/hl_hsn/listsofprescriptionmedssideeffectskeepgrowingstudy

Review: Walgreen’s Children’s Wal-Dryl Allergy Medicine

My youngest daughter not only looks like me, she inherited a few other things from me as well. This includes my seasonal allergies.

For the most part, they haven’t been too terrible for her. But, recently, with the weather constantly changing (it’s been cold and rainy one day and extremely hot and sunny the next), they have been pretty bad and, when she isn’t sneezing, she’s walking around with a runny nose.

During the day, this isn’t a big deal because they still aren’t to the point where they bother her while she’s playing (though we do go through a lot of tissues). But, at night, they do keep her from sleeping. This is why we started giving her Walgreen’s Children’s Wal-Dryl Allergy Medicine.

We actually purchased this product for her a couple months ago, when she had a slight cold. Because of her age, there are very few medicines she can take and our doctor recommended Benadryl. However, there must have been a big demand for that particular medicine because it was sold out (at least at the two stores that weren’t a couple miles away) and we ended up settling for this medicine instead.

We never did use it when she was sick with that cold (the vaporizer was more than enough to help her through it. But, this problem was bad enough at night where we decided to give it a try.

I have been nothing but impressed since.

First of all, this medicine works. This is obviously the most important thing, which is why I’m mentioning it first. We only have to give her one dose of this at night and it keeps her runny nose and sneezing under control just enough to help her sleep. And, unlike some other medicines I know are out there; she doesn’t wake up groggy the next morning.

Another thing I like about this medicine is it doesn’t upset her stomach. This is important to me because we have had other (prescription) medicines for her in the past that did and that was almost as bad as the symptoms the medicine was supposed to be treating.

One of my other concerns when I purchased this product was whether or not she would like it. She’s a pretty stubborn little child at times and, if she doesn’t like the taste of the medicine, she simply will not take it. But, we have had no problems getting her to take this one.

If you are a parent who has a child with allergies, I recommend looking for this product instead of Benadryl. Not only is it cheaper, it works just as well and maybe even better.

Can an Allergy Be Hereditary?

Allergies are common in developed nations. In fact, roughly one quarter of US citizens suffer from allergies. Studies indicate that allergies can be hereditary. A child is 50 percent more likely to have allergies if one parent has them, and that probability doubles if both parents have allergies.

Hereditary allergies are not specific. A mother who is allergic to cats may pass down her allergies, but the child may not be allergic to cats specifically. Inherited allergies only mean that the child will more than likely have a low tolerance to different allergens, but they do not mean that the parent and child will share all of the same allergies.

Parents who have food allergies may want to have their children tested for different food allergies. Parents with mild allergic reactions to food can ask their doctor about giving small amounts to their child. Parents who have sever reactions, however, need to have an allergist test their child for the hereditary allergen. An allergist will be able to administer the appropriate medication if the allergy is severe.

Fortunately, most children grow out of food allergies. There is nothing you can do to fight off food allergies besides keeping your child away from the offending food. However, medical research shows that children who are breastfed are more likely to avoid hereditary food allergies. The longer that a child is breastfed, the less likely the food allergies become.

Other types of hereditary allergies such as to pets or pollen usually require immunotherapy. Allergy shots help children develop an immunity to allergens over time. They work like vaccinations, and a small amount of the allergen is injected into the body. The shots are typically given over the course of three to five years. The dosages of the shots are gradually increased so that the immune system builds up a tolerance to the substance that it perceives as a threat. Allergy shots are extremely effective in fighting the effects of hereditary allergies, and the results are believed to be lasting. Parents who invest in allergy shots may save their children from seasonal allergies in the future.

Cold or Flu? 5 Ways to Help You Decide

With the current flu epidemic underway, a lot of people are wondering how to distinguish it from the garden-variety summer cold or seasonal allergies. Although both colds and influenza are caused by viruses, they generally have a different type of symptom onset.

One of the first signs that it may be flu instead of a cold is a fever, ranging anywhere from 100F to 104F (and in some cases, typically small children, as high as 106F). Colds are typically unaccompanied by fever, or at most a low-grade one (99F to 100F).

