Allergies and Diabetes (Continued)
4 - Immunotherapy (Allergy shots or allergy oral drops)
Allergy shots and allergy oral drops contain small amounts of allergens. They're given on a regular schedule so that your body gets used to the allergens and no longer overreacts to them.
Both allergy shots and allergy oral drops are only used when the allergens you're sensitive to can be identified and when you can't avoid them. It takes a few months to years to finish treatment, and you may need to have treatments throughout your life.
5 - Other
Non-steroidal nasal sprays such as NasalCrom (cromolyn sodium), an OTC nasal spray, can help prevent symptoms of allergic rhinitis if used before symptoms start. This non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) needs to be used three to four times a day to be effective.
The prescription drug Singulair (montelukast sodium) is a leukotriene receptor antagonist approved to treat asthma and to help relieve symptoms of allergic rhinitis. It works by blocking substances in the body called leukotrienes. Side effects may include headache, ear infection, sore throat, and upper respiratory infection.
Some simple over-the-counter products can also help with allergy symptoms. They include:
- Salt-water solution, or saline, which is available as a nasal spray to relieve mild congestion, loosen mucus, and prevent crusting. These sprays contain no medicine.
- Artificial tears, which also contain no medicine, are available to treat itchy, watery, and red eyes.
Drug allergies are not predictable. When using any medication, especially new ones, note your body's reaction as well as your blood glucose.
Symptoms of drug allergies include:
- Anaphylaxis, or severe allergic reaction (see below)
- Hives (a less common type of rash)
- Itching of the skin or eyes (common)
- Skin rash (common)
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, or face
Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Difficulty breathing with wheeze or hoarse voice
- Fainting, lightheadedness
- Hives over different parts of the body
- Nausea, vomiting
- Rapid pulse
- Sensation of feeling the heart beat (palpitations)
Some Things to Consider
- Steriods cause elevations of blood sugar. Increased testing of blood sugar may be required to prevent high blood sugar during steroid treatment.
- Medications that cause drowsiness can mask the signs of a high or low blood sugar. So be vigilant in testing your blood glucose regularly, especially when trying a new medication.
- People with uncontrolled high blood pressure or serious heart disease shouldn't take decongestants without the direction of a health care professional.
- Read the labels. Look for ingredients known to affect blood glucose levels and note age recommendations. Some medications can be used in young children while others are not recommended at all.
Reviewed by Jason C. Baker, M.D. 06/11
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As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...