Allergies and asthma are becoming increasingly common and affect a substantial portion of the population around the globe, and especially in Arizona. Even in cases of a mild allergy, proper diagnosis and management are essential. Unfortunately, the prevalence of specific misconceptions prevents many people from getting the care they need.
Here are 10 common myths about asthma and allergies you might have thought were true.
Allergies are harmless
Allergies are a serious problem that has become more prominent in recent years. No fewer than one in five people will develop an allergy at some point during their lifetime. If left untreated, allergies can have a very negative impact on quality of life. Allergic rhinitis, for instance, causes fatigue, sleepiness, and irritability. Sufferers often find it hard to concentrate, and this, in turn, affects their work or school performance. Furthermore, allergies to foods, drugs, and insects can cause anaphylaxis. This systemic allergic reaction can potentially be life-threatening.
Asthma is not fatal
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Asthma deaths have been on the increase recently. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 10 people die of asthma each day in the country. Adults are four times more likely to have a fatal asthma attack than children. In 2015, asthma accounted for 3,615 deaths, many of which proper care and treatment could have prevented.
Asthma is a strictly emotional disorder; it’s “all in your head”
Acute emotional stress can trigger an asthma attack. That is not, however, the real cause of the condition. An asthmatic person has hyperactive airways, which become highly sensitive to environmental changes or stimuli. Some scientists believe that these triggers cause an abnormal reaction to sensory nerves in the lungs, which results in coughing and wheezing. The airway muscles contract and swell as the attack progresses.
Asthma does not require any medical treatment.
Close monitoring and regular follow-ups with a specialist are crucial, even if the symptoms are mild. The right medication will also prevent inflammation and damage to the lungs. Prevention is the most effective medicine, however, and drugs could be unnecessary in the mildest of cases or when the asthmatic person avoids the triggers that cause asthma, such as pollen, pets, or cold air. These preventive measures are often too restrictive or even impossible to adopt.
Allergies and asthma are curable
While there are several useful treatments available, there is not, at the moment, any permanent cure for allergies or asthma. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) is an effective way to treat specific allergies, such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, and stinging insect allergy. However, not every allergic person responds to immunotherapy, and there is the possibility of relapse after the end of the treatment. Moreover, this type of therapy cannot treat food allergies yet.
All children will eventually outgrow their allergies and asthma
For some children, their asthma symptoms improve or even disappear during puberty, the most severe cases, however, can last for many years, well into adulthood. A large percentage of children with atopic dermatitis (eczema) also improve as teenagers, although they may have lifelong issues with soap and skincare products. In the case of allergic rhinitis, an 80 percent of the children still have symptoms 10 years later. Seasonal allergies are hard to outgrow, but a person’s symptoms may lessen with time.
If you relocate, your allergies and asthma will disappear
Moving to another climate might offer relief to some allergy sufferers. If high humidity, molds or cold air trigger your allergy, you may benefit from a warm, dry environment. The air quality in your area is also relevant. Pollution has a negative impact on allergies and could even set off an asthma attack. The bad news is, even if you relocate, your immune response will not change. You might still be exposed and react to new triggers. Allergic people tend to develop new allergies, so a new environment comes with its own risks.
Asthmatics should not do any form of exercise or participate in sports
Exercising is essential for everyone’s health and well-being, including people who have asthma. Physical activity strengthens your heart and respiratory system, improves your immunity, and battles stress and anxiety. Because asthmatics greatly benefit from the right kind of exercise, they should engage in it regularly; however it is true that exercise can create an asthma attack.
If you are continuously exposed to animals, you will become desensitized to them
In reality, if you are allergic to individual animals and your exposure increases, it is likely that your sensitivity will worsen. In some cases, if you already have an allergy and come in regular contact with indoor pets, you eventually become allergic to them as well. The best solution for relieving your symptoms would be avoiding contact with said pets altogether.
Some pet breeds are better for people with allergies
While the amount of allergens that a specific animal can produce varies, all members of a species can potentially be allergenic but some pets are none to be less allergen producing than others (Read this blog for details). In the case of cats, most of the allergen comes from the sebaceous glands in their skin. Dog allergens, on the other hand, are mainly found in the animal’s saliva. Even if a pet doesn’t shed hair, the allergens could still be carried into the house by dust particles. Most specialists agree that people with pet allergies shouldn’t keep them in their homes. Other animals, such as guinea pigs, mice, horses, and even exotic pets like iguanas can also trigger allergies, so there is no genuinely hypoallergenic pet.
