Why am I dealing with these allergies?
September 1, 2011 12:51 PM   Subscribe

Why are my allergies flaring up, and why does it react differently between food and fuzz?

I've just found recently that some Thai food makes my nose run almost uncontrollably. There may or may not be sneezing, but there is a lot of runny snot. There are no other symptoms and the running stops not long after I've left the restaurant. The trouble is, this doesn't kick in every time, nor is it exclusive to genuine Thai food. The Thai Pie at Old Chicago triggers my nose just as bad. Tom Yum noodle soup the other day set me off terribly. At the same time, plenty of other Thai food doesn't set me off including extremely spicy curries that leave me sweating. I'm completely baffled since Old Chicago shouldn't set me off if it were any sort of fish sauce. I've never had any problem with spicy food and still eat tear-jerking dishes without trouble. The two dishes I'm 100% certain on are the Tom Yum noodle soup and the Thai Pie, which seem to have virtually nothing in common.

I have moved into a new apartment about two years ago, although these issues haven't really shown up until the past year. I did have a few respiratory issues as a child, but these were mostly caused by family cats. I do find that if I sleep with a fuzzy blanket, I also tend to wake up dry and possibly needing to cough up phlegm which becomes very difficult since my throat is so dry. Drinking 96+ ounces of water/Gatorade in a day helps some, but it's not always enough.

It's inconvenient and irritating, yet it doesn't show any signs of being serious. I'm not particularly keen on seeing a doctor unless this really is potentially serious, as my schedule makes seeing him a full day off ordeal not to mention any expensive tests are not welcome. I take Zyrtec on a daily basis but it's not as effective as it once was. Allegra-D helps a fair bit, but once I take decongestants for more than a few days, stopping for even a day results in a miserable blowback. My doctor tried me on Nasonex for a week and it works quite well, but I'm terrified that it will have the same decongestant "addiction" problems.

The worst part? I'm not even sure these two are related, but they sure seem to be. Am I overlooking anything here, should I just bounce around on new OTC stuff in the hopes it will work for a while, should I go in for a doctor visit and hope something works out after all, or am I overlooking a serious threat that I should schedule a doctor's visit for now?
posted by Saydur to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have struggled with various allergies my whole life and have been on virtually every allergy med out there. I ended up with some nasty sinus problems as a result of stuff either not doing the trick, or fixing the allergy symptoms but really drying me out. This past spring I was prescribed a nose spray and that really helped my allergy symptoms but I was afraid that it was aggravating the sinus thing. What has worked most recently for my allergies AND the sinus thing is...(and a year ago you would have had to hold a gun to my head to get me to try this)...

....the Neti pot. Seriously, give it a try. You do a saline rinse with warm water, and yes, it feels like you're drowning at first but after a few uses and seeing all the gunk that comes out, it's almost something that kind of feels good (I can't even believe I'm typing that considering how horrified I've always been at the the thought of putting water UP my nose). The needing to cough up phlegm thing you're describing could be post-nasal drip, and it addresses that too. I always wake up feeling congested with weird gunk that I can't "hawk" up, and the Neti pot just flushes that all out.

Can't recommend this enough, especially if you are trying to avoid the pharmaceutical route.
posted by lovableiago at 12:59 PM on September 1, 2011

I'm not a doctor, but I don't believe that Nasonex (a corticosteroid) is able to produce a rebound effect.

Alternatively, have you tried 10 mg Zyrtec (cetirizine) about 12 hours apart? I have done this at times when my allergy symptoms are worse than usual and found that it helps greatly. I am not sure whether this dose is a good idea long-term, but a doctor or probably pharmacist should be able to advise you on that.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 2:46 PM on September 1, 2011

Response by poster: I was afraid of that. Any form of nose blowing tends to inflame my nostrils, and the Neti pot is probably best to clear that stuff out. It doesn't exactly solve the odd runny nose allergy to Thai food, but that's just something I'm going to have to live with.
posted by Saydur at 8:16 AM on September 30, 2011

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