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By The Allergy Center, PA
June 25, 2020
Category: Medical Condition
Tags: Asthma  
AsthmaThe CDC reports one out of every 13 Americans has asthma, and 25 million sufferers are children. If you suspect you or a loved one have asthma, get the treatment you need from your primary care physician or a recommended lung specialist. Know the signs and symptoms of this chronic respiratory ailment so you can manage it successfully.
 
What is asthma?
Asthma is an autoimmune condition that causes acute and chronic inflammation of the airway. As the airway and lungs are exposed to triggers in the environment, the airway constricts and produces a copious amount of mucus. Breathing becomes labored, and blood oxygenation drops.
 
What are its signs and symptoms?
Potentially, any asthma attack can be deadly. That's why being proactive about treatment and knowing symptoms and triggers is critical. Symptoms of an acute asthma attack are:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Cough (particularly night time coughing)
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing
Severe attacks include lung sounds called rhonchi which your doctor can hear as he or she uses a stethoscope to listen to your breath sounds. You may experience panic, look very pale, and sweat profusely.
 
Early on, you may feel as though you have a cold with a combination of milder symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose. Your doctor may ask you to measure your peak expiratory flow, says the Cleveland Clinic. Your asthma attack is worsening when your peak flow (amount of air you can blow out in a single breath) decreases below a level appropriate to your age, gender, and size.
 
Managing asthma
The key to managing asthma is knowing what triggers your asthma symptoms, how to avoid them, and how to treat an acute attack. Triggers include cold or flu, cigarette smoke, cold air, exercise, or even stress. Your primary care physician may refer you to an allergist for testing as common allergens, such as pollen or animal dander, often start an acute episode.
 
Also, your doctor may want you to:
  • Use a maintenance medication to reduce inflammation in your lungs
  • Take a course of oral or IV medication for severe flare-ups
  • Track your symptoms and daily peak flow
  • Follow an asthma action plan when symptoms start (share this with family members, teachers, and the school nurse as needed)
Living well with asthma
Asthma is not curable, but you can manage your symptoms, stay healthy, and feel good. Talk to your primary care physician. He or she is the best partner in your asthma care.
By The Allergy Center, PA
June 12, 2020
Category: Medical Condition
Tags: Asthma Attack  
AsthmaAsthma is a medical condition where inflammation obstructs air from leaving and entering the lungs. When a person is having an asthma attack, they struggle to even draw a full breath. The chest starts to tighten and breathing quickens. It’s a very scary experience. Learning what triggers an asthma attack can help you avoid it. 
 
What Is an Asthma Attack?
When a person is having an asthma attack, the muscles around the bronchial tubes tighten. These narrow passages make it incredibly hard to breathe. Other accompanying symptoms include wheezing and a rattling sound in the chest. 
 
How long the attack lasts varies. It depends on what triggered it and how badly the bronchial tubes are inflamed. A mild attack only lasts a few minutes and is resolved with an inhaler. A severe attack can go on for hours or even days. 
 
The Major Causes of an Asthma Attack
An asthma attack occurs when a person is exposed to their allergens. Common examples are grass or weed pollen, dust mites, trees, animal dander, and cockroaches. Some people react badly to certain smells, like perfume. Extreme weather, like humidity, can also affect your lungs. 
 
Certain illnesses increase your chances of an attack too. Mainly the ones that affect your respiratory symptoms, like sinusitis, the flu, or an upper respiratory infection. This includes aggravating your lungs by vigorously exercising.  
 
Pay attention to your body’s warning signs that an attack is coming on. You’ll notice an increased need for your inhaler, shortness of breath, a lingering cough, and problems exercising. 
 
Asthma Triggers in Children
Children experience asthma attacks more frequently and severely than adults. These triggers are extremely dangerous for young children:
  • Laughing or crying
  • Extended exercise
  • Cold air
  • Strong smells 
  • Smoke
  • Animal dander, pollen, or dust mites
When people think of allergies, the images that come to mind are sneezing and runny noses. Though this is true, there are other types of allergic reactions as well. Patients with severe allergies that are exposed to their allergen are put in extreme danger. It can lead to anaphylaxis, where the airways begin to close. The important thing when you or a loved one begin experiencing a severe reaction is to stay calm. Learn what you should and shouldn’t do in this situation by scheduling an appointment with your allergist.
 
What Are Allergies?
Your immune system protects your body from unwanted pathogens. It’s what keeps you safe and healthy! Yet sometimes your body can overcompensate. When detecting a substance like pollen, your immune system will identify it as an invader and kickstart an allergic reaction. People experience a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and itchy eyes. 
 
Every patient reacts differently. Certain allergens also produce different effects. Allergens that cause contact symptoms can leave your skin red, irritated, and peeling. Others can create hives and bumps across your body. Even certain airborne allergens can create asthma, a tightening of the airways. It’s important to take the initiative and talk to your allergist about your symptoms. This is the best way to find a successful treatment. 
 
Severe Allergic Reactions
Anaphylaxis is a severe reaction to encountering an allergen. It mainly happens as a result of an insect sting, medication, latex, or food. The severity of the symptoms is what separates it from other allergic reactions. Patients will experience side effects across the entire body. 
 
