Some studies suggest that those who suffer from allergies are less prone to cancer than their hay-fever-free friends. The mysterious connection between the immune system and cancer could help researchers fight the disease.
When you sneeze, allergens and carcinogens are expelled from the tissues, possibly protecting the body’s cells from harmful mutation.
Since the 1950s, scientists have drawn three conclusions about the relation between allergies and cancer: Compared with people who don’t have allergies, allergy sufferers have (1) a higher risk of cancer, (2) a lower risk of cancer and (3) the same risk of cancer.
The allergic potential of pollens is greater than we could have imagined.
There are pollens — and there are pollens, as scientists from across Europe discovered while investigating the allergic potential of pollens from the three main triggers of hay fever in Europe: birch, grass and olive. Different people can have very different allergic reactions to a particular type of pollen, however, and as the Hialine study researchers have now found, the allergenicity of the pollens also varies. Depending on the time of year and region, the pollens produce different quantities of protein compounds. These are ultimately responsible for the allergic immune reaction.
Up until now, the only way to ascertain how seriously patients will be affected is by measuring the airborne pollen concentration. However, this method gives very little indication of how aggressive the pollens are. Read more about the intensity of certain pollens.
Sneezing isn’t the only concern, with ticks and mosquitoes already active.
While unseasonably warm weather delights many people, those with allergies may not be as thrilled with the early arrival of spring. Arriving along with those beautiful blooms is plenty of pollen that has hay-fever sufferers sneezing at least a few weeks sooner than normal. And, in some areas, not only is the season starting early, but the pollen counts are breaking records. Several days ago, Atlanta’s pollen count reading was 9,369 particles of pollen per cubic meter, which is 55 percent higher than the old record high set in 1999. Normally, anything above 1,500 is considered high in the Atlanta area, according to the American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (ACAAI).
And, humans aren’t the only ones enjoying the warmer weather. Ticks and mosquitoes that are normally dormant at this time of the year are already active, according to Richard Ostfeld, a senior scientist with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y.
Click to read more about how weather effects allergies.
Expect this allergy season to be one of the worst. Here are 8 unconventional coping strategies:
Spring has sprung—but it’s not all cherry blossoms and tulips. Thanks to an unusually mild winter, allergy season has blown in ahead of schedule, and is expected to last up to a month longer than usual. It’s also going to spell extra-itchy eyes and stuffy noses for sufferers. “People who [have] allergies are going to be in worse shape than usual,” says Joseph Leija, an allergist at Loyola University Health System’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, Ill. “Even people who don’t usually have problems are already sneezing.”
Here’s a spring allergy survival guide, with eight unconventional strategies to get you through it:
1. Don’t stop to smell the flowers. Yes, they’re pretty, but sniffing a daffodil or tulip could aggravate your symptoms. Fragrances and pollen from star jasmine, narcissus, gardenia, and lily of the valley are most likely to make you sneeze.
Where are the worst places to live for allergies?
The third time is said to be the charm. But it’s doubtful the allergy sufferers in Knoxville find it charming that for a third consecutive year their East Tennessee city has earned the No. 1 spot on the list of the worst places to live with spring allergies.
Several factors are considered when ranking each of the 100 largest metro areas, including pollen scores, number of allergy medicines used per patient, and the number of board-certified allergists per patient.
To top the list, Knoxville had “worse than average” pollen counts as well as utilization rates for allergy medications. But it received an “average” score on its number of allergy specialists available to treat patients with allergy-related symptoms, from runny noses and frequent sneezing to watery eyes and sinus congestion.
Allergy season is upon us! Do you know how to treat your allergies? Global warming means bad news for allergy sufferers, but here’s how to find relief:
Shoveling buckets of snow while sweat freezes to you probably isn’t most people’s idea of a good time. Which means this mild winter may have warm weather lovers feeling positively chipper. But there’s a catch: The mild temperatures come with an earlier allergy season—one that promises to be a doozy for the country’s 35 million seasonal allergy sufferers.
While it’s not really shocking that the growing global trend of earlier spring means earlier allergies, what is surprising is that symptoms are getting more intense. What can you do?
Allergy-Proof Your Yard
“Blame it on what we call the priming effect,” says Dr. Fineman. Here’s how it works: An unseasonable warm front means that an allergic person is exposed to pollen and will have an initial reaction (achoo!). Then the temperature drops along with the pollen counts for a week or two (phew). But then the weather warms again, releasing more pollen, and the allergy sufferer—who’s already been primed the first time around—will have an even worse reaction (ugh).
Symptoms of food allergies
“The question that makes parents of severely food-allergic kids lose the most sleep: how will they know when their child is experiencing what could be a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction.
Note: STOP right here if you are reading this because you believe that your child is experiencing a severe reaction. Step away from the computer and follow your doctor’s emergency instructions (such as administering the EpiPen and calling 911.)
OK–so back to the question. This is a wonderful thing to discuss with your doctor because symptoms vary depending on the person. If your child has experienced only “mild” reactions in the past, be sure to get very clear details from your allergist about what to look for.
If you see the following symptoms, it may indicate a food allergy reaction:
Itchy skin rashes (eczema, also called dermatitis)