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Thread: I really should be living in a plastic bubble

  1. #1
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    I really should be living in a plastic bubble

    Woohoo! I went for allergy testing yesterday and I am allergic to everything. Well, not everything-I'm not allergic to molds. I am, however, allergic to fescue, which is everywhere, and oak. Ironic, since Raleigh's nickname is The City of Oaks. Haha. Anyway, after my very cool doc declared that I was "today's winner" and "an allergist's dream" he decided to put me on shots. Thank God. In the meantime, however, he put me on Rhinocort, a corticosteroid, and Zyrtec, an antihystimine. He was really cool about telling me that if I didn't like either, to let him know, and we'd find another route. Yay! I like it when doctors care (sorry, I'm still bitter over an experience I had with my new primary care guy). Anyway, my questions three:

    Is anyone else on one or both of these drugs?
    Anyone on a nasal steroid dislike the sensation of snorting liquid into their nasal cavities?
    What side effects, if any, have you experienced, and are they "worth it (meaning, do they work really well)"?

    I ask because I am already unhappy with the nasal spray. My nose is really dry this morning, and my throat hurts. Besides that, I can't stand snorting stuff up my nose. I can't watch myself do it in the mirror-freaks me out. And will this stuff cause me to gain weight? I'd rather be a little stuffy than a little fatter than I am. I also dislike the idea of coming off of them-I know there are withdrawl symptoms. I only tried it because I am so miserable I feel like I'm dying. It's ragweed season, folks. And guess what else I'm allergic to. I have indoor allergies to, so no rest for the weary. The zyrtec maybe I can do, but my mouth is soooo dry today. Also, I slept really, really late this morning and woke up super groggy, like I'd dosed on 2 benedryl. Anyone else have grogginess with these? Doc mentioned that 10% of people do.

    Anyway, I don't usually like to take stuff until I've done some research, but I was at my wit's end. So I'm doing my research after the fact. Anyone been on shots, by the way. I start in 3 weeks and can't wait!
    "It covers your bread like a stinkyfishy tarp
    I know it isn't butter
    But I can't believe it's carp!"

    Kenny Blankenship and Vic Romano, Most Extreme Elimination Challenge

  2. #2
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    My daughter takes Zyrtec, and what I do with her is split the dosage - I give her 1 tsp 2x day instead of 2 tsp 1x, the dr. said I could, and that seems to work well to relieve her symptoms. Perhaps you could try that (she is on liquid, not sure if you have that, but that might be another thing you could try).

    A good friend uses Claritin and one of the nasal sprays very successfully. My nephew uses one of the nasal sprays that provides a "coating" (that's how my sister described it) to the inside of the nose so it is not so sensitive to the allergens in the air, but it is not a medication that is absorbed into the bloodstream (he takes other medication and must be cautious about interactions). I believe it is OTC, but I'm not sure.

    I have used nasal steroids in the past and have not had any problems or weight gain. I loved being able to get air up my nose for a change. Good luck. sally

  3. #3
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    Sorry about all your allergies!

    Well, we're a family of sneezers(that probably should have been my screen name but I love the poem much better). Anyway, my youngest was on Flovent for just over two years but it is an oral inhaler not a nasal one. I'd have to agree the thought of snorting just about gags me. No way the kid was gonna do it! You might ask him about Flovent.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  4. #4
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    I also am allergic to everything under the sun, and while I don't take allergy shots (they don't work for everyone), I'm on a combo that works great for me - Claritin (not D, just regular, once a day Claritin) and Beconase (nasal inhaler). I've also tried Rhinocort, and hated it. I'm very happy with Beconase. Unlike nasal SPRAYS, this is an inhaler, that disperses medication in the form of an aerosol, like an asthma inhaler. So you don't get a shot of liquid up your nasal cavity, which is very uncomfortable. Rhinocort also left me with a bad sore throat, from the drainage, and tasted horrible. I refused to use it and then complained when my allergies left me bed-ridden. I finally tried Beconase and have been using it successfully with my Claritin for several years.

