A Proactive Approach to Allergies and Feeling Empowered

Freedom Allergy, Pediatric Allergist, Peachtree City, Marietta, Georgia, Milk Oral Immunotherapy, Food Challenges

A Proactive Approach to Allergies and Feeling Empowered

Written by Meredith S.

Dr. Agrawal has cared for our son for almost three years, and the transformation has been a real gift. John has multiple severe food allergies, environmental allergies, and asthma. Dr. Agrawal has helped us get John’s allergies and asthma under control, and we are addressing the food allergies through oral immunotherapy. For nine years, our only plan was avoidance of the allergens and annual testing; now we are taking a proactive approach. Dr. Agrawal is so knowledgeable about food allergies and he explains the testing in a clear way. As John’s test results have shown improvement, we’ve done food challenges to confirm he has outgrown some allergies. We travel to Freedom Allergy from Memphis, but what we have gained makes the hours of travel worth it for us. Our son is confident and knowledgeable rather than fearful, and we feel empowered rather than helpless.

 

 

It’s Ragweed Season!

Freedom Allergy, Asthma and Allergy, Seasonal Allergies, Pediatric Allergist, Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Marietta, Georgia

Ragweed

It’s ragweed season!  Symptoms of a ragweed allergy include: sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, itchy skin, eye irritation, sleep disruption, and symptoms of asthma.

About 10%-30% of Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis, or hay fever.  A single ragweed plant can send billions of grains of pollen into the air over the course of a single ragweed season.  Ragweed season usually starts at the end of the summer and ends at the first sign of frost (usually mid-August through October).

If you are experiencing ragweed allergy symptoms, here are a few tips to help minimize your ragweed exposure:

  1. Stay inside when the pollen count is high (check pollen counts in your area here: http://www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts/south-atlantic-region)
  2. Keep your house and car windows closed.  Run your air conditioner or air purifier
  3. Change your clothes after being outside
  4. Shower at the end of the day

If your symptoms are affecting your daily life, try:

  1. Nasal sprays
  2. Daily anti-histamines
  3. Decongestants
  4. Immunotherapy (allergy shots)
  5. Make an appointment with your allergist if you need a proper diagnosis or need prescription-strength medications

Read here for more information about Ragweed allergies:

http://asthmaandallergies.org/asthma-allergies/ragweed-allergy/

Vitamin D and Food Allergies

Pediatric Allergist, Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Marietta, Georgia, Vitamin D, Food Allergies

Vitamin-D

Vitamin D, sometimes called the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ is a nutrient essential for good health.  Not only does it maintain healthy bones, but it has an essential role in immune system function.  Research has shown that there is a correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and an increase in allergic sensitization.

Make the effort this summer to go outside and enjoy the sun.  Natural foods that are high in Vitamin D include fish oils, fatty fish, mushrooms, egg yolks, liver, and fortified dairy products.  Or, you may ask your doctor to check your Vitamin D levels, and he/she may prescribe a supplement for you to take.

Read here to learn more about the relationship between Vitamin D and food allergies.

Back to School Allergy and Asthma Tips

Pediatric Allergist, Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Georgia

ACAAI Back to School Tips

With the new school year now underway, you may consider these back-to-school allergy and asthma tips from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. These simple tools can help set up you and your child for success in this exciting new school year!

Teacher Teacher – While your child’s teacher is the first line of defense at school in helping reduce sniffing, wheezing and sneezing, the right systems must be established at home before they get on the bus. If your child takes an allergy or asthma medication, make sure they take them at home, and that good avoidance measures are set up to keep their triggers under control. If your child’s teacher knows your child’s triggers, she may be able to help them steer clear in the classroom as well.

Too cool for school? Nah. – Discuss how to handle emergencies with the school principal and school nurse. Since 2010, all 50 states have laws protecting students’ rights to carry and use asthma and anaphylaxis medications at school. Children who are at risk for a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) from certain foods or insect stings should have epinephrine auto-injectors immediately available for treatment.  Be sure your child and school staff know how to use emergency medications. Continue reading

Fall Allergies Are Upon Us

Allergy and Asthma Doctor, Atlanta, Georgia  

Freedom Allergy, Fall Allergies Ragweed, Atlanta, Georgia

Autumn is rapidly approaching. As backpacks fill with homework, football games kick off, and the Georgia heat simmers down, many know ragweed season also lurks around the corner. Ragweed grows most predominantly in the southern, northeastern and midwestern United States, and thrives in warm, humid environments. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 75% of people who are allergic to pollen-producing plants also suffer ragweed allergies. Ragweed emits a particularly large amount of pollen – up to 1 billion pollen grains per plant – and the pollen can extend up to two miles into the atmosphere. Ten to twenty percent of Americans suffer ragweed allergy flare-ups near the end of the summer, usually peaking around early September, and these flare-ups can lead to asthma exacerbations, headaches, and chronic sinusitis. With fall allergy season already upon us, do not wait to schedule an appointment with your board certified allergist, who can help keep your allergies and asthma under control.

Read more about ragweed allergies here.

Resources:

Costa S. Are Your Allergies Ready for a Relocation? U.S. News & World Report.  Aug 2014. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/08/14/are-your-allergies-ready-for-a-relocation.

Pongdee T. Ragweed Plants Packed with Pollen. American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. Aug 2011. http://www.aaaai.org/Aaaai/media/MediaLibrary/PDF%20Documents/Libraries/EL-ragweed-patient.pdf.

