how to manage allergies
June 9, 2022

Whenever your immune system responds to an unfamiliar substance that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people, referred to as an allergen, you have an allergy. It might be anything you consume, breathe in, or otherwise put inside your body. These allergies can be seasonal and difficult to manage. In a 2018 report by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, around 50 million Americans suffer from spring season allergies such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis), which also happens to be the most common one.

From sneezing to itches, allergies can make you quite uncomfortable or ill. Therefore, it’s necessary to be aware of the allergies you’re likely to face during the spring season. To effectively fight allergies, you must properly understand how to manage them. To help you, this article provides information on effectively managing any seasonal allergies.

What Happens During the Spring Allergy Season?

Allergies can get particularly unpleasant if they aren’t treated on time. Several factors, including climate change, pollen, and even the smallest foreign bodies, can cause allergies.

Pollen, unsurprisingly, is one of the leading causes of allergies. When flowers and other fauna are in full bloom, people allergic to pollen have a particularly hard time. The main pollen seasons are driven by temperate climates from fall, spring, and summer. In regions with subtropical climates, summer seasons tend to last longer, which means the pollen allergy season extends.

Climate change doesn’t help either and can worsen any pollen allergies if not addressed on time for the future. In fact, many people report that their seasonal allergies have worsened during the past 10-20 years.

Related Topic: Adventures in Allergy Testing at COEM

Common Allergy Symptoms to Look For

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Congestion in the nose
  • Chest tightness
  • Watery and itchy eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Wheezing

Common Spring Allergens

Some common allergens you should be aware of include

  • Cypress
  • Birch
  • Ash
  • Elm
  • Maple
  • Hickory
  • Poplar
  • Oak
  • Walnut
  • Bluegrass
  • Sweet vernal grass
  • Red top grass
  • Timothy grass

Related Topic: Allergy And Asthma: How are They Connected

How to Manage Allergies Effectively

Here are a few tips on how to manage spring allergies

  • Minimize stepping out or going on outdoor trips during allergy season. Since pollen can trigger allergies, It’s best to avoid places where you might encounter it. Try to go out when pollen counts are lower.
  • If you’re prone to seasonal allergies, consuming allergy medicine is important. You can also try taking medicine a week before allergy season to protect yourself efficiently. Common medicines to counter allergies include oral antihistamines, nasal decongestants, eye drops, and more.
  • Furthermore, taking certain precautions at home can also protect you. For instance, shut all your windows during allergy season, use a fan rather than an A/C (they suck in air from outside your house), vacuum your house, and if you’re a smoker, taking a break during allergy season will be good for you. You can quit it completely for the best results.

Are you looking for expert allergy treatment near you? Call our team at 843-572-1600 to schedule an appointment with our expert doctors today at the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine(COEM). We can help you with the right spring allergy treatment and any care you need.

Natural Antihistamines
August 24, 2021

First, you have to understand antihistamines and how they react to your allergy symptoms to answer this question.

What Are Antihistamines?

Antihistamines are a group of medications used to treat allergy symptoms. These medications aid in treating unpleasant symptoms caused by the presence of an excess of histamine, a substance produced by your body’s immune system.

Allergy and Asthma
May 28, 2021

In 1984, May was declared “National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month” by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). This is because, in May, most allergy and asthmatic symptoms begin to surface.

July 20, 2020

Food Allergies

Food allergies are the immune system’s reaction to certain foods, triggering symptoms that can affect different parts of the body. These allergic reactions are the immune system’s protective response against certain foods they identify as harmful and can range from mild to serious. In some cases, the symptoms can trigger anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction.

August 30, 2019

sore throat from cold or allergies

A chronic sore throat is a dry, painful, and itchy throat condition. Dry air, allergies, flu, cold, and other respiratory infections can make your throat sore. However, knowing the root cause of your sore throat will help you receive the right treatment.

Read more to learn how to determine whether a sore throat is due to allergies or cold.

January 5, 2018

If you’ve ever wondered how to ‘eat healthy’, you’re not alone. And if you’ve been wondering for a while now, you already know that there are many health trends that come and go as theories of nutrition are proposed, adopted, then disproved.

One theory that most of us remember is the theory that a fat-free diet is the healthiest diet. For more than a decade, the orthodox medical establishment said that we should do everything possible to avoid eating any fats. It took quite a while before we started to hear about “good fats” and “bad fats”, and even now there are lots of people who think that they should be completely fat-free except for a bit of olive oil here and there.

