I have been lucky in love. This August is 34 years with my wonderful wife, Kim.  She has stayed with me and even loved me so much for so long for I know not why.  But here we are.   And, truthfully, Kim is not perfect either.  She has one big flaw: her nose.  Now, we are talking function, nor form, here.  Her nose is an attractive part of her still very beautiful face.  But Kim comes from a  family where the proper question isn’t “what are you allergic to” but rather “what aren’t you allergic to?”  If mucous was marketable Kim and I could be millionaires on her clogged, honking, snoring “shnozola.”  Now its April.  So let’s discuss allergies a bit.

A quick overview.  Our bodies sometimes recognise certain chemicals–like pollen–as “foreign” and the immune system will mount an imflammatory response to destroy that invader.  Spring pollens are generally trees and grass, fall brings ragweed and dust is pretty much year round.  The pollen stimulated response causes mast cells to release various chemicals like histamines and leukotrienes.  These chemicals cause various anatomic and physiologic changes like capillary leakage, fluid accumulation, “goblet cells”(one celled glands) to release mucous.  We experience this as stuffy nose, cough, itchy, runny eyes, swollen face, sometimes asthma symptoms. Thus “hay fever” and “allergic rhinitis.”

What can be done about this?  We will not discuss medications but shall limit this discussion to environmental and lifestyle controls.


  • Avoid tobacco smoke.
  • Cotton or nylon rugs backed with rubber.
  • Control household odors–keep lids on cooking/storage utensils, use exhaust fans, avoid use of fireplace; room deoderizers, moth balls, insect spray.
  • Regular maintenence of fireplace, heating and AC ducts.
  • Keep allergy sufferer out of house during vigorous cleaning
  • Maintain ambient humidity at 35-50% with room regulators
  • Lysol or clorox are good for mold control.
  • Child should not play in the attic, basement, or garage.
  • Pay attention to weather reports and use caution with outside play on high pollen days.
  • Consider change of clothes as soon as coming into house from outside.
  • Limit household plants.  Pets may be a problem (this is a tough one!!)

In the child’s room:

  • Limit stuffed animals.  Use washable toys when possible
  • No upholstered furniture or rugs, everythiing should be washable
  • Don’t store toys or out-of-season clothing in child’s room.
  • Keep closets clean and doors closed.
  • Heat/AC vents in child’s room should be closed or covered with 3 layers of cheesecloth fliters.
  • No pets or plants in bedroom.
  • Windows and doors fit tightly.
  • Use non-allergic pillow and high quality plastic lined pillow and mattress encasings.

There are lots of medicines that can be effective when the above does not provide symptomatic relief.  Give me a call to discuss.  Also, I invite questions or comments, and thanks for following.


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