• Back 2 School: Preparing for Allergies During the Academic Year [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Summer’s over, and the kids are heading back to school! You’ve picked up their school supplies, picked out their new clothes, and scheduled their extracurricular activities, but are you forgetting something? What’s the plan for all the allergies? While your children may have been healthy and happy all summer, school is a whole different ballgame. From the classroom to the playground to the cafeteria, school can be a virtual minefield of allergens and contaminants that make life difficult for kids with allergies or asthma. Aside from homeschooling, what can you do? First, make sure you’ve got the right allergy doctor to help manage and treat your child’s allergies and asthma. Next, determine the best ways to protect your kids at school, making sure they and their teachers know what to expect and how to manage any problems that arise. To help you make a plan, we’ve created this infographic, with helpful tips on getting ready for back to school allergies.

  • Examining Different Types of Asthma

    Asthma is a single condition that is characterized by chronic inflammation of the airway that causes difficulty breathing, wheezing, and chest tightness. When discussing the different types of asthma, this refers to the various triggers that may cause asthma flare-ups when these symptoms occur. Here is a look at the most common types of asthma, which should all be managed and treated under the care of a board-certified asthma and allergy doctor.

    Allergy-Induced Asthma

    Allergies and asthma go hand in hand, and many asthma sufferers will have a number of known allergies, often including cockroach and dust mite allergies, pet dander allergies, seasonal pollen allergies, and mold allergies. When an allergic reaction occurs from these or other allergenic substances, people with allergy-induced asthma will experience a reaction in the airway with severe inflammation that causes difficulty breathing.

    Exercise-Induced Asthma

    Most asthma sufferers will experience a flare-up of symptoms during exercise, because the extra stress on the lungs and respiratory system can trigger inflammation. Generally, exercise-induced asthma will kick in 5-10 minutes after exercise begins and may return in a second wave of symptoms up to 24 hours later. However, with the right medication and exercise routine, you can work through exercise-induced symptoms so that you are able to maintain an active lifestyle and improve your overall health.

    Occupational Asthma

    It’s not just allergenic substances that can trigger asthma symptoms. Many different chemical substances can cause asthmatic symptoms, such as paints, cleaning products, dust, mold, and latex gloves—all common workplace hazards. If you tend to have symptoms that worsen at work, it could be due to these occupational exposures.

    Living a normal life with asthma is possible, but it does take a managed treatment plan with an allergy doctor. You can find the care you need in Blue Bell, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, King of Prussia, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania with the offices of Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM. You can reach us for an appointment at 1(800)86-COUGH.

  • FAQs About Stinging Insect Allergies

    Stinging insects are scary enough without the threat of a severe allergic reaction from their painful stings. While many people will only have slight irritation and swelling after getting stung by a bee or wasp, others can experience a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening without emergency care. Allergy doctors often get questions about stinging insect allergies, so we’ve got a few answers here to help you prepare for your next visit to an allergy specialist.

    What types of insect stings can cause allergic reactions?

    Honeybees, yellow jackets, paper wasps, hornets, and fire ants all have venomous stings that can cause allergic reactions. If you have had an exaggerated reaction to one of these insect stings before, it’s helpful to accurately identify the insect that stung you, so you can tell your allergy doctor. Often, if you’ve had a bad reaction to an insect sting, you are likely to have a more severe allergic reaction if you’re stung again.

    How do I know if I have a stinging insect allergy?

    Unfortunately, there is no way to know your risk of a stinging insect allergy unless you have been stung by an insect and had allergic symptoms. If you do get stung and experience itching over a large area of the body, swelling of the tongue or throat, coughing or wheezing, dizziness, stomach cramps, or low blood pressure, call 911 right away and schedule an appointment with an allergist after you get emergency care. Localized swelling and redness at the site of the sting is not an allergic reaction.

     What can I do about insect allergies?

    Once you learn that you do have a stinging insect allergy, you should talk to your allergy doctor about carrying an epi-pen with you at all times. You can also take measures to avoid contact with insects, such as not walking around barefoot outside, keeping your landscaping trimmed, and using insect repellant. There is also a treatment called venom immunotherapy, which can dramatically reduce your chances of experiencing an extreme reaction.

