The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 1006: Surviving Allergy Season

Our expert guests offer advice for surviving allergy season with allergen avoidance, medications and complementary approaches.
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Surviving Allergy Season

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Once fall begins, lots of Americans start to suffer. Up to a third of us struggle with sneezing, sniffling, congestion, itchy eyes and post-nasal drip as a result of hay fever (really ragweed pollen reaction) or other allergies.

Avoiding Allergy Triggers:

The best chance for managing allergies is to identify and avoid the triggers. But how do you come up with an avoidance plan? Learn how to keep dust mites under control in your home and which vacuum cleaners and HVAC filters are best.

Surviving Allergy Season:

We discuss antihistamines and other allergy medicines, along with allergy shots. In addition, we explore non-drug complementary approaches for surviving allergy season.

This Week’s Guests:

James Sublett, MD, is the current president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. He is a board-certified allergist and managing partner of Family Allergy and Asthma in Louisville, KY. The photo is of Dr. Sublett. His website is

Leonard Bielory, MD, is past director of the Rutgers University Asthma and Allergy Research Center and Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Ophthalmology. He is conducting research on climate change and allergic airway disease at the Rutgers Climate Institute.

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The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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How does taking probiotics help with seasonal allergies. My husband has that problem year around, takes never ending antihistamines, etc. Ive been taking probiotics for colitis couple years, started Flonase several months ago..I don’t have many days with allergies anymore, even less visiting Clearwater, Fl for couple weeks????

I found an article online a few years ago (can’t seem to find it now) about a Japanese study where they gave ragweed pollen to rats to ingest. After two weeks, there was no immunological response to inhaled ragweed pollen. I decided to use myself as a lab rat (pun intended), so I cut the blooms off of several ragweed plants last fall, and stuffed them into empty pill capsules. I froze them and took 1 per day for three weeks total. After the first week, I had very little allergies and stopped taking the pills. My allergies returned. I took the pills for two more weeks, and then stopped. No allergies during the rest of ragweed season!

I theorized long ago that the reason allergies are so prevalent in our society is because we do not eat locally grown fruits and vegetables, which would normally be covered in various types of plant pollen throughout the warmer months. Therefore, we do not gain immunity from local plant pollen.

My thyroid went haywire after I continuously used antihistamines over an extended period, so I warn against using them. I discovered that nasal spray is just as effective and does not affect the thyroid.

I have had sinus problems for 65 years and have tried all the nasal sprays and everything else the doctor prescribed short of nasal surgery. Obviously the medical community has not found an answer. The most effective thing I have found is to use a nasal wash (Neil Med) with about 1/4 teasp of salt in distilled water, followed by a nasal spray, a supplement, called ReBoost. I wish that had been available many years ago. This can be used more than once a day if needed.

How can we deal with digestive “allergies” and intolerances other than simple avoidance? (Which isn’t always so simple!)

The good doctor did a credible job covering the traditional allergy topics. Better cleaning systems/strategies to lower dust mite burdens in houses will be developed. Perhaps some of the brainy young people who won’t soon be required in investment banking can recycle themselves into productive enterprises. Bamboo fibers, now incorporated into pillows and pillow cases are reported to repel dust mites. If this effect is real, the use of bamboo and other repellants in bedding, flooring, wood trim, closet linings etc. might change the mitey environment for sensitive people as well as change the habitat for Brown Recluse spiders and Bedbugs which can exist for years solely on dust mites.

The comment about obesity being “self-selected” behavior is 97% wrong since food industry and government policy has combined to poison the majority of Americans since 1985. Overweight people have been sick for years with accumulating industrial fats and other chemicals which are inflammatory among other nasty effects. Many of these unfortunate children were born with a body burden of these molecules. The Feds. say the grocery store is safe – all I see there are hazards and tricks in labels.

Well, time to finish cooking breakfast, the bacon and sausage from my pigs (with liquid lard), peanut oil, Beignet mix, baking powder and powdered sugar will not be equaled even by Cafe Du Monde where they use unsafe vegetable oil. The only risk possibility would be RoundUp residue from preharvest spraying of the wheat in the mix or flour used. This breakfast is not fattening unless consumed in gluttonous quantity, but even then everything included can be metabolized unlike the fast food breakfasts being sold a few miles from our farm.

Wonderful commentary! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!!

For years my husband suffered with seasonal allergies until we started taking probiotics on a daily basis. No more allergies. We also use nasal spray and nettie pot at the early signs of any colds which curtails the head colds immediately.

I know people who are being told what foods they are allergic too based on blood tests. Is this possible?

Your article does not have a link to any of the pod casts, yet it says they may be streamed from this location. Would you please supply the link or however it is we are supposed to access the information?
Thank you

During a recent update of our web server our podcast for show 1006 was temporarily suspended. There is now a player on this page to listen to this show, and you can find out more about downloading all our podcasts here: Thanks for your interest!

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