    I haven't tried Zyrtec but I know several people who use it regularly. I figure since I have a combo that works, why mess around with it? I don't have any noticeable side effects from my combo, but if you're experiencing drowsiness from the Zyrtec, ask to try something else. My allergies are so severe, that I used to spend May-July completely miserable. Benadryl was the only thing I could use to get to sleep, but it knocked me out. I have never experienced any drowsiness with Claritin. Keep playing around until you find something that works for you. And ask your doctor for samples to get you through a month, so you don't end up buying a lot of expensive prescriptions that ultimately won't help you. Good luck!

  5. #5
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    I use Zyrtec and love it. I was on something else for awhile, can't remember, but my doc switched me to Zytec since the other wasn't controlling my symptoms well enough. My main allergies are to dust, cats and grass. Since I live in the grass seed capital of the world, I pretty much just suffer through late June to end of July.

    I take my Zyrtec in the evening so that the drowsiness is less. I have never experienced the side effects you seem to have. I would see if it was the Zyrtec or maybe just the combo or even something else. I know it takes at least 4 days for Zyrtec to clear your system. So if you are already having bad side effects I would journal them for a couple more days and then call the doc. There are lots of things you can try.

    I am taking shots but haven't been faithful enough to actually get to a maintence dosage. The shots actually do seem to help so I would definately give them a try until you hit maintence and see if they work.

    My worst symptom is my eyes. They itch, get red and are really sensitive. This is actually how I figured out I had allergies in my 20's since the eye doctor got tired of seeing me and hearing my complaints about my contacts and sent me to an allergist! (I now wear glasses ) So for this problem I use an eye antihistimine called Patanol. Works like a dream if you use it twice a day.

    I agree with aggie94 on the samples. My doctor always gives me a handful of a new prescription to try in case I don't like it. I did try Claritin D the last time I switched allergists and didn't feel like it controlled my symptoms as well as Zyrtec so switched back. I was happy I hadn't spent my money on 30 days worth!

    Good luck and remember with the shots that patience is a virtue. I should have been at a maintence dose ages ago but kept "forgetting" to go in for the shots. When my life gets busy, they drop by the wayside.

  6. #6
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    Dry mouth and sore throats are the side effects that get me every time. I've been on Claritin (didn't work), Claritin D (worked so-so, but made my mouth so dry I couldn't take it), Allegra (didn't work), and Allegra D (had a weird reaction to it). The only thing that worked was Seldane, and that was allegedly killing people, so they pulled it. Oh, benedryl works like a charm, but knocks me on my butt. I think the drowsiness may have been from the fact that I had been unable to take antihistimines for 5 days before the test, and I hadn't gotten a wink of sleep because of my allergies. So we'll see what happens tonight. Good to know that Rhinocort has caused sore throats in others, too. Thought I was just imagining it. Oh, he put me on that one because it dosn't have the rose scented perfume in it like the others (bothered me when I was on Vancenase). Do the inhalers have that awful taste?
    "It covers your bread like a stinkyfishy tarp
    I know it isn't butter
    But I can't believe it's carp!"

    Kenny Blankenship and Vic Romano, Most Extreme Elimination Challenge

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by JHolcomb
    Good to know that Rhinocort has caused sore throats in others, too. Thought I was just imagining it. Oh, he put me on that one because it dosn't have the rose scented perfume in it like the others (bothered me when I was on Vancenase). Do the inhalers have that awful taste?
    Beconase doesn't have any aftertaste, but I've been using it for a long time - could be that I've just gotten used to it, but I don't think so. It does have a slight scent (not rosey, more medicine-y) that lingers for a second in your nose, but you can't actually taste it in your mouth, which was my big complaint with Rhinocort -- that stuff is nasty. Maybe ask your doctor if he/she has a sample of Beconase (or another inhaler) that you can try. Like I said before, it definitely won't work if you don't use it, and if you're like me with the Rhinocort, you may just quit using it if you hate it so much.
    Last edited by aggie94; 09-05-2001 at 03:11 PM.