If you still have some reflexive guilt whenever you don’t eat fat-free, think about the fact that many nutrients are fat-soluble and are best absorbed by your body when you take them with some food that contains fat. For example, patients of Dr. Lieberman are told to take their Vitamin D supplements with a meal with some fat in it.

Most cuisines seem to combine nutritious foods with some kind of fat- in western cultures, we’ll use butter or olive oil with cooked foods and salad dressings with salads. It’s sort of ironic that dieters were warned to eat salads with no salad dressing for so long, because dressings not only makes salads taste better, but the fat they provide improves the body’s absorption of nutrients in the salad ingredients.

If you make your own dressings from a few simple ingredients you probably already have, you won’t just be saving money on expensive bottled dressings from the grocery store (although saving money is a nice feature). Bottled dressings have a variety of preservatives, dyes, stabilizers, chemicals that have no nutritional value, and may not be all that good for you. If you have food allergies, you’ll need to read your labels carefully to avoid problematic ingredients.

Making your own dressings allows you to decide which ingredients to use & how much to use. You’ll be customizing for your dietary preferences, so you won’t add anything you don’t like or are allergic to, and you control how much- if any- sugars, yeasts and sodium get added to the mix. You can also tweak the spices and herbs for a variety of flavor options, and use different kinds of vinegars & flavored oils. The basic rule of a vinaigrette dressing is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, but some people go half and half, and you can do what tastes good to you. I’m not a measurer- I just eyeball the quantities, then adjust if needed, so if you’re new to making your own dressings, follow a recipe at first to get the hang of things, then do your own thing.

Here’s a link with a few basic recipes:

A Google search for “home-made salad dressings” will provide you with some more creative ideas that you may enjoy. Remember that if you’re doing yeast eradication, we recommend that you substitute lemon juice for vinegar in your basic vinaigrette, and be careful about what else you add.

The standard oil for dressings is olive oil, but Dr. Lieberman is recommending extra-virgin coconut oil for many of his patients because it is a good source of medium-chain triglycerides. Since coconut is a solid at room temperature, you may want to try keeping the bottle on your refrigerator or another warm spot in your kitchen so that the oil will remain in liquid form. You may find that you really like the flavor that coconut oil adds to your salad dressing.

Salads are a great source of nutrients and fiber, but you don’t want to eat the same exact salad each time. Switch things up with different kinds of greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc. and your own home-made dressings.

January 4, 2018
We are pleased to have you visit our website and request you to check back regularly and participate in the discussions.
Our first blog is about the types of people who come for treatment at COEM. While the center is based in Charleston, SC our patient population actually comes from all over the world!  There are several reasons for this:
1. Reputation of Doctors
2. Quality of Care
3. Value
4. Personal Attention
COEM believes in looking at the “total body stress load” for every patient that comes to our center.  We compare the human body to an elevator:  an elevator may have a maximum capacity of 2,500 lbs.  The elevator does not know who gets on and who gets off, it just knows that after it reaches 2,500 lbs it cannot function the way it would like to.  Our bodies respond the same way;  allergies, exposures, diet, work-related stress, and depression are just a handful of the many ‘passengers’ that get on our elevators.  We work to eliminate some of the ‘passengers’ through allergy testing, chelation therapy, dietary supplementation, nutritional counseling, and other techniques.
COEM prides itself on the sincerity we take with our patients. We know that you have
choices and can seek care anywhere. What sets us apart is the attention to detail and the attention to the individual. We genuinely care for our patients and that shows in the numerous personal referrals we get of friends, co-workers and family members. It is not uncommon for us to treat 3 generations of one family!  Here are just a few comments from patients that we have received:
“Everyone was pleasant, helpful and knowledgeable” – Columbia, SC
“So full of information, took time with me, I felt like everyone truly wanted to help you.  I was not pushed out the door in 30 minutes with a bag full of medicine that would not help.  I feel I have found the right place to help with my problems.  Thank you” –  Walterboro, SC
“Exceptional value” – Hilton Head Island, SC
“My experience at COEM was very personal.  My historian and Dr. Lieberman were great listeners and showed concern for me personally” – Lyman, SC
“I have renewed faith in doctors.  Not only are you thorough- you actually listen” – Charleston, SC
Would it surprise you that we see patients from the far East, Middle East, Europe, and all over North America?  What is the farthest distance you would be willing to travel to seek help for you or your loved one’s conditions?  What do you most value when you visit physician offices?
Our approach to medicine is more holistic and we try to help your body heal itself.  Do you want to take a more holistic approach to healing?
The purpose of this blog is to get both current and prospective patients to interact with us.  Tell us what you want from a doctor, tell us what you already like about the Center, share with us news articles pertaining to what we do or medicine in general.
TELL US what you want to see from this blog!
Become a fan on Facebook- search Center For Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Follow us on Twitter- search COEMhealth
Check back regularly under the “What’s New” section of our website, as well as be on the lookout for web alerts we send to your email.
Thanks for allowing us to be a partner in your healthcare.
COEM Staff
January 4, 2018

