It’s estimated that allergies affect at least 30 percent of the U.S. population, which translates to roughly 50 million people. If you are one of those millions, you know how uncomfortable, miserable, and downright dangerous allergies can potentially be.
Updated June 2019
Whether it’s hay fever, asthma, or more dangerous allergies that can lead to anaphylaxis, it’s important to work with your doctor or allergist to keep your symptoms managed and under control. This holds true no matter where you live; some people erroneously believe that living in a desert climate means they will no longer suffer from allergies. This may be true for a short time, but if you have had allergies previously, you will risk developing them again in your new home to potential allergens found there.
So what are allergies?
In short, allergies are an over-reaction of your body’s immune system to otherwise-innocuous items and components found in the environment. Normally, your body’s immune system protects you against infection by harmful pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other harmful invaders by creating antibodies to destroy them. An allergy occurs when your body mistakes a harmless material for a harmful invader and develops antibodies against it. This is why you might sneeze, have itchy eyes, have sinus pain, or have more severe symptoms when coming into contact with an allergen.
So does moving to Phoenix help alleviate allergies?
Yes and no. If your allergies are triggered by air pollution or other components that are isolated to selected geographic areas, you can relocate and drastically improve your allergy symptoms. However, many people have moved from the city or the suburbs to a rural or desert location, only to find their allergies reappear within a few years.
The reason why makes sense; a person who has developed allergies already has an immune system that is prone to developing sensitivities to innocuous materials. When you relocate, all you’re doing is removing the previously-offending materials from your environment; you’re not treating the underlying allergies. This leaves your immune system vulnerable to sensitizing itself to an entirely new allergen.
For example, if you move to the desert to escape an allergy to tree pollen, you may be fine for a few years before your immune system becomes sensitized to grass pollen or the pollen from a different tree species.
Before moving house, speak with your doctor or allergist about your specific allergies and treatments, and you should also ask for a referral to a well-known allergist in the area you are relocating to so you can continue with your existing allergy shots and treatments you might be undergoing.
If you’re still planning to relocate to the desert – for example, you’re retiring and want to live in one of the many retirement communities that have sprung up in our beautiful desert state- here are some examples of the most common allergens you might run into in the desert.
You can’t escape dust and pollution, no matter where you move to. Dust can be composed of anything, including skin cells, mold spores, grains of pollen, broken-down bits of rock and soil, and grains of sand. It can also include the waste products of animals or insects such as dust mites. The specific composition of dust may change depending on the area you relocate to, but you won’t be able to totally escape it. If you have an allergy to dust, your immune system might change to react to the dust of your new location, leaving you miserable all over again.
2. Mold Allergies
Many people believe molds are only a problem in cooler climates with lots of rain, but they can also exist in dry climates as well. One dangerous example of this is the mold that causes valley fever, or coccidioidomycosis; it’s a mold commonly found in the soils of Arizona, California, and other parts of the southwest that can lie dormant in dry weather and be kicked up when it rains or when the ground is otherwise disturbed. Valley fever aside, a lot of molds exist in desert soil and flourish during the rainy season.
3. Animal Dander
Where there are animals, there will continue to be animal dander. Dander isn’t just the fur of animals, it’s also the skin cells and saliva proteins that are shed when an animal sheds or grooms itself. This is why cat dander allergies can be such a nightmare; because cats groom themselves so fastidiously, they leave lots of saliva proteins behind that can trigger allergic reactions.
Wherever there are plants, there will likely be pollen. Pollen is how plants and trees reproduce, it’s why they release so much of it during the spring and summer months.
September officially starts the allergy season here in Phoenix but this year has not been kind to allergy sufferers. If you have been visiting or living here throughout the last few months, and you suffer from allergies, you likely have felt miserable! Due to the rain and warmer winter, the plants have been in full bloom earlier and longer which is causing tons of pollen!