  8. #8
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    This makes me remember when I, fresh out of law school and still broke, asked the allergists if I could just be tested for a few things. They assured me that we needed to do the full battery of tests. I had little scratches turning into welts up and down both arms. My face and chest started flushing and every nurse and doctor was watching me as they went through the testing area, afraid I was going to go into shock. They gave me an antihistimine and a steroid and kept me for observation before I left. With the environmentals, I was a 4+ reaction (on their 0-4 scale) for about half of the items and reactive to everything except 2, as I recall. I didn't respond to a single food though.

    I had an ear infection while pregnant and my ENT told me he sometimes saw that sort of thing with pregnant women and theorized that the change in body chemistry had something to do with it. That got us talking and he told me not to make any changes in my allergy treatments until after the baby was born. He said he had seen a number of women who's allergies went away or changed completely after the baby was born. Well, I had complications with my first and fell completely off the shots for so long I would have had to start completely over. I decided to hold and see what happened. I haven't taken an allergy shot since.

    I occassionally take Claratin, as does my son. He also uses Flovent in an inhaler. I've noticed several medications are available in both a nasal and inhaled form, and the pediatrician told me the nasal targets general allergies better and the inhaled targets reactive airways and asthma better. That meant we had to buy a prescription inhaler instead of an OTC nasal spray. Does it make sense that one is OTC and the other not? I digress.

    Benedryl works for me, but I take about 12 mg (1/2 tablet) and am still knocked out so I can only take it at night. One son had Zyrtec, and it did make him drowsy. It is possible that if you take something regularly your body will adjust and the drowsiness will subside. You might give it several days to a week. Also, talk to your doctor about reducing the dosage if it seems to be too strong. He may be prescribing a higher dosage because you are so allergic to so many things, but a body that is reactive to allergens may also be very reactive to medications and may require less than average instead of more. That's the way it seems to work for me. Hope it gets better soon.

  9. #9
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    I developed a lot of allergies in my early 30's and it seems like there is always something here in Hawaii that is blooming, etc. that I am allergic to.

    That said, I was on Allergra and Flonase daily. One larger size dose of Allegra every morning and a double shot of Flonase in each nostril every morning also. When I was pregnant with DD, I obviously couldn't take the Allegra and the Flonase so my doctor prescribed Zyrtec. Funny thing was that it worked while I was pregnant, but not afterward! Now that we are trying to get pregnant, I'm off everything and suffering with congestion, sinus headaches and I feel sorry for poor DH at night when it seems like its at its worst. When we finally do get pregnant I'll ask the doctor if there is anything that they can SAFELY give me so I'm not miserable for nine months.

    I tried Allegra D, but it wired me up to much so I could only take it in the morning and it wore off late afternoon and I was miserable again.

    As for the dry mouth thing, I think you just get used to it. I drink more water to counteract the affect. My doctor here in Hawaii told me they wouldn't do testing until we finally stopped moving around because everywhere I went I would probably be allergic to something else. So that rules out the shots until DH retires.

    On top of the seasonal allergies (which seem to be all seasons here LOL), I have a severe allergy to cats. Itchy eyes, runny nose, hives.

    Gosh, I hope DD takes after DH (no allergies) and not me.
    "You know I was talking to my friend Desdemona the other day she
    runs this space station and bake shop down near Boomtown. She told
    me that human beings are flawed individuals. The cosmic bakers
    took us out of the oven a little too early. And that's the
    reason we're as crazy as we are and I believe it." Jimmy Buffet, Fruitcakes, 1994

  10. #10

    Cool

    I think I've taken everything every one of you have mentioned with the exception of RhinoCort. Frankly, I've had very poor results with just about every allergy medication. My husband swears by his Vancenase or Beconase-- for me it doesn't do a thing. With regard to the RhinoCort, I'm wondering-- generally when you begin using any of these sprays, there's a period of adjustment required-- usually about two weeks before you start seeing any results. Did the doctor advise you of any such thing? And though I haven't been working in the medical field for many years, I don't believe there were weight gain issues in conjunction with corticosteroid sprays.

