Are You Allergic to Cigarette Smoke?

Is just one breath of smoke enough to ruin your day? As soon as the person next to you lights up, the first thing to cross your mind is the unpleasant memory of your last clash with secondhand smoke and the runny nose, sneezing, and congestion that followed. For some, the reaction to cigarette smoke closely resembles an allergic reaction, which leads them to believe that they have “smoke allergies”.

There are a lot of “smoke allergy” myths that actually make it harder to properly treat your condition. This article will help you tell if determine whether you are affected by “smoke allergies” and what you can do to better protect yourself from the illnesses associated with smoke exposure.

#1 Myth: “Allergic to Smoke”

No one is really allergic to smoke. A large number of people insist that they are allergic to smoke created by cigarettes or cigars, but the truth is that they have having an allergy-like reaction due to other health conditions. Understanding exactly why you feel like you are having allergy attack when around a smoker is the key to understanding how to prevent future symptoms.

Why do I say that there is no such thing as a smoke allergy? Because technically smoke is not an allergen – but it is an irritant. This little difference explains why most people feel no relief when they take antihistamine allergy medicine after exposure to smoke. The key to avoiding the problems caused by cigarette smoke is determining what type of sensitivity you have and how best to treat it.

Who is Prone to “Smoke Allergies”?

  • Children and Infants
  • Elderly Persons
  • People with allergy history (anyone with allergies, asthma, eczema, etc)
  • People exposed to heavy smoke for long periods of time

Sometimes people who are sensitive to tobacco smoke will also experience allergy-like symptoms when they encounter strong odors, perfumes, weather changes or temperature changes.

Symptoms of Cigarette Sensitivity

For some people, exposure to tobacco smoke can cause a list of symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Watery, burning eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Post nasal drip
  • Congestion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache

These symptoms appear shortly after exposure to cigarette smoke and last for hours afterward. In addition to these symptoms, people who are in smoky environments on a daily basis are more likely to experience constant respiratory infections like sinusitis and bronchitis as well as the development of wheezing and asthma.

Tobacco Smoke Exposure

A lit cigarette is capable of releasing over 4,000 different chemicals into the air (80 of these are known or suspected carcinogens). Sometimes avoiding situations where people are smoking is almost impossible. Often a family member will smoke indoors, or a public place like a bar or restaurant will allow smoking. Depending on the severity of your reaction, just the smell of smoke on someone’s clothing or in a room where someone had smoked can cause irritation. So, even though avoidance of tobacco smoke is the best method to prevent “smoke allergies”, it may not be a practical solution.

Two Main Types of Smoke Sensitivity

The best way to treat your “allergy” to smoke is by first identifying what sort of sensitivity you are experiencing. There are two forms of smoke sensitivity:

  • Smoke Aggravating Underlying Allergies: your body is weakened by smoke and begins reacting to all the tiny bits of pollen, dust and dander that usually would not have been a problem.
  • Vasomotor Rhinitis: this is a condition that has the exact same symptoms as allergic rhinitis (or nasal allergies), but cannot be treated by antihistamine allergy medicine.

Smoke-Aggravated Allergies:

An allergen is a small particle that is made up of proteins that the body mistakes for a dangerous intruder like a virus or other germ. Smoke contains tiny tar ash particles (you can see these particles in the form of a white cloud created by burning tobacco). But tar ash particles are not the same as a true allergen because they are not protein based, but a form of carbon.

Instead of being tagged as an allergen, smoke particles are classified as an irritant. Irritants can cause you quite a bit of discomfort, worsen illnesses like asthma and allergies, and cause other serious health problems. So, in medical terms, no one can really be allergic to smoke, but they can suffer complications to their existing allergies or other illness.

If you have allergies or allergic asthma, smoke can trigger an allergic reaction because it is putting an extra strain on your body and immune system. The speck of cat dander drifting through the air that would not have normally set off a violent reaction; but with the addition of tobacco smoke, your body can no longer handle the allergens. Asthma becomes dangerous when mixed with exposure to tobacco smoke-even deadly for some.

You are likely to experience complications to existing allergies if:

  1. You know that you are allergic to other things like pollen, pets, mold or dust mites.
  2. You have eczema or food allergies.

