Seasonal allergies? Stay away from these.

Avoiding these little things can keep you less susceptible to the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Check it out! -- Dr. Dale




11 Surprising Things That Can Make Seasonal Allergies Worse

By Rachel Swalin, Huffington Post

Who likes getting a runny nose or itchy eyes when allergies flare up? Talk to any allergy sufferer and they will agree it's never fun. Your goal is to minimize your reactions as much as possible, but you may not realize that seemingly harmless daily habits or things in your environment could make your symptoms even worse. To keep them in check this season, learn what common culprits are not your friends when it comes to allergies.

  • Produce With Pollen-Like Proteins

    If you're sneezing and sniffling, you could also have a problem eating some fruits and veggies. It's called oral-allergy syndrome (OAS), and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates up to a third of pollen allergy patients may be affected. You can blame a protein found on the surface of some raw produce, including apples, tomatoes, and cantaloupe, though each pollen allergy has its own set of trigger foods. "Pollen and food proteins are like first cousins," says Cliff Bassett, M.D., founder of Allergy and Asthma Care in New York City. "So your body thinks you're swallowing pollen." This usually leads to bothersome symptoms, like an itchy throat and mouth as well as cough. Peeling produce may help to reduce your reaction, Bassett says. Even cooking the produce may help. Just be careful -- research shows about 2 percent of people with OAS have symptoms than can progress to potentially life-threatening anaphylactic shock, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

  • Contact Lenses When the pollen counts get bad, you may want to stick to wearing your glasses. "If you trap pollen in your eyes and it stays there, you may experience more problems," says David Rosenstreich, M.D., director of Allergy and Immunology at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. Soft contact lenses especially are prone to absorbing airborne irritants, like pollen or smoke, because they're permeable. A soft lens lets more oxygen through but can absorb anything in the tears, says Steven Shanbom, M.D., a board-certified ophthalmologist out of metro Detroit. If you're set on wearing contacts and don't like hard lenses, you may want to look into disposable ones you can throw out daily to prevent pollen buildup.
  • Stress

    Stress leaves you on edge -- and more prone to sniffles. A recent study in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology tracked the stress levels of 179 people with hay fever. Over two 14-day periods, Ohio State University researchers found that 64 percent who reported higher stress levels also experienced more than four flare-ups. The good news is there's an easy solution to this allergy trigger: chill out. Whether it's meditation or getting some shut-eye, find things to help you relax so your symptoms are more bearable. "When you don't feel well and you're anxious, that's when your symptoms tend to be worse," Rosenstreich says.

  • Alcohol Ever felt stuffed-up after drinking a glass of red wine? You're not alone. Alcohol, and red wine in particular, can make allergies go haywire. "Some people are very sensitive to the sulfites, and it makes their allergies a lot worse," Rosenstreich says. These compounds occur naturally in both beer and wine. A Danish study in Clinical & Experimental Allergy found that women who had more than 14 drinks a week were 78 percent more likely to develop a perpetually stuffy nose compared to women who drank less.
  • Taking The Wrong Medications

    Walking down the allergy meds aisle at the pharmacy can prove overwhelming -- there are dozens of drugs to choose from and they all promise to cure your sniffles and sneezing. But most of them can be lumped into one of two categories: antihistamines and decongestants. The trick is knowing which over-the-counter medications will best treat your symptoms. An antihistamine typically relieves sneezing, itchiness and runny nose, while decongestants combat congestion from swollen nasal passages. Some drugstore options may come packaged with both, but you would only need to use a decongestant if your nose is stuffed up in addition to your other symptoms. If bothersome symptoms persist, that's when you should really see an allergist, Basset says.=

  • Perfume And Candles

    Anything with fragrance added can irritate the lining of the eyelids and nasal passages, says Bassett. That includes perfume, scented candles, incense and holiday decorations. Whether you're in a department store or walking down the street, it's nearly impossible to avoid every smell out there, so your best defense is to eliminate these irritants from your home and to medicate yourself to ease symptoms when you encounter them in public.

  • Chlorine

    Swimming in a chlorinated pool -- and even just sitting near one -- can be just as bad for your allergies as candles and perfume. "Chlorine is an irritating gas and will do the same thing that fumes will," Rosenstreich says. "If you can smell it, that means it's getting in your body." Indoor pools are worse than outdoor ones because the chlorine is contained to a smaller space.