There were two little girls about the same age in the testing room a while back. One had been coming for several months. She lives nearby, so she was able to come in once a week until we had tested enough to give her a fair amount of treatment in different areas. She was pretty allergic, so her testing took quite a while to complete. At first, she was a little anxious, but she soon settled into the routine of “pinch”, wait 8 minutes while playing with her DS , then another pinch. Her mom usually let her test about 2 hours at a time. Some of our patients come a long distance and it is not practical to test only 2 hours at a time, but to push a child beyond his or her level of endurance is often counterproductive.

The other little girl, a new patient, was pretty typical of children who test. She was frightened—there were needles involved! Her dad brought her, and he was loving but firm. No matter how many tears she shed, she was going to be tested, “or else.” I think this dad was using a combination of firmness, threat and reward. The formula, whatever it was, seemed to be effective and eventually, the little girl let me stick her. She wasn’t happy about it, but we settled into a routine. With each stick she put up less resistance, and I even heard her laugh a time or two. I never tell a child that testing doesn’t hurt. I’ve been tested, and sometimes it feels like a bee sting. Some children really don’t seem to mind the sticks, but they are in the minority. The pain doesn’t last long, and when we neutralize patients to enough of the antigens which may be a problem for them, it seems to have a calming effect, which allows the child to test with less anxiety and discomfort.

Trying to reason with children doesn’t seem to work when fear is in control. Even threats of losing a privilege, or missing out on an anticipated treat don’t always work. Money? The child often agrees to a bargain before testing begins, but a delayed reward doesn’t seem so appealing when the reality sets in. If the parent brings a pocketful of quarters (or singles) the immediate reward system may work if the child can be persuaded to try the first stick.

Sometimes it seems as if the child is in charge—a bad situation for all concerned. I believe children should be allowed to choose in some situations, but when it comes to their health, probably not. If the parent is anxious about the process, the child often picks up on the parent’s attitude, and this situation makes things harder for the child and the tester. Loving firmness from a parent who is in control of the situation seems to work better than anything else.

January 4, 2018

Most of us live our lives in the fast lane pursuing the American dream. As the popular song by Cage the Elephant goes, “I got bills to pay, I got mouths to feed…” it can be difficult to get ahead in this world. We have jobs to complete, responsibilities to work and family, and many times we place ourselves last in the long list of growing obligations. I know from experience – as a working mother of two it can be very hard to take a “time out” for yourself in any capacity. It just seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day. However, these various stressors from the daily routine can easily cause a weakened immune system and allow viruses to force us into that “time out” – whether we want it or not. “Illness” has no patience for our responsibilities in life. It will take over quickly and have you cancelling plans and putting aside matters before you know it. Illness may come in the form of a sore throat, a cough, a sinus infection, maybe even the flu, but whatever you may be experiencing, one thing is for sure. Functioning at normal capacity is nearly impossible. So in this world of “let’s go go go” and “get r’ done” how do we avoid such forceful interruption?

We protect ourselves! Here are a couple suggestions. #1 Take your Vitamins! A good multivitamin is always best, and two of the most important are Vitamins D and C. Vitamin D aids in the prevention of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and even depression, and can improve your overall health in many ways, while Vitamin C can help prevent illnesses such as the common cold and boost the immune system during active infections. #2 Monolaurin! At the on-set of illness monolaurin can be very helpful. It contains the monoester of the fatty acid lauric acid. It has antiviral properties and can be used for influenza, Herpes, HSV 1 or 2, bronchitis virus, Cytomegalovirus, and many other viruses that have a lipid envelope. Monolaurin dissolves this viral envelope so the virus can be destroyed. It’s strategic and effective!