    Part of my problem is that I tend to develop idiosyncratic reactions to things-- meaning I will react in the opposite manner most people do. Your average antihistamine (with the exception, so far, of Benedryl) wires me rather than making me drowsy; I'll actually wake up in the middle of the night with my engine running, feeling I need to do a few laps around the block. I can't take certain decongestants or anything with pseudoephedrine in it before bedtime for the same reason.

    Just recently, a doctor who was taking call for my usual MD gave me Astelin Spray. It isn't a corticosteroid, rather it's an antihistamine in a pump (and yes, it has that icky taste). But so far (keeping fingers crossed) it's the only thing which has worked for me in a long time. And very possibly it's a total bust insofar as anyone else is concerned.

    My entire testimony here is kind of a long-winded way of saying that treatment of allergies and sinus problems is often a series of trial and error. One medication everyone swears by may do nothing for you; another that absolutely no one thinks is worth a lead nickel may prove to be your miracle cure. Working with an ENT over eight years, I'd see this sort of thing happen again and again. It's frustrating.

    Let's hope that your current treatment just needs a period of settling in and that it ends up being the one that works for you!
    Last edited by Gail; 09-05-2001 at 06:52 PM.

  11. #11
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    I don't have allergies but....

    my boss has very bad allergies and was using an inhaler 2x a day, along with allergy meds. He recently started going to an acupuncturist and is seeing remarkable relief. Mind you this is not the type of man who would be known to try ancient Chinese remedies but he swears by it now. He does not use his inhaler and is down to 1 allergy med, 1 x a day.

  12. #12
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    Well, when I was little I was allergic to EVERYTHING. I was even allergic to milk (both soy and cow). I had to drink goats milk - which is GROSS - and has curds floating in it. I don't have the food allergies anymore (except the soy) but I hate milk and I blame it on that goat stuff.

    But, I still remember far to vividly my weekly trips to the allergist for shots. They may have worked - or I outgrew it. Now, I have evil seasonal allergies - and Claritin-D is my friend. Unlike most people - I don't have summer allergies - just Spring and Fall. I used to be on Seldene too - which I loved - but yeah - it was taken off the market.

    Anyway. Good luck with the allergies and the cure!

  13. #13
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    Like many of you, I've tried most of pill-form allergy meds - and found that they either didn't work, or worked but caused their own problems. I finally discovered Reactine, and while it does keep me a bit wired, I just take it in the morning and it works out okay. I use Flonase when the allergies get out of hand and despite the grossness I find it works well - no side effects.

  14. #14
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    My husband is like you -- terrible allergies that used to make him absolutely miserable. He uses Nasacort as his nasal steroid and never has seemed to have side effects from it. He also has a shot about once a week (although w/n the last year or so, he has reduced to twice a month), takes D-allergy, and also uses Seravent and Flovent inhalers.

    Sometimes it takes some time to decide which prescriptions work best. He was on Claritin at first, and that one was not effective for him. So, if you're not happy with one of your prescriptions, your doctor should be able to provide a substitute.

    The shots are what have made the biggest difference in his life -- they truly are effective. I don't know what your doctor told you, but my husband's said that eventually he would be weaned away from them. That was five years ago and, while he doesn't quite need them every week anymore, he still suffers if he misses more than 2 weeks in a row. Perhaps it is a lifetime thing, but that's OK. Because of them, we even were able to have a cat as a pet, which would have been impossible when we were first married (and couldn't afford the treatments).

    Good luck with the shots -- it will take a few weeks before you notice the impact, but you will start noticing the difference!

  15. #15
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    Don't feel too bad. Allergies at first when diagnosed can be frustrating, intimidating & you might be surprised as time goes by some of your allergies might get better. I had allergy shots for a while and decided to stop as it was not doing anything. I sort of overcame some allergies (ground pepper for ex) but some are the same mostly to some food. Therefore I try hard to read all labels and watch what I put in my mouth. When I travel I take my own pillow. I vacumn regularly since dust sends me sneezing. But...come Spring theres not much I can do. I do keep the windows close and after a walk etc outdoors I take a shower to remove excessive polen in MD. My advice to you is take it one day at a time, learn about your allergies and be careful.

