Health Chats
Wednesday May 19, 2010, 01:00PM - 02:00PM (EST)
Cleveland Clinic
Allergy and Immunology, Respiratory Institute, Cleveland, OH
Allergic disorders affect an estimated 1 in 5 adults and children (40 to 50 million people) and are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States, according to the Allergy Report from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAI). With allergy season right around the corner, take this opportunity to chat with an expert on how you can properly manage your allergies so you can find some much-needed relief this season. Allergists in Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Allergy and Immunology have unparalleled expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of all diseases encompassed by their specialty. Their expertise and experience attracts patients from all over the world who seek a definitive diagnosis or state-of-the-art treatments, from respiratory diseases allergy problems. Dr. Pien, a Cleveland Clinic allergist will provide answers to your questions about allergies during this online chat. Lily C. Pien, MD, is Staff Attending in the Department of Allergy and Immunology in the Respiratory Institute. She is also a Faculty Development Associate for the Educational Institute at Cleveland Clinic. She is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. Her areas of expertise include allergic rhinitis, asthma and drug allergies.
Do seasonal allergies go away after a certain age and does one adapt to the pollen in your area after a certain time?
Dr. Lily Pien:
Seasonal allergies symptoms can vary from year to year depending upon the pollen counts and weather.  Allergy symptoms can vary in duration from person to person.
Hello. I am 27 and for the past 5 years I've had sniffles in the spring to one degree or another. This year I've also had digestive symptoms concurrently - soft stool, frequent & urgent BMs ( both very unusual for me as I'm usually constipated), and some nausea and stomach cramping after eating. Can pollen / tree allergies cause this?
Dr. Lily Pien:
It is helpful to determine allergies with skin testing by a board-certified allergist.  It is also helpful to keep a diary to assist in identifying triggers for symptoms that one can share with the doctor.
can anyone get allergy from cotton??
Dr. Lily Pien:
It depends upon the type of cotton exposure and what are the actual symptoms.
i have been taking allergy shots weekly for 2 yrs... the good news is that i no longer have ANY allergy symptoms but the bad news... my asthma seems to be worse than it ever was.  Why is this and do you have any suggestions as to what I should do? Should I stop getting the shots?
Dr. Lily Pien:
I am glad to hear that the allergy shots helped your allergy symptoms.  Allergy shots typically help allergic asthma symptoms as well.  I would suggest talking to your doctor and determining if your chest symptoms are related to asthma.
Would you please bring up the topic of vasomotor rhinitis; i.e.; origins, causes, symptoms and how to treat them effectively.  Greatly appreciate your response.
Dr. Lily Pien:
Vasomotor rhinitis is considered nonallergic in origin.  We believe that some individuals have more sensitive noses than others.  Symptoms can be nasal congestion and nasal drainage.  Avoidance of triggers for symptoms is helpful and some nasal sprays can be used as well.
I heard, that Chinese medicine, cures allergies. Is this true?
Dr. Lily Pien:
We do not know enough about Chinese medicines to answer this question.  Some medical centers are studying effects of medicines and alternative therapies from different countries, but we do not have definite answers currently.
My 6 year old son suffers from allergies. He had the skin test done which showed he's allergic to cats/dogs. He is currently taking Singulair at night and Flonase when needed. Also Loratidine during the day if his allergies seem very bad. Dr. said that since he suffers so often that he should try the allergy injections, does this seem like a good idea for a 6 year old? He is bothered by this allergies too much, and he needs more relief.
Dr. Lily Pien:
I am sorry to hear that your son has continued to have symptoms despite use of medications.  Is your son regularly exposed to cats and dogs?  Allergy shots are beneficial but it can be difficult to convince a young child to get injections weekly.
Do you find it helpful when patients chart their allergies using a tracker like MedHelp's Allergy Tracker?  I've found it helpful, as a patient.  I usually e-mail my allergy tracker to my allergist before my appointment.
Dr. Lily Pien:
I find it helpful when patients are able to identify triggers and describe their symptoms.  It is also helpful to know what exposures patients have had when their symptoms are better or worse.  Also if the patients have or have not taken their medications on certain days.
Dr. Lily Pien:
Communication between patients and doctors is key to helping relieve clinical symptoms.
We have just accepted our last question of the chat.
Thank you Dr. Pien for answering our questions and all the members who participated today!
Dr. Lily Pien:
Thank you for having me. I received some great questions.
Dr. Lily Pien:
If interested in making an appointment with an Allergist at Cleveland Clinic, you can request and appointment at
Dr. Lily Pien:
or you can call toll-free 800-223-2273