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By The Allergy Center, PA
January 15, 2021
Category: Asthma
Tags: Asthma   Wintertime   Cold Weather  
How the Cold Affects Your AsthmaDoes the wintertime cause you to deal with frequent asthma flare-ups?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that causes inflammation of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Certain factors can trigger your symptoms. It’s important to recognize your asthma triggers so you can avoid them as much as possible. Along with exercise and stress, you may find that your asthma is aggravated by cold weather. Cold weather is a common problem for people with asthma and can make symptoms worse.

Why?

So, it’s not actually the coldness of the weather itself that can lead to restricted airways and trouble breathing in those with asthma. It’s actually the dryness in the cold air. Your nose and mouth typically warm up the air before it hits the lungs, but when the air is too cold, your nose and mouth may not be able to fully warm up the air before it reaches the lungs.

If you also enjoy running or exercising outdoors, this can lead to a double whammy of asthma symptoms. To protect yourself, you may wish to bring your physical activities indoors and limit exposure to the outdoor elements during the winter months.

How do I know that cold and dry air is a trigger?

Some of the most common asthma symptoms include,
  • A persistent cough (that may get worse at night)
  • Chest tightness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
These symptoms typically occur fairly quickly after being in cold weather. Fortunately, you may notice that your symptoms go away or lessen once you go back inside. If your asthma is more severe, you may need a rescue inhaler to ease your symptoms, even once you’re indoors.

How do I manage my cold weather-related asthma problems?

Along with taking your everyday controller inhaler, which reduces inflammation in the lungs and airways, a rescue inhaler is going to provide you with short but fast relief when your asthma symptoms flare-up. If you don’t have a rescue inhaler, or you don’t find that your current rescue inhaler lessens your symptoms, it’s important to talk with your allergist and asthma doctor right away.

It’s important to avoid cold, dry weather as much as possible. If you must go outside, make sure that you can easily get back inside as much as possible. You may even wish to wear a covering over your nose and mouth before going outside.

If you are noticing any changes in your asthma or you have questions about living with asthma, an allergist and asthma specialist can provide you with the answers and specialized care you need. Schedule an appointment today and have someone on your team that can help you get your asthma under control.
By The Allergy Center, PA
December 29, 2020
Category: Medical Condition
Bronchitis causes inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which are responsible for delivering air to the lungs. Bronchitis is incredibly common, affecting millions of American adults each year. While anyone can develop bronchitis, those with asthma are more at risk. In fact, asthmatic bronchitis occurs because a person has asthma, which already constricts the vessels within the lungs. The symptoms of both asthma, bronchitis, and asthmatic bronchitis are fairly similar and may get confused for one another. These symptoms include,
  • Wheezing
  • Trouble breathing/shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Mild fever
It’s easy to assume that bronchitis is actually a flare-up of asthma symptoms, which is why you should see an asthma specialist so they can perform certain function tests. It’s a good idea to see a doctor if your symptoms don’t improve with an inhaler, your symptoms get worse, or your fever goes over 102 degrees F. While it may be challenging to pinpoint whether your symptoms are stemming from asthma or bronchitis, our asthma specialist will be able to provide the proper testing to determine what’s going on and how to best treat it.
 
What causes asthmatic bronchitis?

While bronchitis can develop from an infection, it can also be caused by certain environmental or lifestyle triggers including,
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Certain chemicals
  • Outdoor or indoor allergens
  • Certain medications
  • Exercise
  • Changes in weather
When you come into the office, we will perform certain tests to measure lung function as well as how quickly a person can force air out of their lungs. If you are coughing or experiencing breathing problems, a chest X-ray may also be performed.
 
How is asthmatic bronchitis treated?

If you are diagnosed with asthmatic bronchitis the good news is that it’s treated the same way as you would asthma or regular bronchitis. Common treatment options include:
  • A fast-acting inhaler (also known as a rescue inhaler)
  • Long-acting corticosteroid and bronchodilator
  • A humidifier
  • Lifestyle changes such as placing a HEPA air filter in your home and washing bedclothes regularly in hot water
Your asthma specialist can provide you with simple lifestyle changes you can make to avoid certain asthma bronchitis triggers to prevent another flare-up. If a bacterial infection is to blame, your doctor will most likely also prescribe antibiotics.
 
If you have asthma, it’s even more important that you have an asthma specialist that you are turning to for care and monitoring. They can also help you prevent bronchitis by providing you with helpful strategies and tips to keep you safe and healthy all year long.
By The Allergy Center, PA
December 10, 2020
Category: Allergy
Tags: Itchy Skin  
Finding at-Home Relief for Itchy SkinItchy skin can be a real nuisance. Perhaps you notice your skin getting itchier during the colder, drier months, or perhaps this is a sign that you could be dealing with skin allergies. If your itchy skin is also accompanied by redness or itching, then these could very well be signs of a skin allergy. If you suspect a skin allergy it might be time to consult an allergist who can run the appropriate tests to determine what’s causing your symptoms. Knowing what you’re allergic to can also help lessen the likelihood of exposure and flare-ups.

If you do have skin allergies here are some ways to alleviate that itchy skin:

Avoid the Allergen

This might sound rather obvious, but it still bears mentioning. It is important to figure out what’s causing your symptoms so that you can take the necessary precautions to avoid it. It could mean having to switch all your detergents so they are fragrance-free, or you may need to stop wearing certain jewelry. Not sure what is causing your symptoms? Don’t worry; an allergist can provide you with answers through a simple blood or skin prick test.

