Health Chats
Allergies - How to Manage and Find Relief
Tuesday May 24, 2011, 01:00PM - 02:00PM (EST)
Associate Staff Physician
Cleveland Clinic
Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, 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 here in full bloom, take this opportunity to chat with an expert on how you can properly manage your allergies and find some much-needed relief.<br><br> Allergists at Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Allergy and Immunology have unparalleled expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of all diseases encompassed by their specialty. This 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. Koelsch, a Cleveland Clinic allergist, will provide answers to your questions about allergies during this online chat.
Hi - this is a great health chat - especially now!  I live in the northeast and every year I really, or should I say REALLY suffer with allergies.  My Mom keeps telling me I should move to Arizona and I won't be bothered by them any more.  Is that true?  Thanks for your help
Rachel Koelsch, MD:
You might be OK for a few years after moving to Arizona, but allergic type people often develop allergies to the new pollens in that area in about 5-7 years after moving there. Sorry!
My teens train daily in swimming and have developed what I think is Chlorine allergy. Would you have any advice and especially natural health remedies to recommend. I am presently trying to boost their immune system with Hawaiian Noni (with aloe vera) and some other immune system boosters. But would like to know something more specific about chlorine poison, allergies etc..
Rachel Koelsch, MD:
Chlorine poisoning is a very different matter and generally shouldn't happen at the pool unless your children are dealing with chlorine gas (which they shouldn't be). It depends what your childrens' symptoms are. Skin irritation is common from the drying effect of the water and chlorine. A shower and moisturization after swimming should help. If you are talking about stuffy nose or eye redness, this is an irritant effect and not an allergy. Time and avoidance will help. So will goggles and nose plugs. I don't know anything about Hawaiian Noni, sorry. I haven't heard of any immune boosters that will help with chlorine irritation.
HI My 18 month has red rash like bumps every where on her body but her face I'm pretty sure there not chicken pox and they seem to affect her but only if some one touches them I'm really worried about what it could be please help
Rachel Koelsch, MD:
This could be a viral infection, hives, eczema. It is impossible to diagnosis this without seeing her. Take her to her pediatrician or dermatologist ASAP.
I have recently been on a cruise and spent 4 days with itchy red eyes - forgot to take my allergy tablets! Could this poss. be the air conditioning in the cabin or blocked filters! I live in Spain and am continually bothered by pine pollen, fruit trees and grasses.I thought I would be OK at sea. ' Telfast' seem to help and are non drowsy . Is there anything else I can do?
Rachel Koelsch, MD:
You can be bothered by allergies, even at sea. Pollens and mold spores can travel on the wind for many miles. I suggest you take your allergy medication with you next time. An antihistamine is very helpful. Air conditioning or poor air quality can bother your eyes and sinuses too, but I would treat your allergies before blaming this.
We just planted two Red Oak and three Live Oak trees about 8 weeks ago.  We started getting tremendous winds here in central Tx about 4 weeks ago and they haven't let up yet. I don't usually get the allergy problems but I've had it bad for the past 2-3 weeks.  I'm wondering if it is caused specifically by the Oaks or if the wind has just stirred up pollen a lot more than usual?
Rachel Koelsch, MD:
Most likely it is the wind. The windier and drier the air, the higher the pollen counts and the worse allergy symptoms you will have. Pollens travel for miles, so I would not blame your trees.
What is the bronchial thermoplasty you mentioned earlier?  What does it do that meds won't?  What is the safety and efficacy of the procedure?
Rachel Koelsch, MD:
Bronchial thermoplasty burns some of the smooth muscle cells around your breathing tubes so your lungs are not as "reactive," meaning they will spasm less and be more relaxed. You will have less asthma symptoms overall.
Is there any way I can tell if I'm allergic to something without getting an allergy test?
Rachel Koelsch, MD:
If you keep getting symptoms from something, it is a good bet you are allergic and should avoid it. For instance, if you itch and sneeze whenever you are around a cat, then you are probably allergic to it. If you think you have a food allergy, please don't eat it until you see the allergist.
I want to try and take a decongestant to see if it helps my sinuses and dizziness but the last time I took a sudafed I felt as though I had 12 cups of coffee. Horrible. Can I try a kids version or is there something else I can do? Thanks Nancy
Rachel Koelsch, MD:
Many people are very sensitive to the side effects of decongestants. You might want to try a lower dose (like half of a dose) or an antihistamine.
I am having allergy with some thing i dont know.i am having iching in eyes,throat and ear.i am having sneezing attack too.  My question is, is there any cure for this disease?  Is nutrition related to it?  What should i do to lessen my symptoms,its is irritating my eyes.
Rachel Koelsch, MD:
The only way to know for sure if you are allergic to something is to test you for specific allergies. The treatment will depend on the cause of your symptoms. Try an over the counter antihistamine or saline spray. You can also try some over the counter allergy eye drops. An allergist should be able to help you.
Thank you Dr. Koelsch for taking the time to answer our members' questions today.  We hope to be able to bring you back in the future for another chat.
Rachel Koelsch, MD:
You are very welcome. It was my pleasure to help. If anyone would like to see me or one of my colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic Allergy Department, please call 800-223-2273 or you can request an online appointment