Flu is also nearly always accompanied by body aches and muscle pain. You may feel stiff, achy and generally restless and unable to get comfortable. A cold may have you feeling tired and rundown, but generally not feeling any specific body pain.

Flu sufferers often complain of violent headaches, accompanied by pain when they move their eyes.

Of course, cold, allergy, and sinus sufferes get their share of headaches, so this is an “additional clue”.

You just feel awful. If you’ve ever had the flu before, you won’t forget it anytime soon. Yes, a cold is unpleasant, and yes, cough and nasal discharge can seem to last an eternity. But the fact of the matter is, while catching a cold is miserable, coming down with the flu is like getting hit by a truck.

As far as allergies, unless you suffer from asthma, those symptoms typically don’t extend beyond nasal discharge and itching or burning eyes. Sometimes a sore throat can result from post nasal drip, but that can often be addressed by gargling with salt water or using sore throat lozenges.

So, now that you think it might be flu, what should you do?

For everyone else’s protection, try and isolate yourself as much as possible. Don’t go to work, or school. Don’t go to confined public areas such as restaurants, movie theaters, libraries, etc. Don’t use public transportation unless absolutely necessary. Cover your nose and mouth, keep hands away from face, and wash as frequently as possible, or use hand sanitizer so you don’t spread it to everyone else. See your doctor as soon as possible; some of the new flu treatments appear to work against the new strain, especially if administered early. Only a lab test can confirm that it is indeed the current flu strain, so in the mean time it is terribly important that you take every precaution to care for yourself, as well as not spreading it to others.

Drink plenty of fluids and get as much rest as you can. Keeping lights dim, and the television and laptop turned off, can go a long way toward relieving an aching head and eyes. Saline sprays and salt water gargles can ease nasal and throat symptoms; and Mom’s chicken soup may be just the ticket for an unsettled stomach. For more information, see the links below.

Natural Low Cost Cures for Cold and Allergy Symptoms

Popping pills to control cold and allergy symptoms can be a drain on your wallet and can cause unwelcome side effects such as drowsiness. Instead of reaching for pills, look into your kitchen cabinets for some natural, effective, low cost options to control your cold and allergy symptoms.

Natural Low Cost Sore Throat Remedies

One of the more common causes of sore throats is an accumulation of bacteria in the throat from sinus drainage caused by allergies or a cold. To kill the bacteria and find hours of relief, reach for apple cider vinegar. Create a mixture of 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% water. Gargle this mixture allowing a little to drain down your throat and repeat as often as necessary for a natural remedy for your cold and allergy related sore throat.

Natural Low Cost Cough Remedies

For a cough caused by a cold or allergies, mix the juice of ½ a lemon with a hint of honey in water. Drink as often as needed to calm and sooth a cough. The acid in the lemon acts as an antibacterial agent while the honey is a germicide that helps to coat and soothe an irritated throat.

Natural Low Cost Headache Remedies

When you want some relief from a headache, boil some sliced ginger in water to make a tea. Drink at least one cup of tea, and the ginger will help reduce the swollen capillaries in the brain and relax the blood vessels. The ginger also activates natural pain relieving chemicals in your brain and helps to reverse the cold and allergy symptoms.

Natural Low Cost Upset Stomach Remedies

For an upset stomach due to a cold or allergies, the typical culprit is sinus drainage into the digestive system. Relief can be found in a cup of ginger tea. The ginger tea helps to calm a queasy stomach and aids in the elimination of the excess drainage.

Natural Low Cost Fever Remedies

While a low-grade fever is the body’s natural way of fighting off sickness, the effects of a fever can be unpleasant. To naturally lower the body’s temperature and reduce any harmful effect on the brain, soak two small towels in a mixture of warm water and vinegar. Wrap these towels around your feet and lower leg. These towels help to naturally draw the fever away from the head to the lower part of the body and eventually lower the overall body temperature.

So, next time you are feeling the effects from a cold or allergies, reach into your kitchen cupboard for some safe, yet cost effective treatment options.