Anaphylaxis

Allergy Doctor, Atlanta, Peachtree City, Georgia 

Video Courtesy of Mayo Clinic.

Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening reaction that can occur after being exposed to certain including foods, insect stings, medications, or latex.  Anaphylactic reactions often involve swelling, hives, reduced blood pressure, and in some severe cases, shock.  Warning signs include rash, flushing, swelling, wheezing, lightheadedness, chest or throat tightening, trouble breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea.

If you have had an anaphylactic reaction in the past, the best ways to avoid a future emergency are to avoid your known allergens, and to keep autoinjectible epinephrine (an Epi Pen) on hand.

Avoiding allergens can be easier said than done.  Click here for tips from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology on how to avoid common food allergens.

Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)

Allergy Doctor, Atlanta, Peachtree City, Georgia
Allergy Doctor, Atlanta, Peachtree City, Georgia

Allergic Rhinitis

Two forms of rhinitis (hay fever) exist: allergic and non-allergic.  In allergic rhinitis, your immune system identifies and targets harmless substances (allergens) as if they were harmful.  Your body releases histamine and other chemicals that irritate the nose, throat, eyes, ears, skin, and mouth.  Seasonal allergens involved in allergic rhinitis include pollen, dust, mold, pet dander, dust mite and cockroach droppings, smoke, and even strong odors.  Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include itchy or stuffy nose, sneezing, tearing eyes, and dark circles under the eyes, which often worsen during the spring and fall.  Allergic rhinitis can be identified through skin prick testing, patch testing, and blood testing.

People with non-allergic rhinitis experience runny nose and congestion, but they do not have allergies and the immune system is not involved.  These symptoms sometimes occur year round.

Once allergic rhinitis and the responsible allergens have been identified, your allergist will help determine which treatment will be most effective.  They may recommend immunotherapy (allergy shots) or rush immunotherapy, sublingual allergy tablets, or medications like antihistamines.  If non-allergic rhinitis has been identified, then treatment options like nasal corticosteroids, nasal antihistamines, or nasal formulations may be recommended.

Read more at http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/rhinitis.aspx

Rhinitis Facts:

  • Allergic rhinitis affects approximately 50 million people in the United States, and its prevalence is increasing affecting as many as 30 percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children.
  • 16.9 million adults and 6.7 million children have been diagnosed with hay fever in the last year.
  • More than 13.4 million visits to physician offices, hospital outpatient departments and emergency departments were due to allergic rhinitis.
  • Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal or perennial. Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis occur in spring, summer and/or early fall. They are usually caused by allergic sensitivity to pollens from trees, grasses or weeds, or to airborne mold spores. People with perennial allergic rhinitis experience symptoms year-round. It is generally caused by sensitivity to house dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches and/or mold spores. Underlying or hidden food allergies rarely cause perennial nasal symptoms.
  • Once diagnosed, allergic rhinitis treatment options are: avoidance, eliminating or decreasing your exposure to the irritants or allergens that trigger your symptoms, medication and immunotherapy (allergy shots).
  • Immunotherapy (allergy shots) helps reduce hay fever symptoms in about 85 percent of people with allergic rhinitis.

Conditions & Procedures

Allergy & Asthma Doctor, Peachtree City, Marietta , Georgia

Conditions We Treat

  • Adverse Drug Reactions
  • Angioedema
  • Asthma
  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • Allergies (Seasonal, Food, Environmental)
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Aspirin Allergy and Desensitization
  • Chronic Cough
  • Cough from Allergies
  • Dry Eyes from Allergic Rhinitis
  • Dry Throat and Runny Nose
  • Eczema
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis
  • Eosinophilic Disorders
  • Food Allergy
  • Food Intolerance (Comprehensive Diagnosis and Management)
  • Environmental Allergies
  • Functional Medicine
  • Headaches, Fatigue and Cold Symptoms
  • Hives/Urticaria
  • Immunodeficiency
  • Integrative Medicine
  • Recurrent Infections
  • Sinus and Nasal Infections
  • Sinusitis (Acute)
  • Sinusitis (Chronic)
  • Skin Rashes
  • Sneezing (Frequent and Prolonged)
  • Stuffy Nose
  • Vocal Cord Dysfunction
  • Wheezing

