The Arizona weather is getting cooler and many of us are excited to be outside again! However, the cooler weather and reseeding of the lawns means that allergy season is starting. And how frustrating when you’re stuck inside wheezing, sneezing, and sniffling when you should be outside living life to the fullest.
Allergies are one of the most elusive health problems out there. Most people suffer from some sort of allergy, but researchers still aren’t completely sure what causes them. Or better yet, how to cure them.
Are we relegated to suffering and hoping that science makes a breakthrough someday?
The good news is there are ways to manage your allergies and reduce your symptoms so you can start living life again.
Nasal rinsing, also known as nasal irrigation, is when you flush out your nasal cavity with a saline solution. By doing a nasal rinse you clear out your nose and sinuses of excess mucus and allergens that have built up over time.
There are many tools out there that help you with nasal rinsing. The most popular method is to use a neti pot. A neti pot is a small pot with a spout that’s made specifically for nasal rinsing.
Nasal rinsing is especially helpful for people suffering from chronic sinusitis though anyone can benefit from it.
Buying an air filter for your home is an easy way to get some allergy relief. You can just set it up once and then forget about it. Since the air in your home will be cleaner when using an air filter your body won’t be as overloaded when you go outside.
Think of your allergies like water pouring into a cup. The symptoms start showing up once the water overflows. By using an air filter you’re increasing the length of time it takes to trigger your symptoms.
Air filters can range from cheap to expensive. A high-quality air filter can be a great investment if you suffer from severe allergies and are dying to get relief.
Essential oils such as tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and eucalyptus oil have properties that reduce the symptoms of allergies. The oils reduce inflammation and help clear away excess mucus.
There are different ways of using essential oils, but aromatherapy is the easiest way. For aromatherapy you can either use a diffuser or massage it into your skin like you would with a lotion.
There are benefits to both methods, though using a diffuser is less work and has the pleasant side effect of making your house smell amazing.
Honey from local bees is made with pollen the bees collect from the local area. When you eat the honey, you’re ingesting a small and manageable amount of the allergens.
Over time you’ll build up a tolerance to the allergens used in the honey. Think of it like a low powered and natural version of allergy shots. This is a fun one because it’s not only healthy, but tasty, too.
The catch here is that the honey must be local. Otherwise it won’t have as many allergens that are specific to your area. Not everybody is lucky enough to have this option available, but definitely take advantage of it if you have a bee farm nearby.
Studies have shown that gluten causes inflammation and may be linked to allergies and other health issues.
The theory is that gluten is a large molecule that’s hard for your body to break down. This causes additional stress on your body and can sometimes overwhelm it.
You don’t have to go completely gluten free if it sounds too intimidating to you. Try gradually cutting down on it over time and see if you notice any positive changes. If so, continue cutting out more gluten until you’re completely gluten free.
These suggestions aren’t a complete fix by any means, but besides non-organic options such as allergy shots and allergy medicines, these are some the best natural treatments we have until science comes up with a permanent solution.
Learn more about allergy and asthma treatment by booking an appointment at one of our 5 Valley-wide Allergy Clinics.
Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs in which inflammation causes the airways to narrow, making breathing more difficult.
The preceding info may seem relatively simple but actually, asthma is a complicated, inconvenient, and sometimes fatal disease if not treated. The best way to understand what asthma is understanding its pathology.
- The respiratory system is in charge of taking in oxygen and eliminating carbon dioxide. It uses a series of organs, especially the lungs, to supply every cell in the body with oxygen. That oxygen is of vital importance to every cell in the body.
Asthma causes parts of your respiratory system to spasm, which makes it hard to bring oxygen in and eliminate carbon dioxide.
- Spasms are the involuntary muscle constrictions. In an asthmatic person the tubes that bring oxygen into the lungs, also known as Bronchi, spasm and become partially blocked by mucus. That mucus is a result of the body’s autoimmune response, otherwise known as an allergic reaction.
- An allergic reaction happens when the body’s immune system tries to eliminate a harmful agent, a pathogen. Often the immune system ‘overreacts’ to a pathogen. In layman’s terms; it eliminates a virtually harmless pathogen and makes you very uncomfortable in the process.
This condition makes the intake of oxygen difficult because an allergic reaction, or similar hypersensitivity, causes the tubes that bring oxygen to the lungs to spasm and narrow. This decreases the amount of air that can get to the lungs and be used by the body.
Management of Asthma
Asthma is a chronic disease that can be controlled to allow normal daily activities. By controlling your asthma every day, you can prevent serious symptoms and take part in all activities. If you asthma is not well controlled, you are likely to have symptoms that can make you miss school or work and keep you from doing other things you enjoy. Although there is no cure, here are some important prevention strategies
- Recognize attacks early.
- Take medication as directed.
- Avoid tobacco smoke.
- Identify and avoid triggers.
- Talk with your asthma specialist to find ways to improve your health.
- Get the influenza vaccination (pneumonia shot) every five years.
If any questions or concerns, please contact our office for an appointment. We have 5 Board Certified clinics in the Phoenix Metro to serve you!
Shellfish and sushi consumption is high in the Asia-Pacific, Phoenix and growing all over the U.S. Unfortunately, reports of allergy responses from shellfish have also increased. Shellfish allergies are common in adults compared to children; and in male children compared to female ones. In addition, if your family has a history of shellfish allergies, your child may be more likely to be allergic too.
Some of the shellfish causing the allergic reactions are crustaceans and mollusks such as shrimp, crab, lobster, clam, oyster and mussel though prawns/ shrimp was most commonly implicated in shellfish allergies which are commonly found in sushi rolls and at many restaurants.
Tropomyosin is the allergen in shellfish causing this immune reaction among other proteins such as arginine kinase. Shellfish proteins can come in contact with your child through ingestion, inhalation – of fumes while cooking – or even skin contact.
