We turn this month's famous allergy sufferer spotlight onto a few of our presidents who have suffered from severe hay fever. So who were our allergic presidents?
- Theodore Roosevelt (26th president, 1901-1909)
- Calvin Coolidge (30th president, 1923-1929)
- John F. Kennedy (35th president, 1961-1963)
- Bill Clinton (42nd president, 1993-2001)
Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is among the most general and common types of allergies. In fact, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAI), 10%-30% of adults and 40% of children in the United States suffer from allergic rhinitis. This percentage equals almost 60 million people.
Hay fever is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Red, itchy eyes
- Itchy nose and throat
- Trouble sleeping
Symptoms are caused by exposure to airborne allergens. When an allergy sufferer encounters an allergen such as dust mites, pollen, pet dander, or mold, the immune system produces antibodies against it, even though it is actually harmless. Specifically, the antibody is immunoglobulin E, or IgE. When IgE comes into contact with its corresponding antigen, histamine is released. The histamines effect on organs and cells triggers allergy symptoms.
One of the best ways to combat the allergic response is to avoid offending allergens in the first place. A commitment to minimizing allergen exposure is known as environmental control of allergens. More and more allergy sufferers are implementing an allergen avoidance regimen to find relief from their symptoms.
Some allergens are easier to avoid than others. For instance, it may be reasonable to mostly avoid pet dander by not owning pets and rarely visiting the homes of individuals who do have them (though this might be a less-than-desirable circumstance). When it comes to allergens like dust and pollen, more dedicated efforts must be made.
Here are three basic and crucial steps in beginning your own allergen avoidance routine:
Its difficult to know how the above mentioned presidents coped with their allergic rhinitis, but its comforting for allergy sufferers of today to know that not only are there allergy treatment options available, but there are effective and non-invasive options such as environmental control of allergens. To learn more, see the Beginners Guide to Environmental Control of Allergens.