Procedures We Offer

Conditions We Treat

  • Adverse Drug Reactions
  • Angioedema
  • Asthma
  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • Allergies (Seasonal, Food, Environmental)
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Aspirin Allergy and Desensitization
  • Chronic Cough
  • Cough from Allergies
  • Dry Eyes from Allergic Rhinitis
  • Dry Throat and Runny Nose
  • Eczema
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis
  • Eosinophilic Disorders
  • Food Allergy
  • Food Intolerance (Comprehensive Diagnosis and Management)
  • Environmental Allergies
  • Functional Medicine
  • Headaches, Fatigue and Cold Symptoms
  • Hives/Urticaria
  • Immunodeficiency
  • Integrative Medicine
  • Recurrent Infections
  • Sinus and Nasal Infections
  • Sinusitis (Acute)
  • Sinusitis (Chronic)
  • Skin Rashes
  • Sneezing (Frequent and Prolonged)
  • Stuffy Nose
  • Vocal Cord Dysfunction
  • Wheezing

Food Allergy

Food Allergy – Atlanta, Peachtree City, Georgia

What is a Food Allergy?

A food allergy occurs when your body’s immune system overreacts to a protein in a certain food. In severe allergies, these reactions can be life threatening. The majority (90 percent) of food allergies are caused by eight foods: cow’s milk, eggs, fish, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat.

Video Courtesy of American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology

Click Here to read more about Food Allergies from the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology.

 

Food Allergy Versus Food Intolerance

Reacting to a food does not necessarily mean you are allergic to that food – you may just be intolerant to it. Food intolerance can cause similar symptoms to a food allergy, but food intolerance does not cause a full immune system response in your body. Food allergies cause an immune system response, and affect multiple organs. Generally, food intolerance causes less severe reactions, and may only cause digestive problems. People develop food intolerance for many different reasons, including lacking an enzyme necessary to digest the food, or having a sensitivity to additives in a food.

Article: Food Allergy Versus Food Intolerance

Read More….

 

Ways to Diagnose a Food Allergy

  1. Skin Testing

During allergy skin testing, your skin is exposed to several allergens (food and/or environmental) and assessed for an allergic response. Your allergist will use a small plastic device to prick the skin and apply the allergens. If your skin becomes red, raised and itchy after 15-20 minutes, this may indicate an allergy.

Read More…

  1. Allergy Blood Testing

Allergy blood tests are used if a patient can’t stop a medication that interferes with skin testing, if the patient has a skin condition like dermatitis, psoriasis or eczema, or if it would better suit the patient to have just one “poke” versus several (ie, a baby or young child). Blood testing is also used if the patient has poorly controlled asthma, or if the allergy is so severe that the testing could cause a systemic or anaphylactic reaction. Allergy blood tests are also used to check how well a patient’s allergy treatment is working.

Types of allergy blood tests include Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) and Radioallergosorbent Test (RAST). ELISA is used more commonly than RAST, and measures the amount of antibodies in your blood specific to certain allergens.

Complement testing can be used to measure the amount of a specific antibody or a specific antigen in the blood. The test helps determine which foods may be causing inflammation in the body and triggering an immune response.

Read More…

  1. Oral Food Challenge

Double-blinded, placebo-controlled oral food challenge is considered the “gold standard” for food allergy diagnosis. This test is often used after skin prick testing and allergy blood testing fail to provide definitive results. In an oral food challenge, the patient is given very small amounts of a food that is suspicious for an allergy. Over a certain length of time, the amount of food is increased until any sign of an allergic reaction occurs. This test is always done under strict supervision of an allergist. The oral food challenge procedure can be costly and time consuming, however, so it is often not performed.

Read More…

 

Delayed Food Allergy

Food allergy symptoms typically occur right after ingesting the responsible food, or at least within two hours. However, in a delayed response, the symptoms may take six or more hours to appear. These delayed responses can surface in different ways – such as a skin reaction from a food allergy, or a gastrointestinal reaction after ingesting milk or soy.

