• Spotlight on the Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis

    Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is an allergic condition characterized by a collection of symptoms (most affecting the nose) triggered by airborne allergens, such as mold, pollens, or animal dander. Often, allergic rhinitis is seasonal, but it may be present year-round with certain triggers, such as cockroaches and pet dander.

    If you have allergic rhinitis, you are probably all too familiar with flare-ups of symptoms including:

    • Nasal congestion, runny nose, and watery nasal discharge.
    • Dry, irritated throat.
    • Continuously needing to clear the throat.
    • Rubbing the nose upward to decrease itching (allergic salute).
    • Dark circles under the eyes (allergic shiners).

    These symptoms may not only be uncomfortable, but they might get in the way of school or work performance and even account for a considerable number of sick days.

    If you are struggling to manage allergic rhinitis—whether it’s seasonal or perennial—Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM can help you find relief. With board-certified allergists and immunologists on staff in center city Philadelphia, Blue Bell, King of Prussia, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania, you can count on us to accurately diagnose and treat your allergy symptoms. To schedule a consultation, go to www.AllergyandAsthmaWellness.com or call us today at 1-800-86COUGH.

  • What Is Nocturnal Asthma?

    If you suffer from asthma, you know that there are specific conditions where your asthma symptoms are likely to be triggered, such as in a dusty room or following a strenuous workout at the gym. For some asthma patients, one of the most common triggers is sleep. Sleep-triggered asthma is often referred to as nocturnal asthma, since sleep is generally a nighttime activity. Nocturnal asthma can prevent you from getting enough sleep at night and effectively managing your asthma under other conditions.

    Asthma that Becomes Worse at Night

    Though more research is needed to fully confirm the causes of nocturnal asthma, there are a few suspected causes that can trigger wheezing, coughing, and general trouble breathing as you try to sleep.

    • Reclining Position – When you lie down, your airway becomes tighter, so there is increased resistance as you breathe. Additionally, a reclined position in bed can decrease lung volume and cause secretions to pool from draining sinuses or a post-nasal drip. For some asthma patients, sleeping upright or with more support under the upper back can help to relieve nighttime symptoms.
    • Increased Allergen Exposure – Your bed may be a hot spot for allergens, such as dust mites and pet hair, which can be asthma triggers. You might also find that irritation occurs if you sleep with the air conditioning running, because your HVAC system may also harbor lots of allergens, and colder air can cause conditions similar to those that trigger exercise-induced asthma.
    • Hormonal Changes During Sleep – It’s not just the surrounding physical environment that can lead to nocturnal asthma. When you sleep, your body’s hormonal production fluctuates, so you have the lowest levels of epinephrine as well as the highest levels of histamine in the body, raising the risk for an allergic or asthmatic reaction.

    Treatment that Takes Place During the Day

    If you suffer from nocturnal asthma, it’s important to have a long-term asthma medication along with a fast-acting inhaler. Managing your symptoms more effectively during the day could reduce your risks at night.

    For the diagnostic care and personalized treatment planning you need to keep asthma under control, visit Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM in center city Philadelphia, Blue Bell, King of Prussia, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, or Collegeville, Pennsylvania. You can schedule a consultation in one of our offices by visiting us at www.allergyandasthmawellness.com or calling 1-800-86COUGH.

  • Get the Truth Behind Common Myths About Food Allergies

    Sometimes, the food we eat isn’t always agreeable with our bodies, and adverse reactions occur. Food intolerances, such as the lactose in milk, can be physically uncomfortable but are not allergies. However, a milk allergy can cause a life-threatening reaction.  Allergic reactions to specific foods occur when the immune system mistakenly identifies a food as a harmful substance and triggers an immune response in the body. Unfortunately, food allergies can often go undiagnosed and misunderstood, posing a significant health threat to those who suffer from them. Here we’ll take a look at some common myths about food allergies so that you have the right information to guide your allergy treatment.

    Myth: Food allergies are all in the mind.

    These days, it seems that everyone has some type of dietary restriction, from avoiding gluten to lactose intolerance to not eating meat. While some of these dietary limitations have medical causes, others are brought on by nutrition fads. Food allergies do sometimes get lumped in with diet fads, so people assume that they aren’t a real concern because they are all in the mind. However, the symptoms of food allergies are all too real, and they won’t go away with just a strong will.

    Myth: Artificial foods are responsible for most food allergies.

    Another common misconception about food allergies is that they can be avoided by simply following an all-natural diet free of artificial flavoring agents and food dyes. In reality, most food allergies are caused by proteins in foods, so even whole, natural foods can be problematic. About 90% of food allergies are caused by these common foods:

    • Peanuts
    • Soy
    • Wheat
    • Cow’s milk
    • Eggs
    • Tree nuts
    • Fish
    • Shellfish

    Myth: Food allergies are always severe.

    Like any other type of allergies, food allergies range in severity. The quantity of the allergenic food consumed will affect the reaction, and for some people food allergies will actually go away or worsen over time, so the severity of a reaction is not always predictable.

    Symptoms of Food Allergy can be sudden and severe and commonly include one or more of the following:

    • Hives or swelling
    • Tingling in the mouth
    • Swelling of the tongue and throat
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Abdominal Cramps
    • Vomiting or diarrhea
    • Eczema or Rash
    • Coughing or wheezing
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Dizziness

    Food allergy symptoms typically begin immediately but may be delayed up to 2 hours of ingestion of the offending food.

    Living with food allergies can be scary, especially with so much misinformation out there. The allergists of Allergy & Asthma Specialists are the region’s authority on food allergy testing and challenges. Our offices serve the communities of center city Philadelphia, Blue Bell, King of Prussia, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and you can reach us for an appointment online or at 1-800-86COUGH.

  • What Should You Avoid When You Have a Nut Allergy?

    When patients are diagnosed with peanut allergies, they are often told to avoid all tree nuts, which includes almonds, cashews, filberts, and others. However, these restrictions may not be completely necessary.

    As this video explains, skin testing is not the definitive measure for testing for tree nut allergies. Many tree nut allergies will produce false positives in a skin test, so a food challenge under the care of an experienced allergist is the best way to know which nuts you really cannot eat and which you are not allergic to.

    Food allergy testing should always take place under the care of a board-certified allergist and immunologist. You’ll find the care you need for food allergy testing in Philadelphia, Blue Bell, King of Prussia, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, or Collegeville, Pennsylvania at Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM. For more about our clinics or to make an appointment, call us today at 1-800-86COUGH.

  • 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.