A Chronic Kidney Disease patient, Sheila Wilson wrote to KidneyBuzz.com and said, "It's almost been a year since I started Dialysis, and I have developed seasonal allergies. I get watery eyes, head congestion and sneezing. It is making me feel sicker and more miserable than ever. I've been taking an over the counter medication but it is not working. Also, I would prefer to avoid medications altogether because of possible side effects. Do you have any suggestions about what I can do?"
Researchers think nasal allergies affect about 50 million people in the United States and growing. They affect as many as 30% of adults and 40% of children, suggested the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Many with Chronic Kidney Disease, including those on Dialysis, also suffer from bad allergies during the spring. The constant sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and nasal congestion can make patients feel terrible and completely wiped out. Still, there are tips that patients can easily incorporate into their lives to improve their health outcomes.
While oral Antihistamines such as, Benadryl are commonly prescribed to Chronic Kidney Disease patients to correct allergies, they can also cause drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, stomach upset, blurred vision, or dry mouth/nose/throat. Patients should never stop taking prescribe medication without first discussing the idea with their Nephrologists. However, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients can work with their Healthcare Teams to incorporate these following allergy beating tips into their Health Plans:
1.) According to Dr. Joseph Dizon, (Department of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology at the Kaiser Permanente), "Spring allergies are almost always triggered by an increase in pollen levels." Although it’s impossible to remain indoors and completely avoid exposure to pollen, patients should try to stay indoors as much as possible in the mornings and on dry or windy days since this is when the most pollen is in the air.
2.) Try to keep the doors and windows shut as much as possible to keep pollen and other allergens out of your house. If you like the fresh air and prefer your windows open, you may consider ordering an air purifier which may help. Use air conditioning in your house and car rather than opening the windows.
3.) Get rid of all that dust and keep your home as clean as possible. Pollen tends to hide on air vents, bookshelves, and ceiling fans so pay special attention to those areas.
4.) Shower and change your clothes after going outside if possible. This will ultimately get rid of a lot of the pollen particles that you may have collected - avoiding them from being spread inside of your house. If you have a chest catheter and cannot shower, consider ordering the award-winning Dialysis Catheter Protector (click here) which protects the chest catheter from getting wet in the shower and infections.
5.) Avoid hanging laundry outside or on a clothesline to dry. Pollen can easily collect on garments left outdoors. Also, if you have rugs or carpets, vacuum at least twice a week.
6.) Avoid gardening or cutting the lawn. This is "double trouble:" Not only are you outside for a long period of time, you may be sending a lot of pollen in the air around you as you cut down your grass. This can cause your allergies to be even worse.
Unlike most complications which Chronic Kidney Disease patients must manage, the good news about allergies is that they will eventually go away. Still, if symptoms persist even after adopting these tips, then talk to your doctor who may help you find additional treatment options for your seasonal allergies. Also, if you are currently taking an Antihistamines such as Benadryl and experiencing consistent or worsening side effects, you should tell your Nephrologist or Pharmacist promptly.
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