Cool it Down

Cold compresses can make a world of difference, whether you’re dealing with an itchy rash caused by eczema or you came in contact with poison ivy. Apply the cool compress or hop into a cool shower to help reduce some of the heat and discomfort that may be emanating from your skin. Make sure to follow cold compresses up with a gentle moisturizer.

Try a Topical Cream

There are various creams and lotions out there that can also help to take the itch away. You may choose to apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone, depending on the cause of your symptoms. While these won’t fix the problem, they can certainly provide you with fast-acting relief.

Soak in an Oatmeal Bath

Oatmeal isn’t just soothing for your tummy, it can also be soothing for red, inflamed, and itchy skin. Whether you were exposed to poison oak or you have eczema, oatmeal baths can provide soothing relief. Colloidal oatmeal also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and can help with itching and dry skin.

If you are dealing with itchy, red, and inflamed skin throughout the year it’s worth seeing an allergist for testing. An allergist can not only diagnose your allergies but also provide you with a customized treatment plan to help you get your symptoms under control for clearer, healthier skin.
By The Allergy Center, PA
November 25, 2020
Category: Allergy
Tags: Hay Fever  
Hay FeverHay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, affects millions of children and around 20 million adults. Of course, it can be easy to mix up the symptoms of hay fever with other problems such as a cold or sinus infection. Wondering if you are dealing with hay fever? Here are the telltale signs:
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Red, watery, or itchy eyes
  • Postnasal drip
  • Swelling under the eyes
  • Fatigue
With hay fever, you may notice your symptoms occurring during certain times of the year. For example, people who are allergic to tree pollen or grass will notice hay fever symptoms getting worse around the spring and summer months, while those allergic to ragweed will notice symptoms flaring up in the fall.

How do I know if it’s hay fever and not a cold?

We know that many respiratory conditions present with the same group of symptoms, so it can be difficult to know whether it’s just a cold that will pass you by or it’s hay fever allergies. Here’s how to spot the difference:

Check the nasal discharge: While it might sound a little unpleasant, checking the color of your nasal discharge can clue you in on whether you are dealing with hay fever or a cold. Hay fever will produce clear discharge while a cold or any kind of nasal infection will lead to yellowish or greenish discharge.

Itching: If you are dealing with an itchy throat or eyes these are usually symptoms of hay fever and not a cold.

Sore throat: Dealing with a sore throat? If so, this is probably a sign that you are about to get a cold. If you’ve been noticing a mild sore throat along with runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing then it’s most likely a cold rather than hay fever.

How do you treat hay fever?

If your symptoms are only slightly irritating, then you may be able to get away with taking an over-the-counter antihistamine and altering your lifestyle to accommodate those times of the year when hay fever symptoms seem to rear their ugly head.

However, if you aren’t sure whether you are dealing with hay fever, or if your symptoms are serious, then you should talk with your allergist about a prescription medication that can help alleviate symptoms. An allergist can provide you with antihistamines, steroid nasal sprays, and decongestants.

If you find yourself constantly rubbing your eyes, wiping your nose, or dealing with sinus pressure then you should talk with an allergist about whether you could be dealing with hay fever and how to get this problem under control. 
By The Allergy Center, PA
November 10, 2020
Category: Allergy
Tags: Food Allergies  
Food AllergiesApproximately 32 million people in the US have food allergies. While many allergic reactions to food are relatively minor, some people experience anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction to certain foods. While there is no cure for food allergies, an allergist and asthma specialist will be able to pinpoint which food allergies you’re dealing with so you know how to avoid allergic reactions in the future.

There are Hundreds of Food Allergies

While there are more than 160 foods that can cause an allergic reaction, the majority of allergic reactions occur from these eight foods:
  • Shellfish
  • Fish
  • Tree nuts
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans
  • Peanuts
  • Eggs
  • Milk
Spot the Symptoms of Food Allergies

Symptoms can appear anywhere from a couple of minutes to two hours after eating the offending food. Those with allergic reactions to certain foods may experience:
  • Flushed skin
  • Rash
  • Itching or tingling of the mouth or lips
  • Facial swelling
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hives
Know When Food Allergies are Dangerous

While the symptoms above are fairly common and typically mild, it’s important to recognize when your food allergies are possibly dangerous and require prompt medical attention. More serious allergic reactions can lead to:
  • Swelling of the throat
  • Trouble breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
If you or a child is experiencing symptoms of anaphylaxis it is important to call 911 right away. In these more severe cases, your allergist may prescribe an EpiPen, which automatically injects epinephrine into the body to stop the allergic reaction. This type of medication is only used for more severe allergic reactions.

You Need to See an Allergist

While talking over your symptoms with a doctor may shed light as to whether or not you’re actually dealing with a food allergy, the only way to get a proper diagnosis is to see a board-certified allergist. An allergist can go through your medical history, discuss the symptoms you are experiencing and perform appropriate skin and blood tests to determining which food allergies you’re dealing with.

If you are concerned that you or your child may be dealing with food allergies, an asthma doctor and allergist is the perfect medical professional to turn to for extensive allergy testing and treatment. Don’t let food allergies ruin your love for food. An allergist can help. 




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