Back to School with Food Allergies

Pediatric Food Allergy Doctor, Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Georgia

Back to School

School is right around the corner, and along with the excitement of new clothes, bright supplies, and fresh possibilities, your child may also have a few butterflies in the stomach. For a parent of a child with a severe food allergy, you may have some butterflies of your own. Many parents worry their child will accidentally eat a food they’re allergic to while at school, and suffer a severe reaction. Setting your child up at school with an epinephrine auto-injector (EAI) is important, but this also requires staff and personnel who can recognize an anaphylactic reaction and can correctly use the EAI.

Children need help from adults in managing their food allergies. One survey out of Mississippi schools revealed 97% had at least one child with a food allergy, but only 30% had action plans for these students. Schools were more likely to have action plans when the school nurse had received appropriate information from a physician. If you need refreshing on how to use your EAI, or would like assistance in educating personnel at your child’s school on recognizing and treating anaphylaxis, call our office today. Anaphylaxis action plans can also be written by physicians and distributed in daycares and schools.

Reference: O’Keefe AW, De Schryver S, Mill J, et al. Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergies: New and Emerging Options: A Systematic Review. Journal of Asthma and Allergy. 2014;7:141-164.

Childhood Obesity and Asthma

Allergy Asthma Doctor, Peachtree City, Atlanta, Georgia 
Asthma, Obesity, Atlanta, Georgia, Freedom Allergy

Childhood Obesity and Asthma

People with obesity (both children and adults) have higher rates of asthma than people with healthy weights. Children with asthma who grow up to become obese have been shown to have worsening airway obstruction due to the excess weight.  Obesity has not been shown to cause more asthma exacerbations.  However, the excess weight can put more pressure on the airways. In someone with asthma, this increased obstruction can cause a lot of problems when breathing is already impaired. One study showed for each unit increase of body mass index (a measure of a person’s weight and height), the FEV1 (a measure of lung function) decreased by 0.29. If you or your child struggles with obesity and asthma, talk to your doctor about steps you can take to manage both these concerns. Every little effort can help!

Read more about asthma and obesity here.

Safe to Use Inhalers, Even with Peanut and Soy Allergies

Asthma and Allergy Doctor, Peachtree City, Atlanta, Georgia
Freedom Allergy, Atlanta, Georgia, Ruchir Agrawal

Inhaler Use with Peanut and Soy Allergies

Confusion has spread over time, that some inhalers present danger to patients with peanut or soy allergies, due to the presence of soy products. It is true, that the old formularies of ipratropium, found in Atrovent and Combivent inhalers (usually used for patients with COPD), contained soy lecithin as an inactive ingredient. A few adverse reactions were noted in the medical literature, and some researchers thought these reactions could be due to soy allergies. However, none of the research studies actually demonstrated allergic reactions to the soy products, and some of the patients who reacted were also not allergic to soy.  Additionally, most people who are allergic to peanuts are not allergic to soy, so this would not present a concern.  Read more in this article from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).  As AAAAI notes, the truth is, it is safe for patients with peanut allergy and soy allergy to use their asthma inhalers.

• Most peanut-allergic patients are not allergic to soy.
• Soy lecithin does not contain enough soy protein to cause an allergic reaction even in soy-allergic patients.
• The inhalers in question were rarely used for asthma.
• The inhalers in question are no longer on the market.
• The currently available inhalers do not contain soy lecithin.

Freedom Allergy: Specializing in Pediatric Asthma

Freedom Allergy, Pediatric Asthma, Peachtree City, Atlanta, Georgia
Pediatric Asthma Doctor, Atlanta, Georgia

Pediatric Asthma Specialist

 My child has asthma – shouldn’t I take him/her to a pediatric pulmonologist?

Parents of children with asthma often have to schedule appointments months down the road, or travel long distances to visit a pediatric pulmonologist.  As a pediatric allergist, Dr. Agrawal also specializes in pediatric asthma.  Not all types of asthma are the same, and allergists are trained to look at the whole picture of a child’s asthma.  Allergic (extrinsic) asthma requires one type of treatment, and non-allergic (intrinsic) asthma requires a different type of treatment.  Wheezing can also be the result of other problems besides asthma, such as acid reflux or an infection.  Dr. Agrawal is an expert in recognizing and treating both allergic and non-allergic asthma, and can help develop the best management plan for your child.

Allergist Versus Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor

Allergy Doctor, Peachtree City, Atlanta, Georgia

Freedom Allergy, Ruchir Agrawal, Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Georgia

Why Choose an Allergist for your Allergy and Asthma?

Allergies and asthma are both chronic conditions, and warrant visiting a specialist for the best management. However, with so many specialists out there, how do you know which one to choose?  Read the FAQ below.

My allergies bother my ears, nose and throat – doesn’t this mean I should see an ear, nose and throat doctor?

Many times, patients go directly to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor for their allergy symptoms. After all, don’t allergies bother your ears, nose and throat?

Ear, Nose and Throat doctors are surgeons who specialize mainly in structural problems that can be corrected with surgery. But many of these problems, such as difficulty breathing through the nose, or having a raspy voice or having trouble hearing, are actually due to allergies.  Allergies, eczema, and asthma are all chronic conditions that fall under the same umbrella of allergy medicine, and more than 50% of sinus problems are caused by allergies.  The other 50% are often caused by a combination of both allergy and non-allergy related problems. Continue reading