 

Patch Testing

Patch Testing is a way to test for the allergens responsible for delayed allergic reactions. Instead of poking the skin with a plastic device to administer an allergen (as in allergy skin testing), patch testing occurs by placing a patch on a patient’s back that contains a small amount of the allergen. The patch stays on for two days, since a delayed allergic response will not occur quickly enough for skin prick testing. The patch site will be observed for redness, blisters, and swelling.

 

Sensitivity Testing

Sensitivity Testing is a blood test used to check for food sensitivities (different from food allergies). Food sensitivity is different from food allergy and food intolerance, and essentially describes an inconsistent and unpredictable reaction to certain foods. A person with food sensitivity may eat the food one time with no reaction, but experience symptoms (stomach cramps, nausea, acid reflux) at other times.

Allergies

Allergy Doctor, Atlanta, Peachtree City, Georgia 

An allergy occurs when your body’s immune system responds to a harmless substance (allergen) similarly to how it would attack a germ or pathogen.  In the presence of an allergen, your immune system releases an antibody called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which causes cells to release chemicals that can irritate the skin, nose, sinuses, throat, lungs, and sometimes stomach.   Symptoms can range from something as small as a stuffy nose, to something as large as a whole-body reaction called anaphylaxis.  The most common allergens include pollen, dust, food, insect stings, animal dander, mold, medications and latex.    Read More.

Allergy Facts

  • Allergic rhinitis, often called hay fever, is a common condition that causes symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, watery eyes and itching of the nose, eyes or the roof of the mouth.
  • Allergic diseases, which include asthma, are the fifth most prevalent chronic diseases in all ages, and the third most common in children.
  • 8.3 million American children have respiratory allergies.
  • An estimated 9.5 million American children have skin allergies.
  • Food allergies in children are on the rise, affecting nearly 6 million or 8% of children.

Learn More!

Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.  Allergy Facts.  2014.  http://www.acaai.org/allergist/news/Pages/Allergy_Facts.aspx.
Video #1 Courtesy of American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology
Video #2 Courtesy of PBS

About Asthma

Allergy, Asthma Doctor, Atlanta, Peachtree City, Georgia

Click Here to learn more from the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs. It is a very common condition, where the airways of the lungs become enflamed.  These airways, or bronchial tubes, allow air to circulate through the lungs.  When an irritant or trigger is present, the airways become swollen and the muscles around the airways tighten. This makes it difficult for air to move through the lungs, resulting in symptoms like wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and/or chest tightness.  Wheezing is the most common symptom.

Asthma ranges in severity from mild (infrequent wheezing and occasional use of quick relief inhaler) to severe (daily use of asthma medications to reduce inflammation).  Asthma can affect all age groups, but it most often starts during early childhood with the symptoms of frequent cough or wheezing. Asthma symptoms often occur at night or early in the morning hours. In the US, more than 25 million people are known to have asthma. About seven million of these people are children!

 

Below is a table describing different forms of asthma, and the populations affected.

Childhood Asthma

Form of Asthma Age/Demographic Group
Transient Early Wheezing or Wheezy Bronchitis Most common in infancy and preschool years.
Persistent Allergy-Associated Asthma Most common in school-age children, adults and the elderly.
Non-Allergic or Non-Atopic Asthma Associated with bronchial hyper-responsiveness at birth, continues into childhood. Skin and blood tests are negative for aeroallergens.
Asthma Associated with Obesity, Female Gender and Early-Onset Puberty Emerges between 6 and 11 years of age.
Asthma Mediated by Occupational Exposures A type of childhood asthma in children living in associated regions.
Triad Asthma Asthma associated with chronic sinusitis, nasal polyps, and/or NSAID hypersensitivity (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen. Rarely begins in childhood.

Risk Factors for Persistent Asthma

Risk Factor Examples
Allergy – Atopic Dermatitis
– Allergic Rhinitis
– Elevated Total Serum IgE
– Peripheral Blood Eosinophilia >4-5%
– Environmental and Food Allergen Sensitization
Gender Male
– Transient Wheezing
– Persistent Allergy
– Associated Asthma
Females
– Asthma Associated with Obesity and Early-Onset Puberty
– Triad Asthma (Adulthood)
Persistent Asthma – Severe or persistent asthma
Lower respiratory infections – Rhinovirus, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
– Severe Bronchiolitis
– Pneumonia
Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure – Firsthand or secondhand smoke exposure