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Desert Plants Causing Havoc for Arizona Allergy Suffers

Desert Plants Causing Havoc for Arizona Allergy Suffers

While many people move to a desert area to find relief from their allergies, a desert environment might actually trigger allergies. In fact, at least a third of those who live in the Phoenix area experience some level of what is commonly known as “hay fever.” Hay fever means your body is reacting to pollens or mold of some type, and these reactions can take the form of sneezing, watery eyes and nose, congestion or itchiness.

Ragweed Allergies PhoenixRagweed is one of the most common allergy-inducing plants across the United States and Phoenix has over a dozen native species of ragweed.

Ragweed is a perennial weed (in other words- it will affect allergy sufferers who have problems with it YEAR-ROUND)! Contact with the ragweed pollen can lead to coughing, wheezing, swollen eyelids, itchy eyes, itchy throat and ears, sneezing, hives and other rashes.

Other trees in the state of Arizona which could potentially lead to Hay fever include:

  • Russian Thistle is a tumbleweed which many people are sensitive to, causing skin rashes and other allergic reactions following exposure
  • African Sumac is a tree which can cause unrelenting sneezing among many people in the area.
  • Feather Palm and Desert Fan Palm—like many palm trees, both the feather palm and the desert fan palm shed an immense amount of pollen which can lead to serious allergy symptoms.
  • Cottonwood tree allergies are not as common as you might think with all the cottony fluff which falls from the trees each year, however those who are allergic to cottonwoods are typically very allergic—and may also be allergic to willows as well.
  • Desert Broom grows in disturbed soil; the cotton-like seed plumes fly away in the wind, causing allergies among many.
  • Arizona Sycamore is a tree which is typically considered a moderate allergen, although some people will react more strongly to the sycamore pollens.
  • Chinese Elm allergies are caused by the pollen which is carried by the wind in the fall months. Chinese elm pollen is considered a moderate allergen.
  • Arizona Ash will typically cause allergic reactions among those who are also sensitive to Olive tree pollen.
  • Arizona Sycamore trees flower between March and June, and are often seen in Arizona parks and streets. Similar to the California Sycamore, the Arizona Sycamore causes allergic reactions among some residents.
  • Hackberry can cause allergic reactions among those who are close in proximity and who have continued exposure. While Hackberry is in the same family as elm (very allergenic), it does not cause the extreme level of allergies among most people.
  • Juniper trees are a common source of allergies due to the pollen they create and those with Juniper allergies are also likely to be allergic to Cedar and Cypress tree pollen.
  • Mesquite is a serious offender in the southwest, producing considerable levels of airborne pollen. Those with Mesquite allergies may suffer from nasal inflammation, nasal congestion, sneezing, scratchy throats, contact dermatitis and even asthma.
  • Bermuda grass, while well-suited to the Arizona desert, is a more significant allergen than most other grasses, causing itchy eyes, runny noses and sneezing.

And other common allergens found in Phoenix

Because many parts of Arizona are dry, receiving little rain, dust is a given. During certain times, especially during our monsoon season (usually June through August),Phoenix area residents experience severe dust storms and dust devils, and they are on the rise.

pollen allergies

For those with allergies, desert dust is never good news, as it has an effect on respiratory systems, causing coughing, wheezing and watery, itchy eyes. Air pollution can also be a problem, particularly for those who live in the Phoenix metro area, which sits in a valley, allowing the pollutants to just hang around.

Contact Our Phoenix Allergy Specialists

If you’re suffering from allergies, we can help. Our allergy doctors have helped thousands of patients in Arizona breathe a little easier. You deserve to live a life that is free of allergy attacks. Find an allergy and asthma clinic near you.

We serve patients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Avondale, and Anthem. Call today at 602-242-4592, or book an appointment immediately online here!

See also related article about top allergens in the Valley:

High Desert Asthma and Allergies- Advice from Asthma Specialists

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Does Your Child Get Enough Sleep?

Does Your Child Get Enough Sleep?

