Posts Tagged ‘Allergies in Arizona’

Take Two Asprin and Call Me in the Morning… UNLESS YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO IT

Comments Off on Take Two Asprin and Call Me in the Morning… UNLESS YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO IT Written on May 15th, 2011 by
Categories: Allergies, Allergy Advice, Allergy Articles
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We all know someone who is “allergic” to a medication. Many times that person is not having a
true allergic reaction but either a side effect to the drug or just an adverse reaction. This is also the
case with aspirin or the related non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAlDS) such as ibuprofen
or naproxyn.

There is a special group of individuals that have a unique reaction to aspirin and the NSAlDS. These are a subset of asthmatics. Twenty percent of asthmatics are sensitive to aspirin and NSAIDS. This group of asthmatics have what is called Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (AERD). It was originally known as Samter’s Syndrome or Triad Asthma. AERD is a combination of asthma, chronic sinusitis. nasal polyps and then a reaction to aspirin or an NSAlD, This reaction is not a true allergic reaction but an exaggerated response of the body to the biological effect of aspirin or all NSAIDS. This reaction is characterized by watery itchy eyes. runny nose. nasal congestion, sinus-like headache and a severe exacerbation of asthma. An aspirin reaction occurs between twenty minutes and three hours after ingesting the aspirin or NSAlD.

Aspirin-sensitive asthma or AERD occurs in approximately 20 percent of asthmatics. It signifies an aggressive form of inflammatory airways disease mediated by inflammatory chemicals called leukotrienes. Avoiding aspirin or any of the NSAIOS actually does not help the disease. Unfortunately there are many asthmatics avoiding these drugs simply because they have asthma and there is the misconception that all asthmatics may be sensitive to aspirin. By unnecessarily avoiding aspirin or NSAIDS. these patients do not have appropriate medications for pain control, arthritis, and fever reduction or cardio prophylaxis utilizing low dose aspirin.

So, if I am an asthmatic, how can I tell if I have this type of asthma?

Well, it is not as hard as you may think. We first look at the patient’s medical history, The patient must have asthma, chronic sinusitis and nasal polyps. Typically patients describe the onset of their disease as a “cold that never, went away.” Then there must be a history of reacting to aspirin or any of the NSAIDS if all these events are present, it then requires an oral challenge to aspirin to prove if the patient is truly aspirin sensitive. These challenges were formalized at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla. California, Initially the challenge required a week long hospitalization, The Allergy department at Scripps Clinic has refined the process for the outpatient setting. The safety of the aspirin challenge has also been improved with the development of anti leukotriene medications. After undergoing an aspirin challenge. the patient can be desensitized and take aspirin or an NSAID for an appropriate medical condition. The patient can also be desensitized and take aspirin daily to actually help treat the asthma and sinus disease.

With all this information. who should think about undergoing an aspirin challenge? Asthmatic patients with the appropriate history who need to take aspirin every day for cardiac reasons or those patients that need an anti-inflammatory medication for arthritis or similar condition, Also. those asthmatics with poorly controlled asthma or who have required multiple sinus surgeries to control the sinus disease or polyp formation are excellent candidates for aspirin desensitization.

Having trained at Scripps Clinic. I have been involved in many aspirin challenges and desensitizations, The process of aspirin desensitization is safe under the appropriate supervision and now available in the outpatient setting. Most desensitizations take a minimum of two days to complete.

If you think you or a loved one may be a candidate for this procedure. please feel free to contact our office at 480-949-7377. We would be happy to talk with you to help determine if aspirin desensitization on may be right for you.


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!


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.


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.