  • Your Clothes That delicate wool sweater you wear three times before washing? It's terrible for your allergies. Clothes -- especially those made from rough or sticky fabrics like wool -- cling to dust and pollen. Washing after every wear is essential during allergy season, says Rosenstreich, so you'd be better off stocking up on duds made from cotton or other easily cleaned materials. You may also consider washing your wardrobe in hot water -- people who washed their clothes in 140-degree water had fewer allergens on their clothes than those who cleaned items in colder water. (No report on how much their clothes shrunk, so proceed at your own risk.)
  • Bathing In The Morning Pollen doesn't just cling to your clothes. It also sticks to skin and hair. "The tiny particles land on you like dust," Rosenstreich says. "The problem with pollen is that you can't see it in the air." If you're waking up stuffed every morning, taking a shower before bed will help wash away the allergens attaching to your body. Can't live without your morning shower? Be sure to at least shake out your hair and wash your face before you hit the hay.
  • Weather

    Your allergies are likely to be worse on dry, sunny, and windy days. Why? Because those are ideal conditions for trees to release pollen, meaning more of it will be in the air, Rosenstreich says. Combined with the wind blowing pollen all around, that makes for a bad day for allergies. Drizzly and overcast days can also be an allergy foe: Light precipitation stirs up the pollen in the air, causing it to rupture and disperse the tiny particles. Stormy days are the most friendly to allergy sufferers: The heavy rain washes the pollen out of the air, providing temporary relief.

  • Secondhand Smoke Add allergy problems to the long list of health issues associated with smoking. A study in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology looked at the effect that tobacco smoke had on individuals with ragweed allergy. Researchers found that levels of an allergen antibody IgE were 16.6 times higher in people exposed to both secondhand smoke and ragweed than those exposed to ragweed and clean air. Just like candles and perfume, smoke is an irritant that can mess with your respiratory tract, so it's best to keep your exposure to a minimum.


Friends, please read.  This is important. --Dr. Dale



Spread Of Polio Is A World Health Emergency

LONDON (AP) — For the first time ever, the World Health Organization on Monday declared the spread of polio an international public health emergency that could grow in the next few months and unravel the nearly three-decade effort to eradicate the crippling disease.

The agency described current polio outbreaks across at least 10 countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East as an "extraordinary event" that required a coordinated international response. It identified Pakistan, Syria and Cameroon as having allowed the virus to spread beyond their borders, and recommended that those three governments require citizens to obtain a certificate proving they have been vaccinated for polio before traveling abroad.

"Until it is eradicated, polio will continue to spread internationally, find and paralyze susceptible kids," Dr. Bruce Aylward, who leads WHO's polio efforts, said during a press briefing.

Critics, however, questioned whether Monday's announcement would make much of a difference, given the limits faced by governments confronting not only polio but armed insurrection and widespread poverty.

"What happens when you continue whipping a horse to go ever faster, no matter how rapidly he is already running?" said Dr. Donald A. Henderson, who led the WHO's initiative to get rid of smallpox, the only human disease ever to have been eradicated.

The WHO has never before issued an international alert on polio, a disease that usually strikes children under 5 and is most often spread through infected water. There is no specific cure, but several vaccines exist.

Experts are particularly concerned that polio is re-emerging in countries previously free of the disease, such as Syria, Somalia and Iraq, where civil war or unrest now complicates efforts to contain the virus. It is happening during the traditionally low season for the spread of polio, leaving experts worried that cases could spike as the weather becomes warmer and wetter in the coming months across the northern hemisphere.

The vast majority of new cases are in Pakistan, a country which an independent monitoring board set up by the WHO has called "a powder keg that could ignite widespread polio transmission."

Dozens of polio workers have been killed over the last two years in Pakistan, where militants accuse them of spying for the U.S. government. Those suspicions stem at least partly from the disclosure that the CIA used a Pakistani doctor to uncover Osama bin Laden's hideout by trying to get blood samples from his family under the guise of a hepatitis vaccination program. U.S. commandos killed the al-Qaida leader in May 2011 in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad.

At the end of last month, there were 68 confirmed polio cases worldwide, compared with just 24 at the same time last year. In 2013, polio reappeared in Syria, sparking fears the civil war there could ignite a wider outbreak as refugees flee to other countries across the region. The virus has also been identified in the sewage system in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, although no cases have been spotted.

In February, the WHO found that polio had also returned to Iraq, where it spread from neighboring Syria. It is also circulating in Afghanistan (where it spread from Pakistan) and Equatorial Guinea (from neighboring Cameroon) as well as Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.

Officials also worry countries torn by conflict, such as Ukraine, Sudan and the Central African Republic, are rife for polio reinfection.

Some critics say it may even be time to accept that polio may not be eradicated, since the deadline to wipe out the disease has already been missed several times. The ongoing effort costs about $1 billion a year.

"For the past two years, problems have steadily, and now rapidly mounted," Henderson said in an email. "It is becoming apparent that there are too many problems (for the polio eradication effort) to overcome, however many resources are assigned."