Children of all ages need adequate sleep for proper growth and development. When they consistently don’t get enough sleep, kids display more problem behavior, do worse in school, and get sick more often due to a weakened immune system. Since the sleep habits that a child develops by age 5 will carry through to adulthood, it’s essential to develop healthy habits early in life.

Are your child getting enough sleep

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in a 2015 report that infants need 16 to 18 hours of sleep per day. Recommendations for other age groups include:

  • Toddlers: 12 to 14 hours
  • Preschoolers: 11 to 12 hours
  • Elementary students: 10 hours
  • Teenagers: 9 hours
  • Adults can typically function well on 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night

Teaching Your Child Good Sleep Habits

The younger the child, the more you may battle him or her to go to bed each night. Just when you need some time to yourself, your child starts whining, throws a tantrum, or tries one stalling technique after another to avoid hitting the hay. It seems like most kids fear they’re going to miss something exciting by going to bed. They’re also too young to appreciate that a good night’s sleep is necessary for physical and emotional health.

Creating a nighttime routine and sticking to it helps your child learn what you expect when it’s time for bed. That doesn’t mean he or she won’t fight you on it, but consistency pays off eventually. For a preschool-aged child, the routine could include taking a bath, brushing teeth, getting into pajamas, and reading a story with you. Children who are afraid of the dark do better with a nightlight in their room. After completing the bedtime routine, give your child a kiss goodnight and leave the room despite any protests.

Sleeping Independently is the Goal

Children of preschool age and younger naturally need their parents to help them follow a bedtime routine. Once they get older than that, you can make it a goal to have them get ready and go to bed with minimal prompting from you. That may not happen every night, so be sure to praise any efforts towards independence that your child displays. Your praise sends a message to your child that you believe he or she can do it. Since most kids delight in pleasing their parents, your child will feel eager to show you again the next night how grownup he or she is becoming.

Don’t be afraid to speak to your pediatrician if sleep continues to be a battle at your house despite your best efforts. Your child’s doctor could have some ideas that you might have never considered.

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Five Fruits That Will Increase Your Nutrient Intake

A variety of fruits is important to your diet if you want to benefit from as many nutrients as you can. Not only will they help you stay trim, but also fruit can help you stay much healthier, and prevent colds. While many offer similar nutrients, they each have their own unique vitamins and minerals. Here are five fruits you should incorporate into your diet.

Stay much healthier with fruits

  1. Blackberries

Blackberries might be small, but they are packed with nutrients. They are a source of vitamins C and K as well as fiber, flavanols, magnesium, antioxidants, and manganese. Antioxidants help to protect the body against cancers by fighting free radicals that damage cells. Magnesium helps to produce energy, prevent migraines, and calm nerves. Vitamin C plays many roles in the body. It keeps skin looking young and healthy. It promotes eye health and strengthens the immune system. Vitamin C also helps the body to absorb iron and heal wounds.

  1. Pineapple

Pineapple is a source of vitamins C, B1 (thiamin), and B6, and manganese, potassium, magnesium, copper, and bromelain. B6 helps to improve mood, support brain function, and help to treat anemia. Copper is a trace mineral that is especially important to the liver, kidneys, and brain. Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory, which helps to reduce swelling in the body. Swelling can lead to pain, arthritis, and even ulcers.

  1. Bananas

Bananas are helpful for improving mood. They contain tryptophan, which converts to serotonin. Serotonin helps to fights depression and anxiety and reduce mood changes. Bananas also contain vitamins A and B6, potassium, and antioxidants. Vitamin A plays a role in eye health. It helps to improve night vision and prevent macular degeneration. Potassium is important in producing energy, reducing blood pressure, preventing stroke, and provide water balance.

  1. Pears

Pears are a good source of folate, boron, magnesium, and vitamins K and C. Boron is a mineral that plays a role in estrogen production, bone health, and prevention of arthritis. Folate (also known as folic acid and B9) is important for preventing birth defects such as spina bifida. A deficiency in folate may cause grey hair and fatigue. Vitamin K plays an important role in helping wounds to heal. It also helps to transport calcium throughout the body.

