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American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology dispels fall allergy myths

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 25 million adults and children across the country were diagnosed with rhinitis, or hay fever, within the last 12 months, which may lead many to believe they’ve caught an early-season cold.

“Many people mistake their seasonal symptoms for a cold instead of rhinitis due to several allergy myths,” stated allergist Stanley Fineman — president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology  in a release issued earlier this week. “Knowing the truth about allergies and how to prevent flare-ups can mean having a comfortable, symptom-free hay fever season.”

The allergists at ACAAI have compiled the following myths and facts about hay fever season to help those with allergies:

Myth: I’m miserable all hay fever season, but there’s nothing I can do except suffer through it.

Truth: There are many treatments available to ease your symptoms, including over-the-counter and prescription nasal sprays, medications and allergy shots, also called immunotherapy. There also are new treatments on the horizon, including one for asthma triggered by ragweed allergies, ACAAI reported. In the meantime, track your allergy symptoms with MyNasalAllergyJournal.org and visit your allergist to find relief.

Myth: I’ve never had a problem with hay fever, so I must be sneezy and stuffy because of a cold.

Truth: Anyone can develop an allergy, including ragweed, later in life. Scientists think it may be you’ve always had the allergy, but it might have taken exposure to another allergen to trigger your symptoms. If symptoms are persistent, lasting more than two weeks, you probably have allergies. Colds evolve, usually starting with a stuffy nose, throat irritation and low-grade fever. Common allergy symptoms include itchy eyes and nose, as well as sneezing, but the mucus is typically clear.

Myth: I should start taking my hay fever medication at the first sneeze and stop at the first frost.

Truth: Ragweed usually blooms around mid-August — a little later in the South — but it’s best to stay ahead of the itching, sneezing, drippy nose and wheezing and begin taking medication before symptoms start. The misery can linger until the end of the season, so wait until a few weeks after the first frost to stop taking medication.

Myth: My hay fever and pet allergies have nothing to do with each other.

Truth: If you are allergic to ragweed and your dog or cat, you may be even more miserable during hay fever season. People with ragweed allergies who also are allergic to cats or dogs develop symptoms faster and more severely, according to a study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Best bet? Treat pet allergies year-round to help make hay fever more manageable. Your allergist might prescribe allergy shots.

Myth: Hay fever makes me sneeze and sniffle, but my tingly, itchy mouth must be caused by something else.

Truth: Actually, many people who are allergic to ragweed have oral allergy syndrome, also called pollen-food allergy syndrome. It means your body is having an allergic reaction to the proteins that are similar in ragweed pollen and certain fruits, vegetables and nuts — such as banana, cucumber, melons, zucchini and sunflower seeds. It’s quite common, and it is rarely serious. Usually it only causes an itchy tingly mouth, throat or lips. But sometimes it can cause a stomach ache and very rarely a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. In the event of an emergency, seek medical attention. Follow up with your allergist, who might prescribe epinephrine.


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Debra Crew elevated to PepsiCo Americas Beverages president

BY Allison Cerra

PURCHASE, N.Y. — The president of PepsiCo’s Western Europe business has been given a new role.

The company said Debra Crew has been named president of PepsiCo Americas Beverages and will oversee PepsiCo’s Gatorade and Tropicana business in North America, its Latin America Beverages business, as well as the company’s North America warehouse sales organization and Beverage Growth Ventures Group. She will report to PepsiCo Americas Beverages CEO Al Carey and be based in Chicago. Sarah Robb O’Hagan, who had served as president of Gatorade, is leaving PepsiCo to pursue other opportunities.

"Debra is a highly respected executive within PepsiCo and I’m delighted to have her move into this critically important role," PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi said. "She brings strong leadership and diverse experience across multiple food and beverage categories to her new position and will be a driver of continued growth across the businesses she’ll be overseeing."

Crew joined PepsiCo in April 2010 as president of PepsiCo’s Western Europe business, based in Geneva.

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Walmart plows forward in Q2

BY DSN STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — A fourth consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth at Walmart’s U.S. business helped the company achieve a slightly better than expected profit performance.

Walmart said second-quarter earnings grew 8.3% to $1.18 per share, one cent better than the consensus estimate of analysts and at the top of the company’s forecast range of $1.13 to $1.18 per share. Total company sales increased 4.5% to $113.5 billion, and net income increased 5.7% to slightly more than $4 billion. The key driver of the improved performance was continued strength of the Walmart U.S. business, where same-store sales increased 2.2% within the company’s guidance range that called for an increase of 1% to 3%.

"I’m really pleased with the continued momentum we see in our Walmart U.S. stores, and this now marks three consecutive quarters of positive comp traffic and four quarters of positive comp sales," Wal-Mart Stores president and CEO Mike Duke said. "There’s such a clear focus among the leadership team to drive the strategy of broad assortment and price leadership. We continue to win back customers and attract new ones. We will not let up on our passion to reduce operating expenses so that we can invest in lower prices. This is the promise that our customers expect from Walmart and what drives greater loyalty."

Sales at U.S. stores grew 3.8% to $67.4 billion, while operating profits increased 5.3% to $5.25 billion.

"Customers are responding to our continued focus on providing the right assortment at everyday low prices," Walmart U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon said. "During the quarter, our average comp traffic increase was equal to serving on average, 80,000 additional customers every day of the 13-week period."

At Sam’s Club, sales increased 3.8% to $14.2 billion and same-store sales, excluding fuel, increased 4.2%, on top of a prior-year increase of 5%. Operating profits grew at a much faster pace, advancing 10.1% to $536 million.

"We believe that the improvements in our quality and overall merchandise offerings are key to driving these results," Sam’s Club president and CEO Rosalind Brewer said. "In fact, member engagement scores continue to achieve record levels. We’re also investing in price to deliver greater value on top of these quality improvements."

Buoyed by a solid second-quarter showing, Walmart increased by a penny and narrowed its full year profit forecast to a range of $4.83 to $4.93 per share from a prior range of $4.72 to $4.92 per share.

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