Henderson and others have suggested the extraordinary efforts needed for polio eradication might be better spent on other health programs, including routine vaccination programs for childhood diseases. But he conceded that transitioning to a control program would be difficult. "If not eradication, how does one accomplish a 'soft landing' which could sustain the global program on immunization?" Henderson said.

Aylward said the WHO and its partners, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aren't yet considering pushing back their latest deadline to eradicate polio by 2018.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said the reemergence and spread of polio out of Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria pose "a serious threat to our ability to eradicate polio."

"Conflicts in many areas where polio is circulating are hampering efforts to vaccinate but success remains within reach," Frieden said.

Still, the independent board monitoring the progress being made on polio has called for overhauling the program.

"Few involved in (polio eradication) can give a clear account of how decisions are made," concluded a recent report by the group. "If a billion-dollar global business missed its major goal several times, it would be inconceivable that it would not revisit and revise its organizational and decision-making structure."

Stress vs Anxiety. What's the difference??

Thank you HuffPo for another great explanation of a common misconception.   They share many of the same symptoms, yet they are both triggered differently.  If you find yourself having anxiety attacks PLEASE come see me.  There are NON-medicinal relief strategies we can talk about (Yoga), and if that doesn't work a simple prescription does the trick for many of my patients.   Don't let fear or external situations affect your daily life.  SAY GOODBYE TO STRESS AND ANXIETY.  Say HELLO to a fresh smile. I got you.

-- Dr. Dale


The Difference Between Stress And Anxiety

The Huffington Post  | by  Lindsay Holmes
Main Entry Image

It’s safe to assume that most of us have experienced stress in one form or another, whether it’s a deadline at work, a family conflict or an important decision. The constricting, chest-pressing fear can feel never ending and can put us into a state of unrest.

With stressful elements churning in our minds, it can be difficult to sort out how we’re feeling, and more importantly, whatlevel of stress we’re experiencing. It’s human nature to exaggerate, so there are many times when we claim we feel something more than we actually do. Enter (often false) statements like “This situation is giving me anxiety.” and “This whole thing is going to make me have a panic attack.”

So how can we tell when our stress is actually yielding to these conditions? David Spiegel, Stanford University’s associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, says that while the line between stress and anxiety often gets blurred, there are distinct things to be aware of -- including how these emotions affect the body and the root causes of each. Below, find five things you should know about stress, anxiety and how they really compare to each other.

Stress and anxiety share many of the same physical symptoms. stress

Whether you’re tense or suffering from something more, the stressful and anxious emotions can sometimes bring the same feelings of arousal, Spiegel says. Stressful or anxious emotions speed up our heart beatstrigger rapid breathing and cause muscle tension. The similarities taper when anxiety yields to a panic attack, which brings about more severe versions of the symptoms, including chills, headaches, hot flashes and chest pains.

The cause of acute stress is distinctly different from the cause of anxiety . stress

While there is definite overlap between stress and anxiety, Spiegel says that ultimately the two emotions come from two different places. “With stress, we know what’s worrying us but with anxiety you become less aware of what you’re anxious about [in the moment] and the reaction becomes the problem,” Spiegel explains. “You start to feel anxious about being anxious.”

A lot of anxiety can stem from fear... scared

Phobias of events, activities or social situations are all rooted in terror, causing the person suffering from the disorder to panic when they come face-to-face with that stressor, Spiegel explains. “Anxiety is like a snowball,” he says. “Anxiety converts fear into feelings and people who suffer from it tend to avoid what’s making them fearful, which can make it worse.”

Writing in The Huffington Post, clinical counselor Megan Devine details how her constant fear of the unknown left her crippled with anxiety. In order to overcome that fear, she suggests addressing the fear head-on, then taking steps from there. “Remember that calming your anxiety is not one bit related to whether something unexpected happens or not,” she wrote. “Calming your anxiety is about only that: calming your anxiety. The crazy train of fear prevents you from being present to what is, and it most definitely keeps you from enjoying what is here in this moment.”

...while the majority of acute stress stems from external situations. stress work

“When it comes to stress, you know what you’re dealing with -- a looming deadline, bills, picking up the kids,” Spiegel says. “It’s these [outside stressors] that are able to be prioritized and handled one at a time.”

Spiegel suggests dismissing any thoughts of multitasking in order to better manage stress and to let go of the idea that you need to solve everything. “Figure out what you can do about things and what you can't,” he says. “Take on the things you can do something about and give yourself some credit when you’ve accomplished something.”