  16. #16
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    Originally posted by Gail
    generally when you begin using any of these sprays, there's a period of adjustment required-- usually about two weeks before you start seeing any results. Did the doctor advise you of any such thing?
    Thanks for pointing that out, Gail. I was going to mention that but forgot. The height of our allergy season here starts in May. In the past I waited until my allergies started to get bad to take my meds. It doesn't work. I spend several miserable weeks before any relief, but I'm not sure the relief is from the meds or from the fact that allergy season is waning. Now, I start taking my meds in April, long before the season starts, and it's a preemptive thing. I rarely get any symptoms anymore, and if I do, they're only occasional sneezing or itching eyes (for which I also use Patanol or Opcon-A drops).

  17. #17
    I also use Beconase. It hasn't given me any weird side effects, and it doesn't have an offensive taste or smell. It was the only thing that got me through a bad spring allergy season (I tried Allegra, but it didn't work!).

  18. #18
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    I've also tried just about every allergy drug on the market. I've also done quite a bit of research about them, so I thought I'd pass along some additional info.

    Allegra is Seldane without the compound that was killing people (heart problems). My father-in-law was one of the people who experienced chest pain caused by Seldane. If Seldane worked for you, Allegra should as well.

    Zyrtec is the only pill specifically approved by the FDA for both indoor and outdoor allergies. That doesn't mean the others don't work for both, but the makers of Zyrtec actually did clinical trials for both. Zyrtec is known to cause drowsiness, while straight Claritin and Allegra do not.

    Several people mentioned taking Flovent. It's specifically for asthma-like symptoms and it won't help with nasal problems. Flonase is the same chemical in a nasal spray.

    Beth, Flovent and Flonase are both prescription drugs. Over the counter nasal sprays are highly ineffective after a few days. That's why your son's doctor had to give a prescription drug.

    Several people complained about the taste of Rhinocort. Are you using the aqueous (Rhinocort AQ) or non-aqueous form? I use the non-aqueous form and have never noticed a problem with taste. Perhaps the Rhinocort AQ hits your system more quickly, so you can taste it. Astelin is known for having a bad taste, but it works great if you mostly have nasal symptoms.

    One drug which has not beem mentioned is Cromolyn. I can't remember the over the counter name. I think it basically prevents your nose from being able to produce as much histamine in response to allergens. It's a nasal spray that you have to use a couple of times a day (check label). I had a pharmacist friend who highly recommended it.

    Since your allergies are severe, I would recommend reading some books about allergies. Watch out, though. There are many "cure all" books out there that have no scientific validity. WebMD has some great resources, as do the different allergy societies for doctors.

  19. #19
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    allergies stink!

    I myself don't have allergies but my dtr does and she has an asthma type reaction to kitties. All of her favorite people have kitties and so she has to choose to either stay away form their homes or suffer if she does visit them. Does anyone know of anything that works for this type of an allergy reaction? We have not been able to find anything OTC and our phys. was little to no help.

  20. #20
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    dcornelius--

    Many physicians do not take allergies or their potential treatment ver seriously. However, if she is experiencing asthma symptoms, you really need to get her to a specialist. Asthma can be a very serious (life-threatening) condition if untreated. Ask the doctor to refer you to an allergist or a pulmonary specialist.

  21. #21
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    Unhappy allergies

    Well. my kid has bad allergies/asthma and we've done these things:

    Bought a room air filtration system, takes out dust, etc.

    we have radiated heat instead of forced air ( If you have forced air line
    your registers with cheese cloth to catch some of the dust particles)

    He sleeps on a water bed instead of matress that holds in dust mites etc,
    and we change all the bedding at least once a week.

    Bathe the cats and dogs once a month in the winter, every 2 weeks in the
    summer to cut down on dander

    when its bad he takes claritin, has very little side effects and works great!
    "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish
    and you will be cleaning fish for the rest of your life"-unknown

    Sue In Marne

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