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/

Infants with Food Allergies

Pediatric Allergist, Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Marietta, Georgia

little toddler smiles over her messy mouth and bowl

The new guidance for food introduction to babies is to start feeding them foods as young as 4 months old.  The new guidance stems from the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study that was published in The New England Journal of Medicine in February 2015.  Rather than avoid highly allergenic foods during the first few years of a child’s life, it is important to introduce it as early as possible for the child’s body to recognize it as a food, and not an allergen.

At Freedom Allergy, we specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of pediatric food allergies.  Every child is unique, and we treat each patient as an individual.

We encourage you to schedule an appointment with us if:

  • if you are pregnant, and want to receive guidance on ways to possibly prevent a food allergy from developing in your unborn child
  • you are unsure how to introduce foods to an infant in the same household of a sibling with food allergies
  • there is a concern that your child may be allergic to a food,
  • your child is allergic to a food, and you are interested in oral immunotherapy (OIT), a food desensitization treatment that will allow your child protection from accidental ingestion or cross contamination of his/her allergen

We will review you and your child’s overall health history, family genetic risk factors, and perform and evaluate skin and blood tests, if necessary.  We will then come up with a plan to help your family navigate through the prevention or management of 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

Blood Tests – False Positive?

Freedom Allergy, Allergy Doctor, Atlanta, Georgia

False Positive Food Allergies

While many medical offices use blood tests to evaluate allergies, board certified allergists rely on skin prick testing, which offers a more appropriate reflection of true allergies. Blood tests frequently show “false positive” results, and provide evidence of an allergy that is not accurate. Many times, families come to our office with blood results from another doctor’s office showing a food allergy, when they have never actually had an allergic reaction to that food. If you have a question of blood results, it would be best to discuss the findings with an allergist, to make sure you move forward with the best plan for your allergies. After all, why eliminate a food from your diet, when you are not actually allergic to that food?

Read more, from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and ImmunologyContinue 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.

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

Georgia Spring Allergies

Seasonal Allergies, Allergy Doctor, Atlanta, Peachtree City, Georgia

Atlanta jumped 12 spots last year on the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America’s (AAFA) list of Top 100 Most Challenging Places to Live with Spring Allergies.  Atlanta rose from #72 in 2013 to #60 in 2014 on this AAFA Allergy Capitals list.  As trees blossom and grasses sprout this year, it helps to know which plants peak during which months (see the chart below).  Talk to your allergist today to plan your best method of defense against these allergens!

Allergy Doctor Atlanta Peachtree City Georgia

Spring Allergies

Spring Allergies, Allergy Doctor, Peachtree City, Georgia

Allergy Doctor Ruchir Agrawal Peachtree City Georgia

Spring is right around the corner, and now is the time to schedule a visit with your allergist.  The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) suggests five things you should know about spring allergies.  Click Here to read more!

  1. Allergies are on the rise.

Studies show pollen counts have been gradually increasing over time, and even if you’ve never had allergies before, you could start developing them.  You can track Peachtree City pollen counts Here.

  1. It matters when you medicate!

If you suffer spring allergies, ACAAI recommends starting your medication two weeks before your symptoms typically begin.

  1. No “cure” exists for spring allergies…

…but allergy shots (immunotherapy) can help your symptoms in a big way.

  1. Allergies can trigger or worsen asthma.

If you are coughing, wheezing, or having trouble breathing, this could be asthma that is triggered by your allergies.  Be sure to talk to your allergist about these symptoms.

  1. “When in doubt, get checked out.”

If you have been suffering symptoms for more than two weeks, such as coughing, ongoing colds, nasal congestion, or trouble breathing, it would be a good idea to see an allergist for allergy testing and potential treatment.