Allergy reactions vary by age and even by region. Symptoms of shellfish allergy are hives, eczema, wheezing, dizziness, gastrointestinal symptoms. More severe anaphylactic reactions can cause breathing obstruction, dizziness and shock with high pulse and dropping blood-pressure which can be fatal.
It is important to differentiate allergy reaction from shellfish food poisoning. Toxins stored within the shellfish – domoic acid, brevetoxins, saxitoxins, azaspiracids, biotoxins and bacterial/viral toxins – can affect your nervous, gastrointestinal and other systems.
Allergic reactions are therefore verified using a variety of tests including skin prick testing.
Like most food allergies, avoidance of the allergy-causing food is suggested.
- You should take care to avoid all shellfish for your child; check with your doctor/dietician.
- Eating in restaurants where the oil or vessels/surfaces may have come in contact with shellfish can cause allergic reactions. You may decide to avoid restaurants where shellfish or fish are on the menu.
- Carrying and knowing how to use an epinephrine auto injector may be useful; teach your child this, once he or she is a bit older
- Doctors also suggest introducing shellfish earlier – to babies as young as 6 months – as this may actually reduce chances of allergies. Monitor your child after introducing the new food and if there are no adverse reactions; include the new food as part of his or her regular diet.
One of the most common mistakes that we make in our lives is to ignore an allergic reaction. You may think that ignoring a reaction might ease it on its own, but it rarely happens. To avoid a severe condition, it is absolutely important to find out the cause of a reaction, as soon as you experience it.
In case you, or a loved one you know suffers from asthma, and strong smells seem to aggravate it, then it could very well be a perfume induced asthma attack.
Perfumes and scents aren’t actually allergens, they are irritants. But, that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t trigger allergic reactions. They could, and asthma is one of these reactions.
Here’s what you need to know about perfume as an asthma trigger.
It is not uncommon
Strong perfumes are a common trigger for asthma attacks. In fact, there are many asthma patients who couldn’t stand the smell of perfumes. For some asthma sufferers, perfume is the sole reason of high-intensity attacks. Other than asthma, scents could also be the cause of nasal congestion, skin problems, and migraines.
Avoidance is ‘not’ bliss
Prevention is better than a cure, and we couldn’t agree more. One of the best ways to prevent perfume-induced asthma attacks is to avoid the triggering element at all costs. However, there are times when you can’t really avoid interacting with people who wear perfumes.
Three solutions to opt for when perfume starts to attack:
- Find an allergist who can help you avoid asthma attacks triggered by fragrance sensitivity
- Take your medicine as soon as you feel an attack is approaching
- Limit your exposure to places where strong perfumes and related irritants could be present, such as shopping centers, laundromats, etc.
Call our allergy and asthma center, Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates P.C. at 602-242-4592 today and schedule an appointment for your asthma. Live your life allergy and asthma free!
Associates of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology estimates that more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. While that number is jarring, additional statistics show that approximately one out of six Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis. The following information will describe what allergic rhinitis is, what triggers it and why consulting an allergist as opposed to your primary care physician is the best course of action to take if you believe that you may be living with allergies.
What is allergic rhinitis?
Allergy means “strange activity” in Greek. Rhinitis, also Greek in origin, literally means “condition of the nose.” Therefore, allergic rhinitis, which is also referred to as hay fever, can be defined as a condition in which irritants cause “inflammation of the nose or its mucous membrane.”
What causes allergies?
Pollen is a powdery fertilizing agent that flowering plants release in order to fertilize other plants. It helps create beautiful gardens, but pollen also makes it difficult for people with seasonal allergies to enjoy them.
Pollen, which is transported through the air, attaches itself to a person’s hair, skin and clothing. When people who are sensitive to pollen breathe in pollen-laden air, typical symptoms include “sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, itchy throat and eyes and wheezing.”
Pollen and debris from an animal’s coat or feathers are two of the most common irritants that trigger allergic rhinitis symptoms. However, it is worth mentioning that pollen is not just limited to flowers. For example, certain trees, grasses, and desert plants like cacti are also pollen-heavy. Additionally, dust and chemicals from pipe, cigar and cigarette smoke are other windborne irritants, and all the above can be particularly tough on people living with allergies. This is just one reason why attempting to self-medicate with over the counter medicine is not advised.
Why do you need to see an allergist instead of your primary care physician?
Unlike general physicians, allergists are physicians who have completed additional training programs that allow them to effectively diagnose and treat asthma and allergic diseases. The following list describes some of the health issues that an allergist-immunologist treats:
. hay fever
. hives (ACAAI)
What should you expect when you visit an allergist?
An allergist-immunologist will conduct a thorough medical history and physical exam. Skin and blood tests may also be incorporated in order to determine exactly what substances are causing allergic reactions. This is typically done in an in-house testing lab. The new client visit could take up to two hours. Once the irritants have been identified, allergists will create a treatment plan that may include dietary recommendations, inoculations and other medication specifically designed for their clients’ needs.
Is there a cure for allergies?
Unfortunately, no. However, immunotherapy and specialty medicines as well as education, can greatly reduce the symptoms that people living with allergies would normally experience by attempting to self-medicate, which can be dangerous. By consulting a top Phoenix allergist, these individuals can avoid wasting time, money and possibly putting their health at risk and focus on enjoying life.
American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. (n.d.). Retrieved from acaai.org/
Allergy | Define Allergy at Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from dictionary.com/browse/allergy
Rhinitis | Define Rhinitis at Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from dictionary.com/browse/rhinitis
American Board of Allergy and Immunology:. (n.d.). Retrieved from abai.org
Allergy Facts | AAFA.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from aafa.org/page/allergy-facts.aspx