Anxiety and stress are often used interchangeably, even though they’re two different experiences. stress

By definition, anxiety and stress are categorized by separate feelings. The stress we experience in our day-to-day lives is associated with frustration and nervousness, where anxiety often comes from a place of fear, unease and worry. Still, despite the differences, many people use the terms interchangeably. In a blog post on Psychology Today, psychologist and psychotherapist Harriet Lerner explains why we tend to lump together each phrase pertaining to the emotional response:

In everyday conversation, we use the language of emotions that we're comfortable with and that fits our psychological complexion. I've worked with clients who don't report feeling anxious or afraid. "I'm incredibly stressed out..." is their language of choice. "Stressed" is the codeword for "totally freaked out" for people who are allergic to identifying and sharing their own vulnerability. Or, at the other linguistic extreme, a woman in therapy tells me that she feels "sheer terror" at the thought that her daughter's wedding dress will not fit her properly. I know her well enough to translate "sheer terror" into "really, really, worried." Whatever your emotional vocabulary, no one signs up for anxiety, fear and shame, or for any difficult, uncomfortable emotion. But we can't avoid these feelings, either.

“The key difference [between the two] is the sense of helplessness,” Spiegel explains. “When it comes to stress, you can deal with things and master them. By rolling up your sleeves and tackling that stress, you can feel less helpless.”

Where? Is? My? MOTIVATION??

Thank you Joyce Marter!! Depression is a huge case for my patients.   Tips for motivation is just one of the ways to punch depression in the face.

Make an appointment if you think you have depression.  You don't deserve it.  Let's throw it away.

I got you.

-- Dr. Dale

Zero Motivation to Go to Work? 10 Tips


Joyce Marter Headshot
Joyce Marter // Psychotherapist
We all need the occasional "mental health day" off from work to reboot our minds and bodies, but what if you have already called in sick one too many times? Assuming you're experiencing a normal ebb in the energy you have for work and not a more serious issue (like depression, addiction or abhorring your job, in which case you should consult a therapist immediately), here are some things you can do:

1) Incentivize yourself. Treat yourself to your favorite coffee or tea on your way to work. Make lunch plans. Schedule something nice after work, like a workout, a get-together with friends, or a pj's night at home with a good movie. Remind yourself these things are better than the guilt of calling in sick, the awkward excuses that need to be made (or the fake cough) and the overwhelm of twice as much work the next day.

2) Use a mantra. Select a positive statement to get you moving (i.e., "When I do the best that I can, I am my best self"). Personally, I like Dory's "Just Keep Swimming" from Finding Nemo.

3) Take it one step at a time. Baby steps. Get out of bed, shower, get dressed, have something to eat, make your way out the door, etc. I often find that once I get moving, I pull out of my funk and gain momentum. As a licensed mental health professional, I strongly recommend singing, "Put One Foot in Front of the Other."

4) Make things easier for yourself. Take a cab instead of the bus. Skip the trip to the dry cleaner. Wear something comfy. Cross off a couple of things on your "To Do" list to lighten the load. Ask for the support you need from your partner, friends and family (even if it's just a pep talk or a little prodding).

5) Shift into cruise control. We can't run full speed ahead every day, and there are some days that require autopilot. As a therapist, these are days that I might make fewer enthusiastic interpretations or coaching suggestions for my clients, and might hang back and just listen attentively and reflectively. Often, these ebbs in my energy are opportunities for my clients to step forward and to make their own insights and direction. So, running at a slower pace isn't always a bad thing as it can provide perspective.

6) Fly under the radar. If you are a little low in motivation, perhaps this isn't the day to have extensive interactions with your boss or team. Use whatever flexibility you can to limit interactions (i.e., put on your headset, keep your nose in your computer, shut your office door, etc.). Keep interactions brief and cordial to make the day more manageable.

7) Do the work that is easiest for you. Perhaps today isn't the day you are going to complete the big project, but keep in mind that anything you do at work (no matter how small) is more than what you would have accomplished if you called in sick. When my energy is low, I tend to focus on organization that preps me for days when my energy is higher. I might get some filing done, complete some mindless paperwork or make a supply run, rather than tackling something that requires more brain power or passion.

8) Be of service to somebody else. I love being a therapist because my work gets me out of my own head. I'm often surprised at how recalibrated my energy feels after a good session. Even opening a door for somebody, giving a compliment or offering support or mentoring to a less senior colleague can ignite your internal energy source.

9) Practice gratitude. Instead of focusing on all the reasons you really don't want to go to work (the icky weather, the lame meeting, or whatever it is), focus on the good parts. You are alive. You have a job. You aren't really sick, etc. Gratitude promotes positive thinking that attracts good energy.

10) Practice self-care. Practice a few minutes of deep breathing or guided meditation to revitalize yourself. Take breaks when you can at work. Get out of the office and walk around the block to clear the cobwebs from your mind. Get proper rest, nutrition and exercise. Consider a massage, mani-pedi or similar if within your budget. If not, choose self-care that is free, such as reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or practicing yoga. Refuel yourself so that tomorrow is a better day!

"Nothing will work unless you do." -- Maya Angelou