And if you have not suffered before from allergies but this year, noticed itchy eyes, filled sinuses, sinus headaches, wheezing… you should consider getting a PCP referral to a board-certified allergist in order to get comprehensive allergy testing which tests for our native desert plants as well as other allergens.
As we stated above, when you relocate to new places, all the sudden you may experience allergies! As examples, if you move from Arizona due to a ragweed allergy, for example, you might find yourself eventually becoming allergic to the pollen released by grass in your new location. Or you already have an allergy to tree pollens, moved to the desert, but now might get an allergy to ragweed or to the trees in your new Phoenix home as you grow more acclimated to our environment.
There are two ways people can develop allergies to insects. The first (and best known) is by developing an allergy to insect venoms such as bee or wasp stings. This can lead to Anaphylaxis, which can rapidly be fatal if not treated in time. The second way to develop allergies is by developing sensitivity to proteins left by an insect; these can be left in their saliva, droppings, or other things they come into contact with.
Most people think of dust mite allergies, but you can also develop sensitivities to kissing bugs, cockroaches, mosquitoes, fleas, and other insects. Some insects can also contribute to you developing allergies to unrelated things. For example, if you are bitten by a lone star tick, you risk developing an allergy to meat due to a protein that can be transmitted via the tick’s saliva.
Arizona Allergies Q&A
1) Are there allergies in Arizona?
Unfortunately, allergies are an unpleasant reality regardless of where you live. In recent years, there’s a significant increase in the number of sufferers across the country, and Arizona is no exception. We have experienced many days this spring with a high pollen count which has made this spring one of the worst for allergy sufferers.
2) But, can you really have allergies in the desert?
The hot, dry climate of the desert may not be helpful to allergens that benefit from a more humid environment. However, other allergenic substances, such as pollen and insect venom, are definitely present in the drier regions of the country.
3) What causes allergies in Arizona?
Apart from the allergens mentioned above, allergies in Arizona are often caused by various types of pollen found in trees indigenous to the area. Ash, elm mulberry, sycamore, mesquite, as well as cottonwood and juniper, are frequently responsible for the increased pollen counts that give so much trouble to hay fever sufferers. Other highly allergenic plants include the very common bermuda grass, and various species of weed, such as the giant ragweed.
4) Does Arizona have an allergy season?
While spring is often thought as the worse time of the year for people with allergies, the fall allergy season in Arizona can also be quite troublesome. The increase in rainfall encourages the growth of several native species of grass and weeds. What’s more, plants produce pollen throughout the year and the blooming season for the state’s most common species varies considerably. For instance, junipers bloom in January while ash and cottonwood do so from January to February.
5) How can I reduce my pollen exposure?
On days with high pollen counts, try to stay indoors as much as possible. Keep your windows shut and use the air conditioning. If you have to do any gardening or yard work, consider wearing a mask. If you take any allergy medication, do so before you venture outside. It will prevent the onset of your symptoms, or, at least, reduce them significantly. As soon as you get home, shower and change your clothes. This will keep a great deal of pollen out of your house.
Whether you are new to Phoenix or you have lived here for some time, our specialty allergy doctors know how difficult it can be to live with allergies. Our clinics can assist you with allergy testing, allergy treatments, and any other information in order to keep your allergies in check. Call or visit our website for more information or to schedule an appointment. Remember that we have offices all throughout the Valley- Anthem, Avondale, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Glendale!
“Desert Plants Causing Havoc for Arizona Allergy Sufferers“. allergyarizona.net, Adult and Pediatric Allergy Associates, P.C., 13 Feb. 2019, allergyarizona.net/desert-plants-causing-havoc-for-arizona-allergy-suffers/.
“High Desert Asthma and Allergies-Advice from Asthma Specialists“. allergyarizona.net, Adult and Pediatric Allergy Associates, P.C., 21 Nov. 2016, allergyarizona.net/high-desert-asthma-and-allergies-advice-from-asthma-specialists/.