Treatment

  • Avoid as many situations as you can where you are exposed to smoke.
  • See an allergist to optimize your existing allergy treatment, or see if you have developed new allergies.
  • Run an air purifier to reduce the number of allergens in the air. Even a smaller, portable air filter like a home smoke eater is effective at removing allergens in guest rooms of smoking family members.

Vasomotor Rhinitis:

Vasomotor Rhinitis is a form of inflammation and irritation of the nasal area as well as the throat and eyes. Seasonal or indoor allergies are called “allergic rhinitis”. This condition is different from the allergic type because it is not caused by allergens. For this reason, Vasomotor Rhinitis is sometimes called “non-allergic rhinitis”. It causes many of the same symptoms that an allergic reaction would, but is caused by highly sensitive or excessive amounts of blood vessels in the delicate tissue of the sinus area. The symptoms you experience are trigger by your nervous system rather than allergens.

What this means is while another person may be able to tolerate cigarette smoke, a person with vasomotor rhinitis will experience a lot of discomfort with the same amount of smoke. So you are not overreacting when you complain about even small amounts of smoke – these small amounts REALLY ARE affecting you more severely than those around you.

In addition to cigarette smoke, often strong odors or weather conditions will also cause symptoms, so you may find that many aspects of your environment cause allergy-like symptoms. Some people even have allergic rhinitis and vasomotor rhinitis simultaneously.

You are likely to have vasomotor rhinitis if:

  1. You are highly sensitive to other elements like perfume, strong odors, changes in weather, changes in temperature, or even spicy foods.
  2. Walking into a slightly warmer (or cooler) room makes your nose runny or painfully stuffy.
  3. Antihistamine medications do not alleviate the symptoms.

Treatment

  • Avoid as many situations as possible where your condition might be aggravated. This includes smoke, as well as some other vasomotor rhinitis triggers like wearing perfume, burning scented candles, etc.
  • Talk to your doctor about treatment options. Some over the counter medications like oral decongestants and saline nasal sprays may offer you some relief. Some prescription medications that have been proven effective are antihistamine nasal sprays (as opposed to oral antihistamines which typically have no effect on vasomotor rhinitis), anti-drip anticholinergic nasal sprays and corticosteroid nasal sprays.
  • Limit your exposure to smoke and smoke odor as this is often the cause of many vasomotor rhinitis cases. Use an air purifier like a home smoke eater to minimize airborne pollutants.

A Note to Those with Existing Allergies:

Inhaling even small amounts of smoke over a long period of time can actually cause you to develop new allergies or even asthma. In young children, second hand tobacco smoke inhalation greatly increases the likeliness of developing allergies when they get older. If you live with a smoker, you are likely to have more cases of bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and other respiratory illnesses.

The best thing you can do for yourself make your living space a zero-tolerance smoke area. If this is not an option, you might want to consider an air purifier as an investment in your health.

Some of the symptoms of sinusitis (sinus infection) can closely resemble the vasomotor rhinitis and allergic rhinitis described in this article. Be sure to see your doctor to help you diagnose your condition if tobacco smoke has you feeling under the weather.

Remember: always be sure to talk to your doctor or allergist about your symptoms and treatment.

What You Should Know About Allergic Reactions

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system works overtime. For some people, certain substances do not agree with their body. The immune system then tries to get rid of these foreign substances from the body and in the process, the person has an allergic reaction. It could be a mild reaction or it could get severe. Some people may only react to one substance while others may react to many substances.

Major Symptoms of Allergies

The most common sign of an allergy is a runny nose along with watery eyes and itchy eyes. Usually the skin starts to itch and the person may also suffer from sneezing fits.

Different people show different symptoms when they react to allergens. For some, a rash or boils may appear on the skin. Hives are also common on the skin and these hives consist of a swollen area with a pale center. In some cases, fluids may leak from the blood vessels and cause a swelling under the skin, called Angioedema. This can lead to asthma or other breathing problems.

How to Diagnose and Treat an Allergy

An allergy is caused by an allergen. The first step is to identify this allergen. A lot of people are prone to allergies if someone else in their family also suffers from allergies. The doctor will usually ask you if anyone else in your family suffers from allergies. If you can identify the allergen that triggers their allergies, it may be easier to find the cause of your allergy.

