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Patient Education

Stock photo of a cat and dog snuggling together indoors.Don’t let allergies bog you down.

Read up the latest in Allergy and Immunology news from our trusted resources below:

Pets:

The only way to reduce a cat allergy is to remove cats from the home. Once removed, it can take six-12 months to eliminate the allergen from the various home aspects (carpets, furniture, etc.). Washing the cat, and taking aggressive measures, such as removing carpets, increasing air filtration measures, vacuuming with a HEPA filter can help to reduce cat allergen levels as well.

Pets can cause direct and indirect allergic problems, both from the dander, saliva, and from pollen accumulated on the fur. Allergic adults and children should not pet, hug, or kiss their pets because of the allergens on the animal’s fur or saliva. If the family is unwilling to remove the pet from the home, we recommend keeping the pet out of the patient’s bedroom, and if possible, outdoors, to reduce reactions to the pet.

GERD Prevention:

People with GERD should first try lifestyle and dietary changes. In one study, 44% of patients who experienced symptoms of GERD reported improvement after changing their diet. Some suggestions are to avoid or reduce the consumption of:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint

*Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee increase acid secretion. All carbonated drinks increase the symptoms of GERD.

Lifestyle Changes:

Several lifestyle changes can contribute to reduction in GERD symptoms. those include:

  • Avoid chewing gum & hard candy.
  • Cease smoking.
  • Decrease in fatty foods.
  • Eat small, frequent meals four-five times a day.
  • Elevate your upper body.
  • Limiting consumption of chocolate, citrus fruits, coffee, garlic, onions, peppermint and tomatoes.
  • Limit use of aspirin, ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Weight reduction.

Weight Reduction: Obesity increases pressure on the abdomen and stomach which can increase pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter and cause reflux.

Smoking: Smoking increases GERD symptoms. It decreases lower esophageal pressure and increases salivary secretion.

Fatty Foods: The relationship between dietary fat and GERD is unclear. Dietary fat is thought to delay emptying of stomach. Reducing dietary fat is important for health in general and part of an overall strategy to reduce GERD symptoms.

Irritating Foods/Beverages: Foods that might aggravate GERD include: chocolate, citrus fruits, coffee, garlic, onions, peppermint and tomatoes. Reactions vary considerably. Monitor reactions to specific foods.

Meal Size & Frequency: Avoid eating large meals which can stimulate sensors that affect lower esophageal sphincter relaxation. Eat smaller meals more frequently, perhaps four or five times a day. Do not eat for at least two-three hours before bedtime.

Upper Body Elevation: Use gravity to help keep stomach contents out of the esophagus. Elevate the upper portion of the body including the head, at least six inches, by raising the head of the bed frame with telephone books, foam, or wood blocks. Do not raise the head only, as it may increase pressure on the stomach. Elevate the entire upper body throughout the night; this can produce remarkable relief for GERD sufferers. Also try to lie on the right side to exert less pressure on the esophageal sphincter.

Limit Aspirin, Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs inhibit formation of prostaglandins, thus promoting reflux. Prostaglandins inhibit gastric secretions and stimulate mucus secretion and minimize effects of acid reflux.

Avoid Chewing Gum & Hard Candy: Chewing gum and hard candy increase the amount of swallowed air and can lead to belching and reflux.

Medications:

Antacids, H2 blockers, proton pump inhibitors.

Resources:

Today’s Pollen Count

American Academy of Allergy & Immunology

American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology

The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network | FAAN

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

American Lung Association

Immune Deficiency Foundation

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

National Jewish Medical & Research Center