Fighting Allergies

By The Medical City , | July 08, 2016


Do you have…

  • Early morning or evening episodes of sneezing, runny nose, clogged nose, itchy and red eyes, itchy throat? You may have Allergic Rhinitis.
  • Episodes of breathing difficulty, a “whistling sound” when you breathe, and prolonged coughing? You may have Bronchial Asthma.
  • Skin that is itchy and red? You may have Atopic Dermatitis.
  • Big red rashes after intake of food, medications or even after insect bites? You may have Allergic Urticaria possibly from food, drug, or insect hypersensitivity.
  • A combination of rashes, swelling, breathing difficulty and a tight throat feeling? You may be suffering from Anaphylaxis, a severe allergy that is a true medical emergency.

If you have any of these symptoms, it is best to consult an Allergist-Immunologist. The specialist will take your complete medical history and conduct a physical examination. If indicated, your Allergist-Immunologist will perform allergy testing to help identify which substances are causing your allergy symptoms.

Although there is no cure for allergies, your allergist can help you establish a treatment program to control your symptoms. Treatment will include avoidance of allergens, pharmacotherapy (anti histamines, anti-inflammatory agents, leukotriene antagonists, etc.) and Immunotherapy.

Asthma and Allergy Triggers and How to Control Them at Home

If you have allergies or asthma, you are sensitive to certain triggers. These triggers can set off a reaction in your lungs and other parts of your body. Triggers can be found indoors and outdoors.

Here are some common triggers and some ways to help control them at home:

Grass, tree and weed pollen. Pollen is a very common allergen. Grass, tree, and weed pollen can cause seasonal allergic rhinitis in areas where these plants have seasonal pollen production. Track the pollen count. Several online sites provide up-to-date, local information. Avoid going outdoors when the pollen count is very high. Pollen counts are highest in the morning, so schedule outdoor events later in the day.

Housedust mites. Dust mites are tiny, microscopic animals usually found in house dust. Several thousand mites can be found in a pinch of dust. Mites are one of the major triggers for people with allergies and asthma. Here are some steps that can help get rid of dust mites.

  • Avoid carpets, upholstered furniture, and heavy drapes that collect dust. Use pillow and mattress covers made from a tight-weave fabric that keeps out dust and mites.
  • Remove rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting. If you cannot or do not want to remove carpeting throughout the home, consider removing it only in the bedroom.
  • Use smaller rugs that you can wash.
  • Use window shades or curtains made of plastic or other washable material for easy cleaning.
  • Remove stuffed furniture, stuffed animals (unless these can be washed) and clutter, especially in the bedroom.
  • Closets need extra care. These should hold only needed clothing. Putting clothes in a plastic garment bag may help. (Do not use the plastic bag that covers dry cleaning.)

Animal dander. All warm-blooded pets, such as cats, dogs, birds, and rodents, have dead skin cells (animal dander) and make urine or stool. These can all trigger asthma symptoms, such as wheezing or coughing, or another allergic reaction, such as the rash of atopic dermatitis or the stuffy nose of allergic rhinitis.

Although there is no strong evidence that reducing animal dander in your home will reduce symptoms of asthma or allergy, the following steps may be helpful.

  • Keep your pet outside of the house or at least out of your bedroom. Keep your pet in areas of the home that have hard floors that are easier to clean than carpeted floors.
  • Clean birdcages, rodent cages, or areas where pets sleep at least once a week.
  • Dust and vacuum often. Do this when the person who has an allergy or asthma is not at home. Use a static cloth for dusting, and use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which helps keep dust off carpets and floors and out of the air.
  • Do not allow your pet on carpets or upholstered furniture.
  • Wash regularly any rugs, pillows, pet beds, or other items the pet has contact with.

Molds. When moisture in the air is high, mold and mildew can be a problem in bathrooms, kitchens and basements. Make sure these areas have good air circulation and are cleaned often. Molds may grow on foam pillows when you perspire. Wash pillow cases every week, dry thoroughly and make sure to change it every year. You may change to a fiber-filled pillow.Molds also grow in the soil of houseplants, so check them often. You may have to keep all plants outdoors.

Food.A food allergy happens when your immune system reacts to something that you’ve eaten. When you eat something you are allergic to, your body makes antibodies. Over time, sometimes as soon as the second time you eat it, the antibodies spring into action, starting a process that includes the release of lots of histamine to fight what it believes is invading your body. Histamine is a powerful chemical that can affect your respiratory system, digestive tract, skin, and heart and blood vessels.

Symptoms may appear almost immediately or up to two hours after you've eaten the food. Symptoms of a food allergy can include:

  • A tingling sensation of the mouth
  • Swelling of the tongue and throat
  • Hives
  • Skin rashes
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Trouble breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • A drop in blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness

Severe reactions, called anaphylaxis, can result in death.

You can get a rash in areas that come in contact with foods. Some people are so sensitive to food allergens that the odor of that particular food can cause a reaction.

It's better to see an allergist than to try to diagnose a food allergy yourself.