“5 Tips for Preventing Hay Fever in Arizona“. allergyarizona.net, Adult and Pediatric Allergy Associates, P.C., 15 Nov. 2018, allergyarizona.net/tips-for-preventing-hay-fever-in-arizona/.
Why you should NOT rely on allergy tablets (to cure your allergies)!
Allergy sufferers have many options to relieve their symptoms. The type of allergy you are dealing with will determine how effective it is. Allergy tablets are a common treatment option for individuals who are looking for immediate relief of their symptoms. The problem is there are as many combinations of symptoms as there are allergy remedies! So this article is to help you learn about which one works best and how effective they are providing the relief from allergies!
What Are Allergy Tablets Designed To Do?
Most allergy tablets are designed to relieve your symptoms but they do nothing to build up your immunities. This means that your symptoms will return, day after day. Another problem is that each type of allergy tablet is designed to do certain things. Some may treat itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose, while another type of tablet relieves headaches and opens up your airways. It can be difficult to know what allergy tablet to use if your symptoms change from day to day.
Different Types of Allergies
Different types of allergies require different treatment methods. Allergies that affect the upper respiratory system can cause difficulty breathing, sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes, and a variety of symptoms that are similar to a cold or the flu.
Allergies that affect the skin can cause hives, rashes, and red patches that are red and inflamed. Uncontrolled itching is often the most common system and can result in open wounds if the area is scratched or irritated.
Allergies of the gastrointestinal system can affect the body in many different ways. They may result in hives, symptoms associated with upper respiratory allergies, or severe abdominal cramping and diarrhea/constipation, depending on how your body responds.
What Are The Most Effective Treatment Methods?
While allergy tablets are common ways of dealing with day to day allergy symptoms (by the way, allergy tablets are a form of sublingual immunotherapy(SLIT) ….they are rarely effective at controlling the problem on a long-term basis. (Read this article by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology for more details)
IMPORTANT: If you want to effectively relieve allergy symptoms, you need to control how your body responds to the allergens — which ALLERGY SHOTS provide the most help with!
Immunotherapy such as custom prescribed allergy shots (which is what Dr. Habib and Dr Alasaly often suggest) is just one-way doctors are now helping allergy sufferers overcome their symptoms. It can be used to help build the antibodies that are needed to reduce the effect allergens have on the body.
If you suffer from any type of allergy, contact our allergy & asthma medical offices to find out exactly what your options are. The facility offers various types of allergy testing that can be used to determine what allergens affect you and the best way to treat each one. Once the doctors have the answers, they can formulate a treatment plan to help manage your symptoms and reduce your body’s reactions to the allergens you’re exposed to on a daily basis. Get the relief you need today!
What is Allergic Rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis (A.R) is more commonly referred to as “hay fever” or “allergies.” The medical term describes a cluster of symptoms that affect the nose, causing inflammation and an immune system reaction. Exposure to irritants or allergens during the Arizona allergy season can cause extreme discomfort and may also exacerbate other respiratory issues, making diagnosis and treatment vital.
Once treated, most people find that recovery is rapid, and that they can immediately return to normal activities. The problem is that most people do not go to a specialist right away, so please read so you can avoid this!
Allergic Rhinitis Symptoms & Causes
Patients suffering from A.R. can react differently from one another. Usually, early signs cause clients to wake up feeling groggy or stuffed up, with a tickle in their throat or nose. After a day of rubbing their eyes and sneezing, most know that the allergy has started. If you are experiencing any of the following, Allergic rhinitis is a likely culprit:
- Persistent sneezing
- Runny nose
- Watery Eyes
- Feelings of pressure in the head, neck, or face
- Fatigue or sluggishness
- Poor sleep quality
- Altered sense of smell
- Altered sense of taste
- Clogged ears or impaired hearing
- Discoloration around the eyes
- Mild swelling or puffiness in the eye or nasal area
- Sore throat or hoarse voice from draining
Hayfever (allergic rhinitis). can be caused by any irritant that triggers the immune system. Dust, animal dander, mold, pollen, or chemical exposure, are all possible instigators, with pollen being the most common. When pollen is the issue, we often refer to the condition as “hay fever.” Grasses, weeds, desert flowers and trees flood the air with seeds and pollehttp://allergyarizona.net/pollen-count-and-allergic-reactions-treatments-from-phoenix-allergist/n throughout the warm months, making hot, dry Arizona allergy season conditions especially miserable for hay fever sufferers.