One way to find the allergen is to figure out when the allergy comes up most often and how often it happens. For example, which season does it get the worst and does it come up only after you have consumed specific foods. Another way to find the allergen is to do a skin test. In this case, your skin is pricked with a needle. A diluted solution of different kinds extracts ranging from dust to drugs to food or pollen is then placed drop by drop on the skin. The skin will react and flare up if it is allergic to any of these substances. A person is usually told to stop all antihistamines for a specified period before the skin test is conducted.

The best way to avoid an allergic reaction is to try and avoid the allergen. It is important to stay away from foods or environmental conditions that may trigger an allergy. This is especially important for pregnant women. Antihistamines are also commonly prescribed for allergic reactions. They do not prevent the production of the histamine in the body but they block the effects.

How to Relieve Allergies and Allergic Shiners

There are many different types of allergies, and millions of people around the world suffer from the irritating and miserable symptoms each and every day. And although one in every five adults across the United States suffers from the symptoms of nasal allergies, the issue remains surprisingly under diagnosed and undertreated.

Some allergic symptoms can become so severe that they actually cause allergic shiners to appear under and around the eyes. Allergic shiners cause the areas under the eyes to swell and discolor as in the case of a black eye, or shiner.

Allergic shiners can make an individual appear as if they have just spent a round or two boxing in the ring with Mike Tyson. The discoloration and swelling is a result of allergic symptoms that cause the congestion of small blood vessels located underneath the skin in these areas. Nasal rhinitis, which is a nasal allergy, has been known to produce a combination of issues that can include shiners, swelling of the throat, watery eyes, headaches, mouth breathing, and more.

A short list of several different types of allergies includes, but is not limited to the following:

· Food allergies

· Seasonal allergies

· Nasal allergies

· Pet allergies

· Plant allergies

· Drug allergies

· Sinusitis

· Hay Fever

· Hives

· And more

How to relieve allergies:

You will find that there are several different methods used when learning how to relieve allergies; however, it is best if you can isolate the cause of your allergic symptoms so you can better determine which treatment is best for your particular case.

If your allergies are severe and preventing you from performing your everyday tasks, it is probably best that you pay a visit to an allergen specialist; they will perform a series of blood and scratch tests that can help identify the cause. The doctor or specialist can then make more suitable over-the-counter drug recommendations, administer a shot to relieve the symptoms, and offer other forms of treatment and advice.

A specialist may also administer desensitizing treatments that can help prevent or minimize future allergic reactions. Sub lingual drops placed directly beneath the tongue may also be used to desensitize and are an appropriate alternative for those who do not wish to visit a specialist or a physician on a regular basis. If a monthly visit to a physician is not an issue, you can also consider getting a monthly EPD, or Enzyme Potentiated Desensitization.

Individuals should always take into account the many factors involved when it comes to allergy symptoms. The presence and severity of a variety of allergies can be caused and affected by anything from your home environment, geographic location, pollen counts, pollen sources, and much more. Understanding how these factors affect your specific allergies will help you determine which steps to take in treating them.

Following is a list of tips and suggestions on how to relieve allergies of the most common types:

1. The first thing that you’ll want to do for how to relieve allergies is to clean and dust the entire home. Vacuum all of the carpets and drapes using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA Filter.

2. Service and replace all air filters in the home immediately and continue to do so every 30 days. This includes your heating and AC unit as well as the furnace.

3. Keep the allergens outside by closing windows and other entrances to the home. Turning the ac unit on will also help circulate the air and filter out excess pollen.

4. Determine whether antihistamines or decongestants help better for how to relieve allergies and symptoms. Decongestants should be used to bring immediate relief of symptoms by contracting the small blood vessels located under the skin under the eyes and in the membranes of the nose. On the other hand, Antihistamines are designed to block the harmful effects that histamines cause in the first place.

5. For swollen and watery eyes, try a cold press or eye cream that contains caffeine; Cold and caffeine both work to reduce swelling.

6. Try using a prescription nasal spray such as Nasonex or Flonase. These reduce swelling in the nasal passage and provide relief of irritating allergic symptoms. Many physicians will prescribe antihistamine nasal sprays when oral antihistamines are ineffective. Treating the problem directly at its source can have a much better effect than taking antihistamines orally.

