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.
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!
A study conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) reveal that over 5% of children of age five and younger suffer from food allergies.
If you suspect that your child suffers from a food related allergy, then visit an allergist without further delay. After all, you cannot ignore the health of your little one! And, the sooner you figure out the cause of your child’s allergy, the sooner your child will be able to get relief from their symptoms.
Here are a few food allergy tests every parent needs to know about.
Skin tests not only help to detect allergies caused by certain types of foods, but also to detect allergies caused by airborne particles, insect stings, and the like. After analyzing your child’s condition and symptoms at the first consultation, the allergist will choose the right allergy test accordingly, such as an intradermal skin test, scratch test, or patch test, etc.
In some circumstances, the skin test may be hard to administer for child food allergy testing. In such cases, the allergist can suggest a blood test to detect the food allergy. Some commonly used blood tests to diagnose food allergies include enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA or EIA) and radioallergosorbent test (RAST).
Elimination Diet Tests
In the elimination diet test, foods that are suspected to trigger a reaction are eliminated from the patient’s diet. More often than not, such trigger foods are eggs, milk, soy, peanuts, and wheat.
Get in touch with the experienced team of allergists at Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates P.C. to diagnose the food allergy your child is suffering from. Our team will find the most suitable therapeutic interventions for your little one, including diet changes, allergy shots, and medication.
For those unlucky Arizonans, seasonal allergies are the pits. The pollens that bring sneezing, itchy and swollen eyes, and all around misery can really put a cramp in our desert lifestyle. Many allergy sufferers will at some point wind up at doctors office for a skin prick test (SPT) to determine which pollens and allergens they are allergic to. The results of this test can help you avoid your particular triggers, whether it’s staying indoors during prime grass season or taking allergy medicine before you leave the house. The skin prick test itself is straightforward type of allergy testing, but knowing what to expect can help ease anxieties if the idea of getting this test puts you on pins and needles.
Allergy Testing – What to Expect
The first part of your appointment should be familiar. The nurse will take your height, weight and blood pressure. You’ll settle into a room and wait for the doctor. The allergist will come in and ask you questions regarding your symptoms and how you are feeling and will look in your eyes, nose and throat. He’ll also listen to your heart and lungs. This is the time to discuss how your current allergy medications are working for you and what you hope to gain from the appointment. The visit may lead to new medications or even allergy shots if your symptoms to certain pollens are severe.
After the allergy doctor talks with you, the nurse will give you some privacy so that you can strip down to your waist. You’ll put on a gown without a back and lie down on a table. When the nurse comes in, she’ll have with her all of the allergens that they will be testing.
“For seasonal allergies, you can expect us to test your body on about 50 to 60 different types of allergens, mostly grasses, weeds, trees and a few molds.”
The nurse will quickly mark your back in rows with a sharpie or dry erase marker to create a map of sorts. The allergens are all sterile and are administered using a lancet, which barely breaks the skin. It is done very quickly and is usually over in about a minute. You may experience mild discomfort or even a ticklish sensation during the process. A control, which is always histamine, will also be applied. Everyone has histamine in their body, but it can affect them differently. Certain people don’t react to histamine right away, and this means that the test may be difficult to diagnose.
You will be left for about 25 minutes while the allergens do their work and your body reacts. Once the allotted time is past, she will come back in with a chart and will check the results on your back and mark them down. Once finished, she’ll create a printout for you to keep that shows your results, and the doctor will come back in to talk to you. Your allergist will discuss your reactions to the various allergens, such as the size of the wheal and flare, which are the bumps and redness that your back will develop. He will also explain what the numbers mean for you and what treatments might be necessary going forward.
Having knowledge of what pollens and desert allergens affect your body will give you the power to ease your symptoms, whether it’s through avoidance or treatment. Allergy skin prick testing is complete and straightforward with hardly any discomfort to speak of.
Set up an appointment today for our skin allergy testing to find out what your triggers are so that you can put yourself back in the driver’s seat this summer.