When it comes to allergies and asthma, myths, misconceptions, and half-truths abound. It is essential for everyone, and especially for allergic people and their families to get reliable information from reputable sources, such as official allergy organizations and specialists. This will help you separate the scientifically proven from the disproven facts, and possibly improve your quality of life it the long run.
Related: Asthmatic Allergy
“Asthma Facts and Figures.”www.aafa.org, AAFA (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America), February 2018, http://www.aafa.org/page/asthma-facts.aspx. Accessed 18 March 2018.
“Common Myths About Allergy and Asthma Exposed.” www.allergy.org.au, ASCIA (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy), https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/about-allergy/common-myths-about-allergy-and-asthma-exposed. Accessed 18 March 2018.
Gupta, Sanjay. “Myths and Facts About Allergic Asthma.” www.everydayhealth.com, Ziff Davis, LLC, 27 Feb. 2014. https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/allergic-asthma-in-adults/sanjay-gupta/allergic-asthma-myths-facts/. Accessed 18 March 2018.
Lipkowitz, Myron A., and Tova Narava. The Encyclopedia of Allergies. Facts on File, Inc., 2001 (second edition), pp. 35, 179-180.
If your child has been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis (eczema), food allergies, asthma, or other conditions, it can be tough to understand how these conditions interact with each other, and how they came to be in the first place.
As a parent, having a child with a medical condition can be stressful, and we are here to help! Our team of experienced and highly-trained professionals can help you navigate daily life and offer better insights into the causes and remedies of your unique symptoms and condition.
Understanding Childhood Allergies
Pediatric allergies can range from atopic dermatitis (eczema) to asthma, hay fever, and food allergies. In recent studies, it was found that if your child was diagnosed with eczema while they were an infant, it was highly possible that this would progress into other conditions in later childhood. These conditions include:
- Allergic Rhinitis (hay fever)
- Food Allergies
Does Eczema cause other Problems?
One study investigated whether early allergy sensitivities increased the progression to other conditions. What they ultimately found was that children who developed eczema during infancy and who also had allergic sensitizations (such as an allergy to food) were 7 times more likely to develop other conditions, like asthma, in later childhood. They also concluded that children with dual conditions were also more likely to develop other conditions such as food allergies and allergic rhinitis (hay fever) for example.
However, this study also concluded that if a child developed eczema without any other allergen sensitivities by their first birthday, they would be at a lower risk of developing asthma or other allergy-associated sensitivities in later childhood.
These conditions are thought to be caused by an irregularity of the gene encoding filaggrin, which is an important skin protein. Unfortunately, this type of genetic testing isn’t readily available in most clinical practices, so alternative approaches for diagnosis may be needed.
What Can Be Done for Children?
Here at Adult and Pediatric Allergy Associates, we understand the discomfort and anxiety that allergies such as atopic dermatitis can bring into your and your children’s lives. Our desert environment, along with foods and even a lack of sufficient allergy awareness plays a major role in the rising number of allergic attacks throughout Arizona. And as you can see, the more we prevent allergies from starting, the better it can be for our growing children!
Our top-rated Phoenix allergy and asthma specialists can help you and your child better understand and manage your allergy symptoms, including the underlying causes and triggers with comprehensive allergy testing here in the Valley. With over 20 years of experience and 5 clinics across the valley, you can be sure to find the absolute best treatment plans for patients of all ages.
If you are tired of the effects of persistent allergic reactions contact us at 602-242-4592 today and discover Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates, P.C. can help!
Spring has Sprung! Are desert allergies wreaking havoc? Learn here which medicine is better to use… Flonase or Zyrtec
There are several antihistamines for allergies on the market today. It can be difficult to choose the one that’s right for your needs. It’s a good idea to take a close look at each one so that you understand what it has to offer.
Two of the most commonly used allergy medications are Flonase® and Zyrtec®. Both have distinct benefits. Each one also has features that may make it a poor choice, depending on your age, health, and other important factors. Both medications are over-the-counter, questions you have concerning either one, can be addressed by your physician.
Flonase is an allergy medication that, by all reports works well in patients who choose to use it. It comes in the form of a nasal spray and has few known side effects. Because it is administered directly into the sinuses, the medication doesn’t travel widely throughout the body.