Be on the lookout for these symptoms:
  • Swelling of the tongue, lips, and throat
  • Rash outbreak
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tightening of the throat
  • Cramps
  • Abdominal distress
You need to act quickly in the face of a severe reaction to avoid anaphylaxis. Patients who have previously been diagnosed should have an EpiPen with them or nearby. Epinephrine is the only medication that can reverse an allergic reaction. Depending on your symptoms, your allergist may want you to use epinephrine even when things are mild. 
 
What Should I Do If I’m Having a Severe Allergic Reaction?
  • Use epinephrine as prescribed by your allergist. This often means using it at the first sign of a severe reaction.
  • The next step is to call 911. Tell them that you have had a severe reaction and injected yourself with epinephrine. 
  • Either go in the ambulance or get a ride to the emergency room. This is important even if your symptoms start to subside. You may need further treatment or evaluation to make sure everything is under control.
In the emergency room, your medical team will give a few medications to help stop or relieve the symptoms of anaphylaxis. Steroids bring down your body’s inflammation levels after an attack. These are given either orally or intravenously. Steroids stop your reaction from starting up again. Antihistamines block your body’s production of histamine, the chemical released during an allergic reaction. 
By The Allergy Center, PA
May 21, 2020
Category: Allergy
Tags: Allergies   Cold  

Your alarm goes off in the morning and you get up to start your day. Yet right away, something doesn’t feel right. Your nose is runny, your sinuses congested, and your eyes are itchy and red. Time to ask yourself: Is this a cold or allergies? For many patients, this distinction isn’t clear. That’s why it’s important to schedule an appointment with your local allergist. These are trained medical professionals dedicated to knowing the difference. Learn more about how to tell if you have a cold or a simple case of allergies. 

Allergies vs. a Cold

These are two fundamentally different conditions even though they create the same result. Contracting a virus causes your body to have a cold. Allergies are the immune system's response to an allergen like pollen or dander. Your body identifies this substance as a threat and kickstarts a response. There is a wide range of allergens and everyone reacts differently to them. 

Allergy Symptoms

  • Pay attention to the color of your mucus. It seems gross, but it’s important. Allergies cause your snot to be clear and runny. Yellow or green mucus indicates an infection or cold. 
  • Red or itchy eyes aren’t a cold symptom. This is a key identifying factor between a cold and allergies. 
  • When you have a cold, you eventually start to feel better. Allergies create the same symptoms at the same threshold every day. You won’t get better or worse. 
  • How long have you been feeling sick? A cold clears up within two weeks. On the other hand, allergies can last for a whole season if left untreated. 
  • Spring and fall are the worst times for allergies. If you find yourself sneezing more in certain times of the year or situations, consider the possibility of allergies. 

Cold Symptoms

  • A low-grade fever, headache, body pains, and a cough are not signs of allergies. Every cold creates different symptoms, so pay attention to how you’re feeling. 
  • As mentioned before, when your body is fighting a cold or infection, your mucus changes color. Your immune cells transform your snot into a thick, green, yellow substance. 
  • Are your symptoms changing every few days? When you're sick, your condition will change. You may have a stuffy nose one day and a sore throat the next. This change is caused by both the virus progressing and your immune system responding to it. 

What Should I Do Now? 

If you suspect that you have allergies, contact your local allergist right away. Easy and advanced testing identifies what you’re allergic to. From there, your allergist works with you to find an appropriate treatment. If you have a fever over 101 F or symptoms that don’t improve after ten days, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Your body might need something stronger to fight off the infection. 

By The Allergy Center, PA
May 04, 2020
Category: Allergy
Spring is the season of new life, with plants everywhere beginning to bloom. The only downside to this is the rise in springtime allergies and their symptoms. Leaving allergies untreated leads to allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever. The best way to avoid this is through preventive actions and early treatment. Learn how you can treat allergies simply and efficiently from the comfort of your own home. 
 
What Are Springtime Allergies?
Plants begin to produce pollen in late February. Once the weather warms up, grass pollen along with other kinds of pollen jump into action. The body encounters these materials and identifies them as a threat, creating an autoimmune response. There is no known cause for what triggers this response. Symptoms include sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose.
 
Here are some of the possible spring tree allergens:
  • Birch
  • Ash
  • Elm
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Western Red Cedar
Grass pollen to be on the lookout for:
  • Bluegrass
  • Orchard
  • Bermuda
  • Timothy
  • Sweet Vernal
  • Red Top
Solutions for Spring Allergies
Talking to a specialist who deals with allergies and asthma is a great first step. They can point you in the right direction for treatment. Don’t wait until your allergies are already here in full to start. Here are some simple ways to get started. 
 
  • Invest in over-the-counter treatments. These include oral antihistamines, nasal sprays, nasal decongestants, and eye drops. This helps reduce or minimize the aggravating results of allergies.
  • Start spring cleaning before the season kicks into full swing. Deep clean everything in your home, from floors and rugs to light fixtures. This gets rid of any dust or pollen that has made its way indoors. 
  • Track pollen levels by using weather apps or other sources. Avoid spending too much time outside on high pollen days. You should also avoid the time when pollen is at its peak, which is early evening and midmorning. 
  • Though it’s hard when the weather is nice, we recommend keeping your windows closed during the spring. Opening them allows for allergens to get in.
  • Pay attention to the humidity levels in your home. These conditions are a perfect breeding ground for mold. Investigate common areas like under the sink for any signs of it. Mold is a severe allergen trigger. Invest in a dehumidifier to keep the levels in your house under control.




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