7. Use an all-natural salt water rinse to clear out irritants such as pollen in the nose.

8. Use the recirculation feature on your vehicle when driving instead of opening the windows. This will reduce the amount of pollen and other irritants from entering the vehicle.

9. Try immunotherapy techniques. This works by a gradually released exposure to common allergens that are difficult to stay away from such as pollen. The objective is to train the immune system to ignore and not react to these allergens. Immunotherapy should only be used when other forms of treatment aren’t effective.

10. Try natural remedies. All-natural antihistamines can help reduce congestion, while antimicrobial herbs such as grapefruit seed extract, golden root, stinging nettle, and butterbur help prevent sinus allergies and nasal infections as well.

After learning how to relieve allergies and they continue to cause a problem, you should always take them seriously and visit your personal physician or an allergen specialist as soon as possible.

Understanding Allergic Bronchitis – Simple Prevention Tips

Millions of Americans suffer from one respiratory disorder or the other, which can impact their lives in serious ways. A respiratory disorder can be acute or chronic. Acute disorders can be easily treated and last for a short time. On the other hand, chronic disorders are not only difficult to treat but can also leave a person disabled for life.

What is Allergic Bronchitis?

Allergic bronchitis is a type of respiratory disorder. It is commonly referred to as allergic asthma. The immune system of a person suffering from allergic bronchitis is highly sensitive and so hyperactive that it attacks even harmless foreign substances that enter the body. To put it in other words, the immune system labels a harmless entrant into the body as “dangerous” and produces antibodies to fight against it.

In allergic bronchitis, irritants and allergens inflame the bronchi and lower parts of the respiratory system. The condition lasts as long as the person is exposed to the allergens. In addition, allergic bronchitis is closely associated with asthma and respiratory allergy and can lead to conditions such as hay fever and allergic rhinitis.

In most cases, allergic bronchitis causes mild to moderate suffering. However, it is important to realize that allergic bronchitis can become very dangerous and even cause death. This is because some people are extremely sensitive to allergens. This extreme sensitivity can lead to suffocation caused due to the blocking of airways by inflamed tissues. People in this condition are in great danger. They need immediate hospitalization and medical care.

You know you are a victim of allergic bronchitis when you suffer from breathlessness, runny nose, red or swollen eyes, hyperventilation, tight chest, tickling in throat, persistent sneezing or coughing, headache, nausea, and so on. As soon as you recognise these symptoms, seek the help of a medical practitioner.

Treatment of Allergic Bronchitis

The importance of consulting a physician as soon you notice symptoms of allergic bronchitis cannot be overstressed. The doctor will conduct the required steps to find out which type of allergen is responsible for your particular problem. The test involves injecting an allergen directly under the skin and observing the way your body reacts to it.

Your doctor might even ask you to see an allergist. Allergists perform a series of tests in order to understand the nature of your allergy to a particular allergen. In addition, allergists can also teach you how to prevent the relapse of allergic bronchitis.

Treating mild or moderate allergic bronchitis is fairly simple. You need plenty of knowledge about the disorder, and you also need to know the particular type of allergen responsible for your problem. Once you know, it is easy to just avoid the allergens responsible for your problem. The medical treatment for this condition is anti-histamine medication.

Prevention of Allergic Bronchitis

It is easy to manage and even prevent allergic bronchitis. As mentioned previously, the easiest way is to determine the particular allergen causing your problem and just stay away from it. In addition to this, it pays to know a few things such as the following.

The summer season can aggravate this condition simply because during the summer, there are plenty of allergens in the air.

Remember to bathe your pets regularly and free their fur from any allergens. A lot of allergens are frequently found in the fur of animals.

Take special care of yourself if you are suffering from allergic bronchitis. As already said, the condition can get dangerous.

Keep some antihistamine medication with you while traveling. You never know the type of allergens you might come across in an unfamiliar location. Having some anti-histamine with you will help you easily control any allergic reaction that might come up.

Be assured that it is possible to live a full, happy, and productive life even with allergic bronchitis. It is very important to keep yourself informed about your condition, ways of treating it, and way of preventing it. Be in touch with your allergist and your doctor. They are the best people to give you all the information you require about allergic bronchitis and to teach you how to live with the problem effectively.