One of the main drawbacks many people report is nosebleeds. Nosebleeds become more common as usage of the medication increases. Its primary use is the control of upper respiratory allergy symptoms that include sneezing and runny nose. People who have experienced traumatic injuries to their nose or nasal passages shouldn’t use Flonase. It is also believed to arrest the growth rate in children.
Zyrtec is also one of the many popular antihistamines for allergies. It is taken once a day, allowing 24-hour relief of most allergy symptoms. Because the medication is released into the system slowly there is less risk of drowsiness. In addition to being effective at treating common allergy symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose, it also helps to control skin rashes and hives. It offers quick relief of most symptoms and can be taken by both adults and children with few side effects. It can be purchased in liquid form, tablets and dissolving tablets that melt quickly when placed under the tongue. Zyrtec has very few drug interactions and can be taken along with other medications.
Which Antihistamines for Allergies Is the Best?
Both Flonase and Zyrtec are antihistamines for allergies and work well when used by the right people and in the right situations. Everyone is different when it comes to taking medications. Although Zyrtec is extremely popular, it has a tendency to decrease in effectiveness the longer it is used. If you are unsure as to which medication best suits your needs, talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to answer any question you may have and be more equipped to help you choose the right antihistamine for your particular symptoms. Working with your doctor will prevent you from taking a medication you don’t need or overusing one that you do.
If you have questions or concerns about any medication you are taking, especially antihistamines for allergies, contact the medical professionals at Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates. They can answer your questions and get you on the medication to stop the symptoms from reappearing. Don’t risk taking the wrong medication or taking too much of the right one.
Schedule an appointment today to get the answers you need!
Blood Test vs Scratch Test for Allergy Testing – what is the difference?
Orange blossoms are in bloom, and the desert plant foliage is starting to show its beauty! Unfortunately to many Phoenix area residents, this also means a lot of wheezing, coughing, sneezing and fatigue. In order to effectively treat these horrible Arizona allergy symptoms, your doctor needs to find out what you are allergic to.
This is accomplished using two types of allergy testing, a blood test or a scratch test. In some cases, both types of allergy testing may be used. These tests are relatively simple to perform and only take a short amount of time out of your day to complete. Both are extremely effective and the results provide the doctor with a wealth of information.
Allergy Blood Tests- What are they?
Blood tests use samples of your blood to determine what types of antibodies your body is creating. Antibodies are produced when you come in contact with an allergen. An allergen is something that your body is resistant to. When an allergen is present, your body immediately begins to produce antibodies. These antibodies are what triggers the allergy symptoms you feel. During an allergy blood test, your doctor will draw a sample of your blood and run it through a series of tests to find out if any antibodies are present. A blood allergy test can identify several potential allergens, including molds, trees, weeds, grasses, dust, and pet dander.
Allergy Skin Tests
There are two types of skin tests that can be performed to identify potential allergens.
1) The first, and most common of the two types of allergy testing, is the scratch test. The scratch test is normally performed on the back. The patient will be percutaneously scratched with a plastic applicator that will deposit the antigen on the skin. This type of tests offers almost immediate results. The skin will begin to react to the allergen almost immediately, causing the area to become red, inflamed and irritated.
2) The second is normally performed on the upper arm and involves the suspected allergen being injected into the skin.
Which Type of Allergy Testing Method Is Best?
According to health line, Both types of allergy testing are extremely effective and produce accurate results. The difference is in the type of allergens that a person is being tested for. If a person has primarily systemic reactions, such as those associated with foods, a blood test is normally used. While a reaction to the skin may appear, it may not be intense enough to cause the doctor to take note of it.
Although blood tests are accurate in determining some of the most common allergens reported, skin/scratch tests are commonly the method most used in determining whether they are a problem. Part of the reason for this is the immediate results produced by the scratch test. It identifies the allergen almost immediately. It also gives an indication of the severity of the allergic reaction by the intensity of reaction on the skin.
When you visit Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates, PC, because of possible allergy symptoms, the first thing they will do is take steps to identify potential allergens.
- This will involve an extensive Q&A about your symptoms and then allergy testing.
- Once they understand what you are allergic to, a treatment plan will be created and your symptoms will be treated.
Allergies can have a direct impact on your quality of life, especially if they are severe. Don’t waste another gorgeous spring day in Arizona feeling miserable. Please call 602-242-4592 and schedule an evaluation today at one of our 5 clinics to find out what is causing your allergies and how they can be treated.
It’s time to get your allergies under control and begin to live your life again!
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!