Don’t let getting sick/being sick get in the way of your life, work, the daily plans you make, or your responsibilities to family.

January 4, 2018

Testing can be a little frightening for children at first, and the experience can be as hard, or harder, on the parent as it is on the child. Children behave like children—most are resistant at first, but resigned and somewhat cooperative eventually. If the parent is firm but comforting when necessary, the child usually has an easier time accepting the idea of being stuck. Young children usually have a lower tolerance for testing than adults have, and I recommend that a young child not be expected to test for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time. They generally let you know when they’ve reached their limit. All cooperation ceases and each stick becomes a battle. Sublingual testing can be done if we are looking for specific symptoms, but this type of testing requires the parent to be very alert to changes in the child. Skin testing and waiting for delays is usually more accurate. We don’t want the child to remember his visit to COEM as a traumatic experience, so we’d rather leave a few things for a later time if the child seems to have used up all his tolerance. Most children on a return visit remember the location of the play room with all the toys and head straight there, dragging Mom with them. That’s the way we want them to feel, that this is a fun place to be. I understand that when patients travel long distances to get here, they want to accomplish as much as possible, but there is a fine line sometimes between necessary pain and cruelty where young children are concerned. To ask a child to endure testing past the point where he seems able to tolerate it is not usually advisable. After consulting with the doctor, decide what things are most important to test at this time in case some things have to wait until later.

Sometimes it seems to be an efficient use of time for a parent and child to test at the same time, but it doesn’t usually work out as a good thing for either one. It is difficult for a parent to monitor their own symptoms, and be attentive to what’s going on with the child (or children). Testing can affect concentration, mood and rational thinking, as well as the body. We often provoke symptoms not usually considered allergy related. Young children cannot always tell us how they feel. It takes a parent who knows her child to pick up on some of the signs of distress children exhibit while being tested. It takes an alert parent to monitor a nonverbal child, and a parent who is being tested is not always alert. Even if a child can tell you what he feels, sometimes he is not a reliable witness. Usually Mom knows how much confidence can be put in what her child tells her. Children are often eager to please, and if they think they are supposed to be symptomatic, they may complain of something they are not really feeling. Again, it takes a parent who knows her child, and a parent who is concentrating on the child and not herself to let the tester know what is going on with the child. And the parent who is primarily concerned with the child’s symptoms may not let the tester know what is going on with her symptoms. We rely on both whealing (skin reactions) and symptoms provoked during testing. Both the parent and the child may get inaccurate testing results if they test at the same time.

If several family members come to the office at the same time, it would be advisable to spend a little time before the visit planning how to make sure everyone gets maximum benefit from the time spent at COEM. In the long run it may be best to schedule separate times for some of the family members.

January 4, 2018

Our method of allergy testing is called Provocation-Neutralization because we sometimes provoke symptoms with the “wrong” dose and turn them off with the “right” or neutralizing dose. Dr. Carlton Lee is credited as the discoverer of Provocation-Neutralization. He, with the help of Dr. Herbert J. Rinkle, developed this method for testing food allergies. Their work was published in 1964 after the death of Dr. Rinkle. Dr. Joseph Miller, a conventional allergist, heard Dr. Lee deliver a paper on the method. Skeptical at first, he tried the technique and found it to be effective in treating food allergies. He refined the method, and also found it could be used in treating active viral infections and hormonal problems. Dr. Miller’s book Food Allergy, published in 1972, is our textbook for allergy testing.

We call our skin testing intradermal or intracutaneous because we inject a small amount (usually 0.05 cc) of an antigen just under the skin. A wheal (bubble) is formed, which we measure with a little card marked off in millimeters. When examining the wheal we also note certain characteristics such as color, hardness, shape and whether or not the wheal is raised above the surface of the skin.

Not only do we consider the appearance and size of the wheal, but we also take into account any changes in the way the patient feels. In our method of testing the kind of symptom changes and when they occur can be useful in determining whether a dose/dilution is right or wrong. Sometimes the patient experiences the same symptoms with testing that they noticed when they were exposed to the antigen. This experience can be exciting for the patient and the tester because a mystery has been solved and questions have been answered.

Our method of testing is more time-consuming initially than conventional allergy testing, but we believe it is more accurate, and it seems to bring relief of symptoms faster because there is no build up process. We find the dose the patient’s body tolerates for each antigen tested, and it is safe for the patients to administer their own extracts as shots or drops.