Posts Tagged ‘Arizona Allergy Doctors’

Do I have a Cold or might it be Allergies?

Comments Off on Do I have a Cold or might it be Allergies? Written on September 27th, 2014 by
Categories: Allergies, Allergist, Allergy Advice, Allergy Articles, Allergy Shots
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The fall season is here and along with that comes a common comment heard in our office….. “I don’t know if I have a cold or allergies but I feel miserable.” The symptoms of colds and allergies often overlap and have a similar presentation. This article is going to look at some of the differences between these two very common conditions.

TIME OF YEAR: A cold is a viral infection, which is caused by one of many rhinoviruses that affect the nose. Although it is possible to “catch” a cold at any time, cold viruses are more common during the winter months. By contrast, an allergic reaction is an immune response to a harmless substance and is most prominent during the spring and fall months when pollen counts from trees, grasses, and weeds are at their highest.

SYMPTOM ONSET: One of the early differences between colds and allergies is how rapidly symptoms occur. Cold symptoms generally have a gradual onset over a period of several days. A cold may begin with a general sense of fatigue, sore throat, or runny nose and over time progresses to severe nasal congestion, headache, and perhaps even fever and body aches.  The symptoms of allergies have an abrupt onset (when exposure to the allergen occurs) with one of the first and most common symptoms being sneezing…..often multiple times in a row.

DURATION OF SYMPTOMS: Cold symptoms persist for anywhere from 5-10 days and then gradually improve.  Allergy symptoms may last for months or as long as you are exposed to the allergy trigger.  If you are symptomatic greater than 10 days, you will want to consider the possibility of your symptoms being of an allergic nature.  Remember, a person can develop allergies at ANY time in their life, so just because you don’t have a history of allergies in the past, doesn’t mean you don’t have them now!

SYMPTOMS: How many times have you been asked in a health care setting, “what color are your nasal secretions” (Interesting question huh?!) This is an important clue to determine the cause of your symptoms. Both conditions may cause a runny nose or nasal congestion but nasal secretions will be consistently clear and watery when you are experiencing allergies. A cold virus may begin with clear nasal secretions but over 3-4 days the mucous becomes yellow/green and opaque as the illness develops. Another important difference is that itching of the eyes, nose, throat, or ears are uncommon with a cold but are very common allergy symptoms. If you have a fever or feel achy, chances are you have a cold and not allergies. It is important to remember that with either allergies or a cold, continued nasal discharge that becomes thick, brown, dark yellow, or green might indicate a sinus infection and may require the use of an antibiotic.

While a cold is a condition that just requires a bit of time to clear up, allergies do necessitate treatment.  If you are experiencing allergic symptoms which are persistent in nature, seek the advise of an allergist so that appropriate testing and treatment can be initiated. At Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, our clinicians and staff are committed to improving your health and your quality of life. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Vitamin D and Allergies and Asthma

Comments Off on Vitamin D and Allergies and Asthma Written on June 8th, 2011 by
Categories: Allergy Advice
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Vitamin D seems to be all the rage these days. You can hear about it around the water cooler at work, in your physician’s office, and store shelves seem to be brimming with vitamin D supplements. Currently, there are several studies that suggest vitamin D may play a role in allergies and asthma, but definitive results are pending.

Research has revealed vitamin D’s role with calcium, and how it affects our bones and parathyroid glands. Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium by the intestinal tract. It prevents problems with our bones, such as osteomalacia in adults and Ricket’s disease in young children. This supplement also prevents abnormal function of the parathyroid glands. Finally, we know that vitamin D plays a role in our immune system; however, the specific role is still unclear.

Augusto A. Litonjua M.D. has proposed vitamin D may also protect patients from getting asthma and allergies. Dr, Litonjua’s proposal has inspired others to further research the correlation between vitamin D and allergies and asthma. One such study headed by John Brehm M.D. was CAMP, Childhood Asthma Management Program. CAMP studied over a thousand children with asthma from diverse backgrounds and various locations within the United States. Dr, Brehm reviewed vitamin D levels in the children’s blood. His research revealed that patients with low levels of vitamin D have more severe asthma and more frequent emergency room visits than those with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood. Other studies are finding vitamin D receptors in cells that are associated with the immune system. This is important because asthma and allergies are caused by an overactive immune system.

