A Letter to the Editor of Self.com – “STILL Sneezing” Article Criticism

 In Allergy, Blog

still-sneezingHello Self.com Editor and author of June 2nd article “STILL Sneezing? Five Tips to Help You Survive This Never-ending Allergy Season,” Amy Schlinger,

I am a board-certified allergy/immunology specialist practicing in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  This article has come to my attention and I have decided to post some comments to keep the record straight.

This article gives a few pieces of good advice, some pieces of unsupportable advice, and promotes some false statements.  In sum, I advise anyone interested in finding out more about allergies to find a BOARD-CERTIFIED Allergy/Immunology specialist to identify their allergens and outline a personalized treatment plan.

I have to take issue with some of Dr. Bennet’s opening statements.  She is proclaimed as an “allergy specialist” and yet she makes false comments in the beginning of this article.  The article declares that “Seasonal allergies are present all year round.”  That’s just not true.  Seasonal allergies occur during their seasons and perennial allergies occur all year round.  Perennial allergies include animal danders, dust mite, cockroach and mold spores.  Dr. Bennet goes on to recommend outside exercise in the morning because, “Things tend to be most calm in the morning.”  Again, this is a false statement.  Pollens peak in the early morning hours and this has been well documented for many different pollen grains in multiple parts of the country.

  1. There is no evidence to support her “anti-synthetic” clothing sentiments.  I advise my patients to dress comfortably for your outdoor activities and consider taking a shower after hikes or working in the garden to wash off pollens and debris.  In some cases a saline sinus rinse may be helpful as well.
  2. Yes, the “refresh” button in your car may be useful.  However, the filter is not going to keep all pollen out.  In Colorado we recommend this during wildfire season as well.   However, the act of getting in and out of the care will rapidly undo all the hard work that your A/C is trying to accomplish.
  3.  Clothes in a plastic bag!  Seriously!  That sounds really smelly and with a little time could certainly promote a musty smell and even mold growth.  As for washing your work out clothes… I agree.
  4. Glasses over contacts… sure, why not?  Some people have allergic conjunctivitis, aka itchy watery eyes associated with allergen exposures.   There are effective prescription and over the counter eyedrops that can help, but don’t use the medications while your contacts are in. As well, there are some allergic conditions of the eye that are associated with sensitivity to the contact lens material, not necessarily pollens and debris.  See a board certified allergist to help identify if you are allergic to pollens, danders, dust and mold.
  5. Eye cleaning with a salt water solution:  Ummm, yeah, sure go for it I guess.   I would not use the bottled water she indicates in her video.  I would use distilled water.  In the video it looks like it made her eye red and irritated so I would be careful to get the concentration of salt/water correct.  A more simple solution could be to splash cold water on your face or to try a cold compress (I like a bag of frozen peas) on the face, across the eyes.
  6. Yes, HEPA filters will filter the air in your environment.  It is critical that you focus on a single area like the bedroom and keep the windows shut.  For those without central A/C this can be a tough recommendation.

Finally, Please check out our website www.aacos.com for the truth about allergies.  Seek out your local board-certified allergist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Sincerest Regards,

Daniel F. Soteres, MD MPH, Board Certified Allergy/Immunology

(To read to full SELF article, click HERE.)

Recommended Posts