MEGA RAGWEED Season is Near
By Clifford Bassett FoxNews.com
If you believe your summer and fall allergies are actually getting worse, you are probably correct. For a quick explanation, good old global warming and overproduction of greenhouse gases may be the cause. More than 40 million allergy sufferers in the U.S. have seasonal and year-round allergies. Studies show that plant pollen production such as ragweed (season starts mid-August) and spring tree pollens go way up as a result of exposure to carbon dioxide, a major contributor in greenhouse gases.
Data from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology show that one ragweed plant can produce 1 billion pesky pollen grains that wreak misery to those sufferers. So if you magnify this number by two to four times you have a “mega-pollen burst”! Pollens grains may also travel up to 400 miles leaving almost no location untouched.
Be prepared and develop a sound survival plan_
• Pre-treat with your prescribed allergy medications before exposure
• Keep windows closed – this will reduce indoor pollen levels
• Use the air conditioner unit – place on “do not recirculate”
• Avoid certain foods that may aggravate those (about one-third of sufferers) with ragweed allergy such as bananas, melons, cucumbers, zucchini, chamomile tea, sunflower seeds and even echinacea
• Shower nightly to remove excess pollen that accumulates in your hair, skin and eyelids
• Take your summer vacation to an area where pollen levels are typically lower, such as a beach or lake
• Consider moving outdoor activities or exercise indoors during high pollen times of the day, generally between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (even more so on “windy” days)
• Check out your local pollen count at www.aaaai.org/nab
Global warming and greenhouse gases are here to stay, so sufferers let’s make ourselves better prepared in living successfully with our less allergy friendly environment.
Child Food Allergy Hospitalizations Rise 265%….
…and severe peanut butter allergy tripled since 1997. Now lawmakers are taking steps to make sure teachers watch out for allergic reactions at school as diligently as parents do at home. According to the CDC, there are just a handful of foods that cause 90% of all of the food allergy reactions. Among those, eggs, peanuts and other nuts, milk and fish. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) reports, the number of children with severe allergic reactions to peanut butter alone has tripled since 1997. In response, various State lawmakers are now beginning to require schools to adopt some form of safety protocol for caring for children with food allergies including such measures as maintaining so-called ‘Epi Pens’ which enable administration of the drug epinephrine to counteract severe anaphylaxis.
Vaccine Potency Affected By Sleep
As moms have always known, a good night’s sleep is crucial to good health — now a new study (published in the journal “SLEEP”) shows that poor sleep can reduce the effectiveness of vaccines and that sleep duration is directly tied to vaccine immune response.
“With the emergence of our 24-hour lifestyle, longer working hours, and the rise in the use of technology, chronic sleep deprivation has become a way of life for many Americans,” said lead author Aric Prather, PhD, a clinical health psychologist at UCSF and UC Berkeley.
In addition to poor memory performance, research has shown that poor sleep can also make one susceptible to illnesses such as upper respiratory infections. To explore whether sleep duration, sleep efficiency, and sleep quality would impact immune processes important in the protection against infection, the researchers investigated the antibody response to hepatitis B vaccinations on adults in good health.
The study involved 125 people (70 women, 55 men) between the ages of 40 and 60. All were nonsmokers in relatively good health, and all lived in Pennsylvania – the study was conducted at the University of Pittsburgh. Each participant was administered the standard three-dose hepatitis B vaccine; the first and second dose were administered a month apart, followed by a booster dose at six months.
The researchers – stressed that sleep plays an important role in the regulation of the immune system – found that people who slept fewer than six hours on average per night were far less likely to mount antibody responses to the vaccine and thus were far more likely (11.5 times) to be unprotected by the vaccine than people who slept more than seven hours on average. Sleep quality did not affect response to vaccinations.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours sleep a night. (For tips on a better night’s sleep, see: http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/tips_for_a_better_nights_sleep/index.html)
Veterinarians Treating A Large Number Of Dogs For Seasonal Allergies
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. ( http://www.kshb.com/dpp/lifestyle) – The mild winter weather we experienced might have allowed more outside playtime for your dog, but many are paying for it now. Veterinarians report a rough allergy season for our four-legged friends.
At Nall Hills Animal Hospital in Overland Park, they have treated a steady stream of dogs for allergies. Just like humans, vets say these spring allergies leave dogs extremely uncomfortable.
“The signs they would look for are chewing the paws, maybe scratching the ears, or the dog shaking their head because they’re itchy,” Dr. Melissa Minor said.
If left untreated, all of that scratching can lead to skin infections. The doctor’s orders? Much like humans.
“So many times, they need to be on antibiotics and maybe some topical treatments to help them with the infection,” Minor said.
Dr. Minor says usually an antihistamine like Benadryl will do the trick. In severe cases, she might prescribe a steroid like Prednisone.