In summary vitamin D is important for calcium absorption, bone strength and parathyroid gland function. The medical community is interested in learning more about vitamin D’s possible correlation with allergies and asthma. Vitamin D can be naturally produced when our skin is exposed to sunlight. It may also be obtained through our diet. Currently, the recommended daily dose is 400 I.U.’s of vitamin D. Vitamin D can be found in foods high in fat, such as fish, egg yolks. and liver. People can increase their daily dose by eating foods fortified with vitamin D, such as milk and cheese. If you have questions regarding the role of vitamin D and your health, please ask your health care provider.

 

 

 

Avoiding Allergy Triggers

Comments Off on Avoiding Allergy Triggers Written on April 15th, 2011 by
Categories: Allergies, Allergy Advice, Allergy Articles
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Now that spring has arrived, we are all enjoying the warmer temperatures of the season and spending more time outdoors. With that comes higher pollen counts and an increase in allergic symptoms. Allergic disease affects 50 million Americans and is the 5th most common chronic condition in the United States. Allergic disease can develop at any age and is frequently an inherited trait. If one parent has allergies, the risk of the child developing allergies is 48%, and if both parents have allergies, the risk grows to 70%.

Symptoms of allergic disease are the result of events occurring in the immune system (the body’s defense mechanism against harmful substances). In an allergic individual. the body recognizes allergens (i.e. pollens, pet dander, mold spores, dust mites) as harmful substances and subsequently a cascade of events ensues in an attempt to remove the offending allergen from the body’s tissues and bloodstream. Chemicals such as histamines. are released from special cells in the body producing the classic symptoms of allergic rhinitis (“hay fever”) such as nasal itching, sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, and itching or tearing of the eyes. Other conditions associated with allergies include asthma and eczema.

In Arizona, allergies cause severe and prolonged symptoms due to the extended growing seasons. The spring and fall months are typically the seasons when pollen counts are highest and symptoms are most severe. Some of the biggest allergens during this time of year include olive, ash, and mulberry trees, bermuda grass and ragweed. Citrus trees are blamed for symptoms but typically are not a problem as pollination occurs through the “birds and the bees”.

 

One of the biggest things an allergic individual can do is to avoid offending triggers.


POLLEN: To avoid pollen exposure, keep doors and windows closed and run air conditioning, which cleans, cools and dries the air.

Change air conditioning and furnace filters regularly. Avoid sleeping with bedroom windows open and keep car windows closed. Pollens can become trapped in hair and clothes, so remember that taking a quick shower and changing clothes after being outdoors can be beneficial. Recognize as well that pets trap pollen in their fur after being outdoors so washing your hands after interacting with pets and avoiding touching your eyes is important. Avoid yard work if possible and wear a mask when cutting grass. Air purification systems (such as a HEPA filter) can offer benefit as well. These are best kept in the bedroom as most people spend more hours of the day in the bedroom than any other space in their home. Pollen counts are highest in the late afternoon, so avoid outdoor activities during this time of the day.

 

PETS: There are no “non·allergenic” cats or dogs. Ideally if a person is allergic to pets, the animals should be eliminated from the home or kept outdoors. If this is not possible, keep pets out of the bedroom and bathe them on a weekly basis to reduce the dander in the home.

 

DUST MITES: While less of a problem in Arizona due to low humidity. dust mites can be avoided by purchasing special encasements for pillows and mattresses. These can be purchased from on-line allergy supply stores. Bedding should be washed on a weekly basis using hot water rather than warm or cold water. If practical, replace carpets with linoleum, hard wood floors, or tile. Keep the number of pillows and stuffed animals to a minimum.

