Ask the OnCall+ Experts: Allergies

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Your Questions Answered

Question: I have sinus headaches that cause my eyes to hurt, which in turn affects my vision. I take Allegra, which eases it a little. Could you tell me what medications are out there, or do I need to see a specialist?

Question: We suggest you take a look at our index of questions on seasonal allergies and sinusitis. Take care!


Question: Does bleach help psoriasis as it does eczema?

Answer: Patients with ezcema are prone to overgrowth of bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus. This leads to chronic infection and inflammation and worsens the eczema.

Bleach acts as a anti-bacterial agent. The report that you are referring to was done by my colleague and pediatric dermatology expert, Dr. Amy Paller at Northwestern. The diluted bleach baths (half a cup per full standard tub of water) decreased signs of infection and improved the eczema on the skin of children.

Get Answers To All Your Allergy Questions at the ABC News OnCall+ Allergy Center

Some, not all patients with psorasis or other skin diseases can have bacterial overgrowth. We don't have all the answers, and to my knowledge, similar studies have not been done in patients with psoraisis. It is plausible that if a specific psoriasis patient is prone to a secondary infection with staphylococcus aureus (documented by a skin culture) -- that patient may benefit from diluted bleach baths.

- Dr. Theresa Pacheco, Professor of Dermatology, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine


Question: Why is sublingual immunotherapy not as widely available or promoted in the U.S. as it is in Europe?

Answer: Currently there are no approved allergy extracts used for sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) in the U.S. Investigators in Europe several years ago began to study in clinical trials and then use in clinical practice SLIT. Overall, the use of SLIT in Europe is quite high but it varies considerably by country.

SLIT has been used with off-label products in the U.S. for a long time but the concentration of the allergen in the individual patient's SLIT was generally quite low. The doses used were often below what is used now and not found to be effective.

There are studies being conducted now in the U.S., so we will see these results in the next few years.

- Dr. Wesley Burks, Chief of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, Duke University Medical Center

Your Allergy Questions Answered

Question: What causes scabies? Why does it return even after treatment? Do scabies mites only need skin contact to survive, and wouldn't they die if they were not in contact with skin?

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