References:
The Medical City Center for Patient Partnership
Department of Pediatrics, Department of Medicine
Section of Allergology and Immunology
Section of Pulmonary Medicine
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/



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Fighting Allergies

By The Medical City ,

July 08, 2016


Do you have…

  • Early morning or evening episodes of sneezing, runny nose, clogged nose, itchy and red eyes, itchy throat? You may have Allergic Rhinitis.
  • Episodes of breathing difficulty, a “whistling sound” when you breathe, and prolonged coughing? You may have Bronchial Asthma.
  • Skin that is itchy and red? You may have Atopic Dermatitis.
  • Big red rashes after intake of food, medications or even after insect bites? You may have Allergic Urticaria possibly from food, drug, or insect hypersensitivity.
  • A combination of rashes, swelling, breathing difficulty and a tight throat feeling? You may be suffering from Anaphylaxis, a severe allergy that is a true medical emergency.

If you have any of these symptoms, it is best to consult an Allergist-Immunologist. The specialist will take your complete medical history and conduct a physical examination. If indicated, your Allergist-Immunologist will perform allergy testing to help identify which substances are causing your allergy symptoms.

Although there is no cure for allergies, your allergist can help you establish a treatment program to control your symptoms. Treatment will include avoidance of allergens, pharmacotherapy (anti histamines, anti-inflammatory agents, leukotriene antagonists, etc.) and Immunotherapy.

Asthma and Allergy Triggers and How to Control Them at Home

If you have allergies or asthma, you are sensitive to certain triggers. These triggers can set off a reaction in your lungs and other parts of your body. Triggers can be found indoors and outdoors.

Here are some common triggers and some ways to help control them at home:

Grass, tree and weed pollen. Pollen is a very common allergen. Grass, tree, and weed pollen can cause seasonal allergic rhinitis in areas where these plants have seasonal pollen production. Track the pollen count. Several online sites provide up-to-date, local information. Avoid going outdoors when the pollen count is very high. Pollen counts are highest in the morning, so schedule outdoor events later in the day.

Housedust mites. Dust mites are tiny, microscopic animals usually found in house dust. Several thousand mites can be found in a pinch of dust. Mites are one of the major triggers for people with allergies and asthma. Here are some steps that can help get rid of dust mites.

  • Avoid carpets, upholstered furniture, and heavy drapes that collect dust. Use pillow and mattress covers made from a tight-weave fabric that keeps out dust and mites.
  • Remove rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting. If you cannot or do not want to remove carpeting throughout the home, consider removing it only in the bedroom.
  • Use smaller rugs that you can wash.
  • Use window shades or curtains made of plastic or other washable material for easy cleaning.
  • Remove stuffed furniture, stuffed animals (unless these can be washed) and clutter, especially in the bedroom.
  • Closets need extra care. These should hold only needed clothing. Putting clothes in a plastic garment bag may help. (Do not use the plastic bag that covers dry cleaning.)

Animal dander. All warm-blooded pets, such as cats, dogs, birds, and rodents, have dead skin cells (animal dander) and make urine or stool. These can all trigger asthma symptoms, such as wheezing or coughing, or another allergic reaction, such as the rash of atopic dermatitis or the stuffy nose of allergic rhinitis.

Although there is no strong evidence that reducing animal dander in your home will reduce symptoms of asthma or allergy, the following steps may be helpful.

  • Keep your pet outside of the house or at least out of your bedroom. Keep your pet in areas of the home that have hard floors that are easier to clean than carpeted floors.
  • Clean birdcages, rodent cages, or areas where pets sleep at least once a week.
  • Dust and vacuum often. Do this when the person who has an allergy or asthma is not at home. Use a static cloth for dusting, and use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which helps keep dust off carpets and floors and out of the air.
  • Do not allow your pet on carpets or upholstered furniture.
  • Wash regularly any rugs, pillows, pet beds, or other items the pet has contact with.

Molds. When moisture in the air is high, mold and mildew can be a problem in bathrooms, kitchens and basements. Make sure these areas have good air circulation and are cleaned often. Molds may grow on foam pillows when you perspire. Wash pillow cases every week, dry thoroughly and make sure to change it every year. You may change to a fiber-filled pillow.Molds also grow in the soil of houseplants, so check them often. You may have to keep all plants outdoors.

Food.A food allergy happens when your immune system reacts to something that you’ve eaten. When you eat something you are allergic to, your body makes antibodies. Over time, sometimes as soon as the second time you eat it, the antibodies spring into action, starting a process that includes the release of lots of histamine to fight what it believes is invading your body. Histamine is a powerful chemical that can affect your respiratory system, digestive tract, skin, and heart and blood vessels.

Symptoms may appear almost immediately or up to two hours after you've eaten the food. Symptoms of a food allergy can include:

  • A tingling sensation of the mouth
  • Swelling of the tongue and throat
  • Hives
  • Skin rashes
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Trouble breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • A drop in blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness

Severe reactions, called anaphylaxis, can result in death.

You can get a rash in areas that come in contact with foods. Some people are so sensitive to food allergens that the odor of that particular food can cause a reaction.

It's better to see an allergist than to try to diagnose a food allergy yourself.

References:
The Medical City Center for Patient Partnership
Department of Pediatrics, Department of Medicine
Section of Allergology and Immunology
Section of Pulmonary Medicine
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/


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