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10 Common Myths about Allergies and Asthma

10 Common Myths about Allergies and Asthma

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

Sources

“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.

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Does Eczema in Children increase the risk of Allergies

Does Eczema in Children increase the risk of Allergies

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

Normal Skin VS Eczema Skin

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)
  • Asthma
  • 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!

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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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