Treatment Options -Make Changes to your Lifestyle
Great strides can be made to address allergies via simple lifestyle changes.
Patients often find tremendous relief from installing air filters that remove excess dust, debris, dust mites, and pet dander from the air. This is particularly important when they live near high traffic areas, construction sites, or open fields. If allergies are severe, it may be smart to avoid opening windows since dust tends to blow around at a higher rate. Adding humidity to the air will help contaminants fall to the ground so they can’t irritate sensitive nasal passages and lungs.
- Mold: If mold is a factor in symptoms, patients shouldhave a heating and cooling professional visit to inspect for growth in vents and air conditioning units.
- Food: Food allergies can compound other allergies, so if you see reactions after eating foods containing dairy, nuts, or other common allergens, you should make dietary alterations to reduce inflammation and reactivity in the body, and make an appointment immediately at one of our allergy clinics!
- Pet Dander: It may be impossible to give up pets, so it is important to try other measures that dramatically reduce exposure to dander. Using washable slip covers on furniture is recommended. Frequent vacuuming with a cleaner designed to pick up pet hair is ideal. Strategically placed air filters can greatly minimize the presence of allergens in rooms frequented by Fido or Fluffy.
- Nasal Wash: The popularity of nasal washes is directly due to their success in helping allergy sufferers. The wash serves to both soothe nasal passages and rinse away debris. As this debris is reduced, compounding of congestion as blocked passages collect allergens is resolved, providing almost immediate comfort. Special pots for this purpose have been around for centuries and are known as “neti pots.” More modern versions can be found in most pharmacies.
Treatment Options -Clinical Solutions to Allergic Rhinitis
There’s a good chance that if you’ve read this far, you’ve already tried a number of lifestyle solutions without success. This indicates that it’s time to get professional help at one of our clinics. Something more complex may be causing your allergies and we do a number of allergy tests that can help us to find out what is triggering your issues. Our doctors can even test for specific allergens – and will prescribe targeted treatments that work MUCH better than home, or over-the-counter remedies.
Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates can help!
Our 5 clinics have allergy experts (nurses, physicians and staff) who can get to the true heart of your problem. While the term “allergies” is very broad, the truth is that most patients struggle with a few specific triggers to their respiratory health. Knowing exactly what those are, helps you and your doctor identify the most successful, individualized treatment plan for you. This may include lifestyle changes similar to those above, or could include prescription strength medications. Treatments may include:
- Oral antihistamines to block the body’s allergic reactions
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays
- Decongestants to mitigate symptoms
- Leukotriene inhibitors to stop the release of allergy associated chemicals in the body
- Allergy shots
No matter what course you and your physician choose, A.R. is highly responsive to treatment. Most of these are noninvasive, and allow you to live uninterrupted with vastly improved comfort and energy levels. There is no reason to delay. Call us now at 602-242-4592 and banish your allergy symptoms today!
Allergy Testing for Adult Allergy Sufferers
Few topics cause more complaining than the topic of ‘allergies’. A large number of Arizonans either have allergies themselves or know someone who suffers from them. And we’ve all heard the stories, from the misery inflicted on people with Hay Fever, to the epi-pens carried by some individuals who are at risk for anaphylactic shock due to bee stings which are especially common in our desert. Because some allergies can cause dangerous reactions, it’s important that you consult a specialist if you suspect you have developed one.
If something you have eaten, taken, or come into contact with has caused you to have some sort of reaction, your doctor might recommend you have an allergy test done. Allergy tests can help pinpoint the agents responsible for allergic reactions; once those agents are properly identified, you and your doctor can decide on a treatment regimen together that can help you avoid future reactions or mitigate their symptoms.