 

MOLDS: Molds can be found both inside and outside of the home. Promptly repair any leaks or water damage within the home. Indoor molds are frequently found in the bathroom, basement or other damp areas. Do not use carpet in these areas and watch for mold growth so it can be cleaned promptly. Use an exhaust fan or open windows to remove moisture after showers. Mold can also be found in the soil and on the leaves of houseplants as well as in damp compost piles, therefore wear a mask while raking leaves and keep indoor plants to a minimum.

 

If avoiding the offending trigger does not manage symptoms, one should seek the advice of an allergist to obtain an accurnle diagnosis, a treatment plan that works, and educational information to help manage symptoms. The allergy specialist may complete skin testing (if appropriate) and discuss treatment options, including the use of medications, such as nasal sprays, antihistamines, or decongestants. Allergy shots, also called “immunotherapy”, are an option and are given to increase ones tolerance to the allergens that provoke symptoms. Be ready for the spring season this year. Remember, the right care can make the difference between suffering with an allergic disease and feeling better.

 

 

Tips For Reducing Springtime Allergy Symptoms

Comments Off on Tips For Reducing Springtime Allergy Symptoms Written on March 18th, 2011 by
Categories: Allergy Articles, Spring Time Allergies
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Allergists from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) have some tips for reducing allergy symptoms this spring. I thought they were excellent and worth sharing… Enjoy!

Do:

1. Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors. Covering  your eyes keeps pollen and other irritants away from this sensitive area, which reduces itchiness and redness.

2. Shower and wash your hair before bed.  Cleaning up before getting into bed helps remove pollen from your hair and skin, which reduces irritation. You should also consider keeping pets out of the bedroom if they’ve been outside, as pollen can cling to their fur.

3. Minimize activities outdoors when pollen counts are at their peak. Pollen is typically at its highest point during midday and afternoon hours, so those who suffer with allergies and asthma should avoid going outside during those times of day.

4. Run the air conditioner at home. Leaving doors and windows open is a good way to invite allergens and other irritants inside your home, so there’s no escape.

5. Keep air conditioning and furnace filters fresh. It’s important to change filters every three months and use filters with a MERV rating of 8 to 12.  A MERV rating tells you how well the filter can remove pollen and mold from the air as it passes through.

Don’t:

1. Treat symptoms without knowing what you’re allergic to. You may think you know what’s causing your allergy symptoms, but more than two-thirds of spring allergy sufferers actually have year-round allergies. An allergist, a doctor who is an expert in treating allergies and asthma, can perform tests to pinpoint the cause of your suffering and then find the right treatment to stop it.

2. Spend blindly on over-the-counter medications. There are tons of allergy medications available at the store, some of which can be very effective. But if you’re buying new products all the time, spending a bundle and not feeling better, consult with an allergist who can discuss which options might be best for you. Your allergist may suggest nasal spray or allergy shots, also called immunotherapy. Immunotherapy can actually cure your allergies and keep you out of the drug store aisles for good.

3. Wait too long to take allergy meds. Don’t wait until symptoms kick in and you’re already feeling bad to take allergy medication. Instead, prepare by taking medication that has worked for you in the past just before the season starts. Pay attention to the weather: When winter weather turns warm, pollens and molds are released into the air. Start treatment prior to the warm up.

4. Hang clothing or laundry outside. On a clothesline, fabric can collect pollen, which is an allergy trigger. Instead, use a drying machine to reduce these allergens.

5. Eat produce and other foods that might aggravate sniffles and sneezing. If your mouth, lips and throat get itchy and you sniffle and sneeze after eating certain raw or fresh fruits or other foods, you may have “oral allergy syndrome.” The condition, which affects about one third of seasonal allergy sufferers, occurs in people who are already allergic to pollen when their immune system sees a similarity between the proteins of pollen and those of the food, and triggers a reaction. If you are allergic to tree pollen, for example, foods like apples, cherries, pears, apricots, kiwis, oranges, plums, almonds, hazelnut and walnuts may bother you. Cooking or peeling the food may help, but you should talk to an allergist.