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Author Topic: Allergies and HIV  (Read 1394 times)

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Offline motherinneed

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Allergies and HIV
« on: May 06, 2007, 07:29:58 AM »
If someone has an allergy attack, watery eyes, sneezing.. the whole thing.. does the reaction of the body's immune system become taxed? I read that someone said the common cold is a different part of the immune system so one needs not get so upset about colds.. can this be true of allergies also. My son is using that phrase again..."feeling like he has no life force" ..since he has had this allergy attack and when he says that it concerns me.  Any input will be greatly appreciated.. Oh he did say he took claritin to deal with the allergy symptoms. I apologize if I put this in the wrong section but I thought this was a good place, please move it if it fits better somewhere else.

Offline Moffie65

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Re: Allergies and HIV
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2007, 07:43:59 AM »
I cannot remember if he is on HIV medications, but if he is, you should find out if claritin has any contraindications with them.

Other than that, treat the allergies as though he were not HIV+, and you will be fine.  I do know that many of us have sinus and allergy issues that we never had before infection, but that is not a scientific observation, just a casual one.  We do adjust and get used to it at some point.

As for the cold question, I don't know anywhere that states that colds are no big deal, because in the past, before the good medications came along, I know several people who died due to severe cold attacks.  This would indicate that the immune system doesn't have compartments, but here again, no science to back it up, only years of observation.  Remember, it isn't what gets us that is the problem, it is the health of the immune system overall that determines how susceptible we are to demise.  I would say that if he keeps good health practises, then he shouldn't worry too awfully much about the colds and allergies.  The CD4 health, and viral load are the end all and be all of our knowledge of where we are with the immune system.

I sure hope this helps.

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Offline BT65

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Re: Allergies and HIV
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2007, 11:44:06 AM »
Before my daughter took allergy medication regularly, she would always get real sick and wind up with pneumonia.  After she started regular allergy meds, she never had pneumonia after that.
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Offline redhotmuslbear

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Re: Allergies and HIV
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2007, 12:42:46 PM »
If someone has an allergy attack, watery eyes, sneezing.. the whole thing.. does the reaction of the body's immune system become taxed? I read that someone said the common cold is a different part of the immune system so one needs not get so upset about colds.. can this be true of allergies also. My son is using that phrase again..."feeling like he has no life force" ..since he has had this allergy attack and when he says that it concerns me. 

The University of Virginia has a good explanation of allergies and the immune system at:
Note that lymphocytes (esp CD4s and CD8s) are not involved.  Still, the elevated production of IgE antibodies can make allergy sufferers feel like we're battling a cold, and the pressure on our immune system can make us susceptible to infections.

Having suffered with severe allergies to pollens, mold and mildew since I was a teen, I've found a few things that help immensely:

1.  Claritin is powerless next to Zyrtec.  I stock up on generic OTC forms of Zyrtec when I go to Canada (6-8 months worth for 2 months of copay here), or I order the generic form cetirizine from offshore suppliers, some of whom have it in double strength (20mg vs 10mg).  Of course, make certain there are no contraindications for using it based on other meds.

2.  Diphenhydramine (benedryl) at 25mg twice a day makes a good addition without drying me out.  It particularly helps with fluid that collects in my ears and easily develops into a nasty infection.

3.  Irrigating my sinuses morning and evening with a solution made of 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp baking soda to 3/4 cup of warm water is a must.  I keep the solution in a small sqeeze bottle with a twist-up tip and heat it briefly on low in the microwave before using.

4.  Using fluticasone (flonase) after irrigating my sinuses keeps them happy.

5.  If it seems that a bug is brewing, I don't wait to be bedridden to use antibiotics for a week to knock it down.  My ENT has worked with me enough to know I won't abuse anti-biotics, so I have open scripts for azithromycin (what's in Q-Paks) and doxycycline to use in rotation.  Roughly, I'll be off them for a week to ten days, then start the one for a week to 10 days, then off 7-10 days, then on the other.  It sounds messy, but the last time I stayed off antibiotics for two weeks or more, I developed a severe upper respiratory infection within three days

6.  Lots of liquids, limited dairy, and plenty of hot tea and soups.  Keeps me moist, keeps the mucus from thickening, and the warmth helps the ears and sinuses drain.

Lastly, stop worrying. 

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Offline thirtysomething

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Re: Allergies and HIV
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2007, 10:26:02 PM »
I'm suffering from really bad allergies for past few days and went to see my doc. He advised that I should postpone the quarterly HIV bloodwork by atleast a month. Also, I do am feeling little tired lately since my allergies kicked in (like a week now).

I agree with David. Zyrtec is the most effective drug for allergies. Claritin doesn't work on me, I don't know why.


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