    If you do have insect allergies, you should not hesitate to talk to an allergist and immunologist about your treatment options before another extreme reaction occurs. For allergy care in Blue Bell, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, King of Prussia, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania, you can count on Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM. Call us at 1(800)86-COUGH to learn more about what we do.

  • What Happens to the Body During Anaphylaxis?

    When your body recognizes a substance as an allergen, there is usually a localized reaction, such as sneezing and a runny nose, or hives in one area of the body. If you have a serious allergic reaction, you may experience anaphylaxis, which is a form of shock that happens throughout the whole body. This video offers an explanation of anaphylaxis along with the steps you should take when you identify the symptoms. If anaphylaxis is not treated immediately, it is life-threatening.

    If you suffer from allergies and worry about a severe allergic reaction, schedule an appointment with Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM to discuss your allergy treatment options and emergency strategies. We provide care with offices in Blue Bell, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, King of Prussia, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania and you can reach us at 1(800)86-COUGH for an appointment.

  • Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction to Medication

    When you visit a hospital or doctor’s office, you will probably be asked if you have any drug allergies, or allergies to any medications. This is an important question, because medications that do cause you to have an allergic reaction can pose a dangerous situation in your treatment with a wide range of potential symptoms.

    Like other allergies, there is a risk of anaphylaxis in severe cases. This is a life-threatening reaction that can cause difficulty breathing and severe inflammation. Drug allergies may also cause symptoms such as:

    • Hives, which are usually accompanied by itching.
    • A sudden drop in blood pressure.
    • Wheezing or coughing.

    Usually the symptoms of an allergic reaction to medication will occur suddenly and should be managed with emergency care.

    If you have experienced a medication allergy, you should work with an allergy doctor to manage this allergic reaction and understand your treatment alternatives. Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM can provide complete allergy care with patient education from our compassionate providers serving Blue Bell, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, King of Prussia, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania. You can reach us online or at 1(800)86-COUGH.

  • Avoiding Dust Allergy Triggers While Cleaning

    Dust contains the droppings from dust mites, tiny (microscopic) eight-legged creatures that are closely related to ticks and spiders. They grow best in warm, humid areas and live predominantly on a diet of human flakes of skin. It is these droppings that trigger allergic reactions in some individuals.

    Symptoms of dust mite allergy tend to be most prominent in the spring, fall and winter. Dust mites thrive in fabrics such as mattresses, pillows, bedding, carpet, upholstered furniture and stuffed animals. To reduce the amount of dust in your home—and make cleaning a less triggering activity—make it a goal to keep clutter off your floors, wipe down counter and furniture surfaces daily, vacuum your carpets weekly, and change blankets, throw rugs, and bed linen as frequently as possible.

    If you have allergies, it’s important for you to find effective ways to avoid triggers while you’re cleaning your home. Avoid using commercial cleaners that use harsh chemicals such as ammonia or formaldehyde. Instead, opt for non-toxic cleaners such as mixtures that use baking soda and vinegar.

    Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM provides state-of-the-art allergy testing and treatment for the entire family. Our goal is to help you find relief from your symptoms so you can get back to enjoying your life again. To set up a consultation, call 1(800)86-COUGH. We have conveniently located offices in Blue Bell, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, King of Prussia, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania.

  • Is Your Asthma Under Control?

    How can you tell if your asthma is uncontrolled? As an experienced allergist explains in this video from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, you can determine whether you need to see an allergist about your asthma by using the “rule of two.” If you’re needing to use your rescue inhaler more than twice a week—and not when you’re exercising or otherwise physically exerting yourself—or if you find yourself waking up in the night as a result of your asthma, it’s time to contact an allergist.

    Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM works to provide all of our patients with the capable care and effective asthma treatment they deserve. If you’d like to learn more about our services, call 1(800)86-COUGH to reach one of our locations near Collegeville, Pottstown, King of Prussia, Jenkintown, Blue Bell, Lansdale, Philadelphia, and Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

  • Got Egg Allergies? Read This Kitchen Survival Guide

    Any type of food allergy can make mealtime more difficult because you must be diligent about reading ingredient labels before digging into prepared dishes and packaged foods. Egg allergies can present an even greater challenge, because eggs are such versatile ingredients that they end up in countless recipes, from breakfast staples to baked goods. If you do have an egg allergy, it is possible to eat well and still enjoy many of the recipes that commonly feature eggs, as long as you know some helpful substitutions to employ.

    Where Eggs Are Typically Found

    When eggs are fried or scrambled, it’s obvious that they’re on the plate, so they are easy to avoid. However, the biggest challenge for egg allergy sufferers comes from foods where eggs are among many other ingredients. Most baked goods fall into this category, including many types of breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, bagels, and pastries. Eggs are also commonly used as a binding ingredient, so they may also be found in fillings for pasta dishes or foods like meatloaf.

    What You Can Use as a Substitute for Eggs

    One of the easiest ways to avoid eggs is by selecting vegan options, especially when you are dining out and have limited access to ingredients lists. However, you can get more creative and substitute eggs in your own cooking so that you don’t have to omit more ingredients than necessary. Here is a look at some great egg substitutes and their best uses.

    • Applesauce, pumpkin puree, or mashed banana: Use ¼ cup for each egg in any recipe for baked goods, and reduce sugar in recipe to taste.
    • Commercial egg replacer: Use according to package instructions. This is available in the baking aisle at most grocery stores, and is excellent for limiting any added flavor.
    • Silken tofu: Use ¼ cup pureed tofu per egg. Expect a denser finished product. This is best for breads, brownies, and cookies.
    • Carbonated water: Use ¼ cup per egg where added leavening is desired, such as in cakes and quick breads.
    • Aquafaba: Use 3 tablespoons of this substitute—which is the liquid left over from cooking chickpeas or the fluid found in cans of chickpeas—to replace one egg. This can be whipped into stiff peaks where egg whites would normally be used.

    Living with a food allergy does take some extra work and knowhow in the kitchen, but it is easier with the help of allergy doctors serving Philadelphia, Blue Bell, King of Prussia, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania. For allergy care in these areas, schedule an appointment with Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM by calling 1(800)86-COUGH. Our specialists can provide food allergy testing as well as immunotherapy and other treatments to help you manage your symptoms.

  • Understanding Anaphylaxis

    When you have allergies, you probably experience limited allergic reactions only affecting certain parts of the body. For example, rhinitis will only cause symptoms like sneezing and a runny nose. As this video explains, anaphylaxis is a different kind of allergic reaction because it affects the entire body. Anaphylaxis is a severe reaction that occurs very quickly and can be life-threatening, so it is imperative to recognize the reaction occurring and seek emergency care immediately.

    The board-certified doctors at Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM can help you recognize your risk for anaphylaxis due to food allergies, insect allergies, or other triggers. If you are looking for allergy care in Philadelphia, Blue Bell, King of Prussia, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, or Collegeville, Pennsylvania, call our offices at 1(800)86-COUGH and schedule a consultation.

  • Undergoing the FeNO Test

    If you suffer from allergic or eosinophilic asthma, you may use a steroidal inhaler to suppress inflammation and improve breathing. When you take this medication, you may feel that your breathing has improved, but there may still be higher concentrations of nitric oxide—an indicator of inflammation in the airway—when you exhale. For this reason, your allergist may recommend a FeNO test to establish a baseline and then to measure the effectiveness of your medication.

    A FeNO test is a simple test, during which you will breathe into a special instrument to measure the concentration of nitric oxide in your lungs. Unlike other lung function tests, this test requires you to blow out slowly in a long, steady stream rather than breathing hard and fast. If your nitric oxide levels are still too high after you take your medication, your allergist may recommend increasing the dose of your daily inhaler.

    Allergy & Asthma Specialists is one of the few medical practices in the region that performs the FeNO test in the office as a standard protocol for all new patients.

    At Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM , you can expect a full range of care for allergies and asthma, including specialized testing to measure lung function and better manage your symptoms. For more information about our services in Philadelphia, Blue Bell, King of Prussia, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania, call us at 1(800)86-COUGH.