  1. Blueberries

Blueberries are one of the most nutritious berries you can eat. They might be tiny, but their benefits are not. Blueberries contain more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables. Blueberries may also play a role in lowering blood pressure, preventing heart disease, slowing the aging process, and improving brain function. They contain fibre, manganese, and vitamins C and K. Blueberries also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for protecting the eyes from macular degeneration.

Adding a variety of fruits to your diet will increase the amount of nutrients your body receives. This will improve your health and help to prevent illness and disease, and hopefully be another prevention against allergies!

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Gluten-Free Diet: Alternatives to Wheat in Menu Planning

If you suffer from celiac disease or a milder form of wheat intolerance allergy, planning a menu can become significantly more difficult. However, with growing numbers of people reporting some level of food allergy symptoms (wheat & being allergic to peanuts being quite common), it’s becoming easier than ever to eat well without feeling too restricted.

Gluten Free Oats

Cutting Out the Wheat when allergic to wheat

Here are some alternatives to wheat to build a healthy, delicious, and gluten-free diet around. And of course, we recommend that you see a gastroenterologist as well,  since these doctors specialize in celiac disease and are the best ones to diagnose it. 

Rice Flour

Rice flour is an excellent alternative to traditional wheat-based flours. This fine, starchy flour can thicken sauces and soups and is also a great substitute for using in baked goods. Just like wheat flour, rice flour’s mild flavor will not overpower your dish.

Corn Tortillas

In Arizona, corn tortillas and authentic Mexican tortillas can be found everywhere, at any grocery store. Plus, these easy-to-find snacks are extremely affordable. Corn tortillas are a great alternative to flour-based wraps and breads. The sweet, earthy flavor complements just about anything, so you needn’t stick to eating these only when making Tex-Mex food!

Baked Tortilla Chips

Baked Tortilla ChipsTortilla chips are a delicious gluten-free snack on their own. With a bowl of salsa or guacamole on the side, you can have a yummy snack that will satisfy your cravings. Tortilla chips are also extremely versatile in the gluten-free kitchen. Crushed tortilla chips make an excellent breading alternative for dishes like fried chicken and coconut shrimp. Plus, ground tortilla chips can work as a thickening agent for sauces and soups while offering a slightly sweeter flavor than flour.

Quinoa Pasta

Up until recently, those who avoided gluten had a difficult time finding an alternative to wheat pasta in the grocery store. However, quinoa pasta is now widely available in major outlets across the country. Quinoa pasta requires about the same cooking time as traditional wheat pasta, and its flavor and texture is basically indistinguishable from the original. 

Brown Rice

Brown rice is an excellent and nutrient-rich alternative to gluten-filled side dishes. You can enjoy brown rice on its own or use flour produced from it to make breads and pastas.

Popcorn

PopcornPopcorn is a delicious gluten-free snack that is extremely filling without necessarily being heavy on the fat and sugar. With just a little salt and olive oil, a big bowl of popcorn can be deeply satisfying.

Tamari Sauce

Many people are unaware that soy sauce contains gluten, which when combined with the ubiquitous noodles can make Chinese food a minefield for wheat allergy sufferers. Luckily, there is an alternative to soy sauce called tamari. Like soy sauce, tamari adds deliciously savory ‘umami’ flavor to any dish, yet contains no gluten whatsoever. If you’re an avid sushi or oriental food lover, tamari will be your new best friend.

Gluten-Free Oats

If you like your morning oatmeal, gluten-free oats provide the same texture and flavor as the traditional version. Plus, these oats can serve other purposes as well. For instance, if your meatloaf recipe calls for breadcrumbs, gluten-free oats make an excellent substitute.

Suffering from a wheat allergy can make life complicated in the kitchen, but if you want to avoid the unpleasant or dangerous symptoms, then it’s essential to cut out gluten completely. Luckily, these days there are many alternatives, and so there’s no need to feel your enjoyment of food is being restricted by your dietary requirements.

By the way, if you, or your loved one are needing food allergy testing, please contact one of our local Phoenix Metro offices for an appointment with one of our allergy specialists!

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5 FAQS to Know about Allergies and Allergists

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:

.   asthma

.   hay fever

.   sinusitis

.   rashes

.   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.

References

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

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