Beyond Antihistamines: 5 More Allergy Meds That May Work Better for You

Part 3 in my three-part seasonal allergies series. Click here for part 1 (how allergies work). Click here for part 2 (how to choose an antihistamine). by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Have you chosen an antihistamine to try out or to store in your survival stash? Well, we’re not done yet. You may want to add an additional medication or two to your seasonal-allergies arsenal. That’s because antihistamines don’t do the trick for everyone. But there are other types of allergy medications that might. They can be used in addition to or instead of antihistamines (and each other). It’s a mix-and-match world. Just be aware that each med you take brings its own risk of side effects, interactions, and so on. Read up on precautions before diving in. […]

By | May 11th, 2015|General|1 Comment

How to Choose the Best Allergy Medicine for You

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH This time of year, allergy-medicine aisles see a steady stream of sniffling souls turning over box after box to figure out which of the million medications will give them the best relief. Despite their varied names and colorful labels, most of these boxes boast similar claims: They’ll fix your sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny nose. That’s because most of them contain one form or another of the same type of drug: an antihistamine. Antihistamines are the go-to medicine for most people with seasonal allergies. The different types of antihistamines all work in a similar way. Which type works best for you depends on a few factors, including simply which one your own unique body prefers. […]

By | May 4th, 2015|General|5 Comments

How Allergies Work

Part 1 in my seasonal allergies series. by James Hubbard, MD, MPH For some of us, the spring season is a beautiful trap. It entices us outside with such great weather but hides an unseen danger—pollen. But truth be told, it’s not the pollen that’s the trouble. It’s the body’s reaction to it. In about 30 percent of people, the immune system goes way overboard to protect them from pollen, which their bodies see as an invader. This is called an allergic reaction. There are medicines that can combat the miserable symptoms, but to understand which ones you might want to store, it helps to know how an allergic reaction works so you’ll know what you’re trying to combat. […]

By | April 27th, 2015|General|14 Comments

Why You Need to Start Allergy Treatment Early

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Sneezing You have to admit, the commercials are convincing: Your allergies are keeping you inside, virtually blocked from the outdoors. Otherwise you’re sneezing, have watery eyes, just miserable. You take a pill, and whammo, you can do what you wish. Want to roll in the grass, sniff a little ragweed? No worries. Pet a cat even if they usually make you break out in hives? No problem. Whatever you were allergic to before, you’re not anymore, as long as you take the pill. But do these allergy medicines actually work? If so, how well? And what about home remedies for allergies? Have they gone the way of the iron lung? Here’s my take. […]

By | March 24th, 2014|General|16 Comments

Video: The Best Way to Irrigate Your Sinuses (Without a Neti Pot)

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Last week, I demonstrated how to safely use a neti pot, a popular tool to clean your sinuses for allergy prevention and treatment. You just pour specially prepared water into one nostril, and it comes out the other one. But there’s an advanced sinus irrigation technique that’ll clean you out good and proper—without a neti pot. Your amazing, Roto-Rooter, nasal cleansing alternative? A cup. […]

By | May 8th, 2013|General, Videos|14 Comments

Allergies Vs. Amoebas: 2 Steps to Using a Neti Pot Safely

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH There are not many natural ways to treat or prevent nasal allergies effectively, but using a neti pot for nasal irrigation is one of them. And it’s safe. Okay, sure … a brain-eating amoeba has killed a few unfortunate people after they used contaminated tap water. And, yes, some who use the neti pot actually have more sinus infections. But … you can prevent both of those problems with two simple steps. […]

Spring Survival Quiz

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Springtime. It always reminds me of the cycle of life, rebirth, new beginnings. And, of course, it’s a time to get outside, to hike, camp, play … and spring clean. This is the first of a two-part true/false spring quiz to help you get you prepared for all of the above. In the comments, let me know how you do! […]

By | April 4th, 2013|Hot, Weather|7 Comments

8 Things That Make You Cough and What to Do About Them

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH That nagging cough just won’t go away. You’ve had it so long you don’t even notice it at times, but it drives your co-workers, friends, and spouse crazy.  Is it just an annoying habit or a symptom of a more serious problem? […]

By | October 23rd, 2012|General|13 Comments

How to Avoid a Brain-Eating Amoeba. (Is Nasal Irrigation Safe?)

Microscopic image of brain tissue infected by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri. Places it’s found include fresh water, heated swimming pools, and hydrotherapy pools, according to the CDC. by James Hubbard, MD, MPH I’ve long recommended nasal irrigation as prevention and treatment for colds and allergies. Then came the report of brain-eating amoeba. […]

By | September 20th, 2012|Infectious Disease|86 Comments

Butterbur: An Overlooked Herb for Allergies, Migraines, and Asthma

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. As I researched recent posts on bee stings, asthma, and pepper for pain, an unfamiliar herb (at least to me) kept showing up. Another thing that struck me was there were mainstream medical studies showing objective proof it worked. Many of these studies warned the findings were only preliminary and the long-term safety was not known, but still, finding a number of studies on a lesser-known herb is unusual in my experience. So I researched it further. […]

By | May 10th, 2012|General|22 Comments