But how do allergy tests work?
It depends on the type of test done.
- The most common type of allergy test performed is the IgE skin test. This is the one everyone thinks of when they hear ‘allergy testing’. In this test, small pricks or scratches are made in the skin, and potential allergens are introduced to each area. If a reaction occurs, that means the person has a sensitivity to that allergen. For example, say a person is tested with grass pollen, cat dander, and dust. If they are allergic to the grass pollen, the skin tested with that allergen will swell, itch, and resemble an insect bite, while the other areas appear normal. If there are no reactions but the doctor suspects an allergy nonetheless, a tiny amount of allergen may be injected under the skin to see if an allergic reaction occurs.
- A third type of allergy test is the IgE blood test. This test isn’t really used unless you have a skin condition that rules out the IgE skin test, or you take certain medications. The results are just as accurate as the other tests, but there is a delay in receiving results due to need in to send the sample to a lab for analysis.
Regardless of the type of test you’re given, it’s important that you consult a true Allergist to have these tests conducted. Tests unsupervised by a medical professional –such as in supermarkets, alternative health clinics, or at-home tests-can produce less reliable results and may increase the risk of dangerous reactions. Plus, many of these only test for the most common allergens; whereas at a practice like ours- we test for 140 allergens!
If you are in need of the most thorough allergy testing around, Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates, PLC have your solution. Please don’t hesitate to book online right now! We have offices in Phoenix, Avondale, Glendale, Scottsdale and Anthem!
How do you know whether to go to an allergy specialist or your primary care doctor?
Wondering why repeated visits to your Primary Care Physician for allergies and asthma aren’t giving you the relief you hoped for? Asthma and allergies often occur together, resulting in a variety of symptoms ranging from itchy eyes and runny nose to skin reactions, shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness (asthma). This type of allergy-induced asthma can be challenging to manage. If you aren’t finding relief from symptoms with the help of your PCP, a visit to our great allergy and asthma clinic may be just what the doctor ordered (or just what the doctor should order…).
PCPs are a great jumping off point, but an allergy and asthma clinic can help you land safely…
PCPs are trained to help with an array of daily health problems, without specialization in any particular illness, body system, or organ. They are often the first line of care for health issues interrupting your life. Although a great place to start on your healthcare journey, a certified specialist can offer a wider variety of prevention and treatment options for improving your quality of life.
What makes our allergy and asthma clinic so special?
In a word, specialists! The specialists at your local Adult and Pediatric Allergy Associates, P.C. have specialized education and training which allows them to offer further insight into your treatment condition, as well as better management options for keeping your symptoms under control. This includes at least nine years of training and a two year fellowship specifically focused on allergic or lung diseases, as well as training in diagnostics and equipment specifically designed to detect and monitor allergies an asthma, essential tools in addressing these chronic healthcare issues.
When its time to call us…
- You are having difficulty with the daily management of allergy and asthma symptoms.
- You suffer chronic congestion and sinus infections or frequent asthma attacks.
- You frequently struggle to catch your breath or feel chest tightness.
- You often wheeze and cough – especially at night or after exercise.
- You find yourself frequently missing work (and life) as a result of allergy and asthma symptoms.
- You suffer hay fever/allergies several months out of the year.
- OTC medicines are creating unwanted side effects.
- Your difficulty controlling symptoms has resulted in urgent care hospitalization.
- You have other health conditions in addition to asthma.
- You feel like your asthma and allergies are taking over your life.
How we can help you?
- By identifying and helping you avoid allergens such as pollen, dust mites, dander, food and other unique allergy and asthma triggers with the help of allergy tests.
- Immunotherapy (allergy shots).
- Medications specially designed to treat both allergies and asthma.
- Anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) therapy.
- And more.
Kick allergies to the curb with our help. Contact our office today for an appointment- we have allergy clinics Valley-wide to serve you!