Comments Off on Hives! Written on March 1st, 2011 by
Categories: Allergy Advice, Allergy Articles, Hives

Hives are a very common condition that our clinic sees on a daily basis; up to 20 percent of the population will have hives at one time or another in their lifetime.  Hives have been around a long time, documented as far back as early Egypt on papyrus.  Hives, (sometimes called welts) are known by their Latin name “urticaria”.  Hives appear as itchy red raised bumps which resemble mosquito bites, but hives may also have clear centers and look like irregular rings.   The itching from hives can cause so much discomfort individuals may not be able to sleep at night or have difficulty in concentrating.  In addition to itching, hives may also feel warm or burn.  In certain situations, hives will come and go as they please with little rhyme or reason.  Hives may also form in the deep tissues and cause a dramatic swelling of the body called “angioedema”.  Typical locations of angioedema include the lips, eyes, tongue, fingers, toes and even genital areas.


Hives and angioedema can arise spontaneously, and may occur with obvious triggers.  Obvious triggers include touching an allergen (something we are allergic to) causing hives.  Contact with grass, cat or dog dander/saliva and even certain foods are examples of such a “contact urticaria” reaction.  Medications may cause hives if an individual is, or becomes allergic to the medication (for example penicillin, aspirin and ibuprofen).  Virus infections, valley fever and a several other infections may also cause hives.  Physical stimuli such as cold temperatures, pressure, scratching, sunlight, stress and very rarely water can also bring forth hives in susceptible individuals.


Hives are a component of other allergic reactions.  People who have contact sensitivity to different chemicals, lotions, fragrances or detergents will break out in a rash that may also trigger hives.  If an individual with severe allergies to a food will have an immediate and dramatic reaction, this reaction may include hives among other symptoms.


There are two categories of hives, chronic and acute.  Chronic hives last at least six weeks and acute will resolve in less than six weeks.  Chronic hives may last for years, possibly decades causing people to be frustrated and interfere with quality of life.  Research now reveals this chronic condition is due to an autoimmune process known as “chronic autoimmune urticaria.”  This diagnosis is made through a blood test that is available today.


An experienced allergist will obtain a thorough history and physical and order the necessary labs.  Treatment(s) for chronic hives may include anti-histamines, steroids, and avoidance measures.  Preliminary studies have shown a common asthma treatment may resolve hives and minimize side effects of other treatments.  Our practice, associated with Medical Research of Arizona, is currently studying this promising new treatment for hives.  If you are having trouble with hives, consult one of our board certified allergist and sleep well at night.




Fighting for Air

Comments Off on Fighting for Air Written on February 1st, 2011 by
Categories: Allergy Advice, Asthma, Asthma Articles, COPD
Tags: ,

Struggling to breathe is not a situation that any of us wants to be in but for nearly 800,000 Arizonans that is what they face every day. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce an event and organization that we all can join to help all of us breathe easier.

I, along with one of my partners, Jean Nelson, FNP-C, are the co-chairmans for 2011 Fight For Air Walk put on by the Arizona chapter of the American Lung Association (ALA). This event used to be known as the Asthma Walk but the name has been changed to truly encompass all the respiratory problems that the ALA works to correct, including chronic obstructive lung disease, lung cancer, smoking cessation, air quality issues in addition to asthma. This is one of the largest Lung Association walks in the country. Money raised in the Fight for Air Walk goes to support Camp Not-A-Wheeze, the ALA’s traditional summer camp for children with asthma, research to study asthma, COPD and lung cancer, asthma education, tobacco prevention and cessation along with supporting the fight for clean air.

Money raised in the Fight for Air Walk goes to support Camp Not-A-Wheeze, the ALA's traditional summer camp for children with asthma, research to study asthma, COPD and lung cancer, asthma education, tobacco prevention and cessation along with supporting the fight for clean air.

To help understand the impact of pulmonary disease in Arizona, here are some facts to consider. Arizona has the second highest asthma rate in the country and is the leading cause of school absenteeism for children. COPD is the third leading cause of death in Arizona. The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area was number 11 on the American Lung Association’s State of the Air report for the most ozone polluted cities. Lung cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women.

So why am I taking the time to introduce the ALA’s Fight For Air Walk? I would like to see even more people involved in this very worthwhile event. You may be asking yourself “How can I get involved?” There are three main avenues to becoming involved. First, you or your company could be an event sponsor. There are levels from $1500 and up. This allows your company to be recognized by the community as a leader in the fight for air. Secondly, you can organize a walk team. This can be done with family members, a company team or even a school or athletic team. It is a great way to enjoy a beautiful Saturday morning with friends and colleagues while raising money for a worthy cause. Lastly, you could donate directly to the ALA.

I hope that I have raised some interest in joining Jean and myself in making the 2011 Fight For Air Walk the biggest and best walk yet. The walk will be held at the Scottsdale Civic Center on Saturday, April 2, 2011. For more information go to the American Lung Association’s web site,, or log on to You can also call 602-258-7505. Janelle Tassart or Stacey Mortenson would be more than happy to talk to you about participating or even come to you workplace to help organize a company walk team.

Every day 800,000 individuals in Arizona worry about their next breath. It could be you, a family member or a friend or coworker. There is a good chance that respiratory disease has some impact in your life. Please help us help everyone breathe a little easier. As they have said in the past, “If you can’t breathe, nothing else matters!” See you at the walk.




Allergy Videos

Comments Off on Allergy Videos Written on January 1st, 2011 by
Categories: Allergy Advice, Allergy Videos



The Root Cause of Allergies and Asthma



The Root Cause of Hives



Asthma Drug Delivery: Proper Inhaler Use



How to use an Advair Diskus



Nose Washes with a Squeeze Bottle



Nose Washes with a Neti Pot



3D Medical Allergy Animation



What is COPD



Understanding Asthma



Stinging Insect Allergy



How to Use an EpiPen



Asthma Controler Inhalers