• Do You Suffer From Eye Allergies? Here’s How to Find Relief

    Eye allergy symptoms are one of the top three allergy complaints in the country. In fact, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology states that 40 percent of adults suffer from eye allergies, many of whom remain undiagnosed. Self-diagnosis and treatment with over-the-counter remedies are often not enough to alleviate eye allergy symptoms long-term. Here’s what we recommend if you’re seeking relief from eye allergies.

    Diagnose the Problem

    The first step is to pinpoint the cause of your allergies. Only then can you avoid your triggers and help prevent symptoms from occurring. The most common types of eye allergies include:

    • Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC): This is by far the most likely reason for your eye allergies. Exposure to pollen causes itchy, red, burning, watery eyes to occur in the spring, summer or fall.
    • Perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC): The symptoms are the same as seasonal allergies, but they occur year-round in response to dust mites, mold, pet dander and other household allergens.
    • Keratoconjunctivitis: Vernal and atopic keratoconjunctivitis are more serious eye allergies that may cause thick mucus production. If left untreated, these conditions can cause scarring and vision impairment.
    • Contact allergic conjunctivitis: Wearing contact lenses may cause an allergic reaction if you have this condition or its more severe form, giant papillary conjunctivitis.

    Avoid Eye Allergy Triggers

    People with dry eye syndrome can sometimes be misdiagnosed with eye allergies. However, some allergy treatments can make dry eyes worse, so if you struggle with itchy, gritty, watery eyes, it’s important to visit an allergist for a thorough evaluation. With a diagnosis from your allergist, you can feel confident about what triggers to stay away from.

    • Avoid outdoor allergens :
      • Remain indoors when pollen counts are high.
      • Keep the windows in your house and car closed.
      • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen.
    • Avoid indoor allergens:
      • Use an airtight mattress cover and hypoallergenic pillowcases to reduce dust mite exposure.
      • Run a dehumidifier, clean shower tiles regularly, and use exhaust fans when showering and cooking to reduce mold growth.
      • Replace wall-to-wall carpet with hard flooring to reduce dust in your home.
    • Avoid pet allergens:
      • Consider banning pets from your home.
      • Keep pets out of your bedroom.
      • Wash your hands immediately after petting any animals.

    Treat Eye Allergies

    When avoidance techniques aren’t enough, relieve your eye allergies with these treatment options:

    • Over-the-counter medication: For short-term relief, try tear substitutes, decongestants or oral antihistamines.
    • Prescription medication: When OTC treatments aren’t potent enough, seek a prescription for stronger eye drops or oral antihistamines.
    • Immunotherapy: Allergy & Asthma Specialists offers three kinds of immunotherapy. Allergy shots, drops or tablets help your body build a tolerance to the allergens that trigger your symptoms. After a few months of treatment, your quality of life may improve significantly.

    To learn more about finding relief from eye allergies, please contact Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM . We have eight convenient locations, in Philadelphia, Collegeville, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, Blue Bell, King of Prussia and Jenkintown, where you can schedule an appointment.

  • What You Should Know About Traveling and Allergies

    Summer is the most popular time of year to travel. If you have a vacation booked, you might be excited about everything you have planned at your destination. But take a moment to consider what allergy symptoms you might experience on your travels. You can’t eliminate all allergens during your upcoming summer vacation, but there are options for reducing your exposure and building immunity to keep your symptoms at bay.

    Summer Vacation Allergies

    In some instances, going on vacation improves allergy symptoms. This is most likely the case if you’re allergic to grass or weed pollen, and your travels take you out of your pollen exposure. Allergies can also decrease while traveling if you’re allergic to a dog or cat at home.

    However, summer vacation may also exacerbate your allergies. You might leave one environment where spring pollination is over, only to vacation in a place where pollen season is still in full swing. You’re also likely to spend more time outside during your travels, which can lead to increased allergen exposure.

    The hotel, lake home, shore house or other lodging you stay at also matters. Vacation accommodations are often breeding grounds for mold, and levels are highest during the hot, humid summer.

    Reduce Your Exposure to Summer Vacation Allergies

    The trick to avoiding the allergens that trigger your unpleasant symptoms is to have allergy skin testing performed. Then, you can take sidestep your specific triggers on vacation. Here’s how:

    • Time your travels to avoid pollen season. For instance, if you travel from your home in Philadelphia to the South in late spring or early summer, you miss the tail end of spring pollination.
    • Reduce your time outside when pollen counts are high. Check the local pollen forecast each morning. If the type of pollen you’re allergic to is high that day, opt for indoor museums and tours. Save outdoor ventures for days with lower pollen counts.
    • Be picky about where you stay. Mold can grow anywhere with sufficient moisture and warmth, making shore houses and hotel rooms near the pool especially problematic. Pay attention when you walk through the door. If it smells musty, don’t stay there.
    • Bring your own hypoallergenic bedding. Mattresses and pillows are havens for dust mites, mold and other allergens. Bring your own airtight mattress cover and hypoallergenic pillowcases to reduce your exposure.

    Build Immunity to Allergens Before You Travel

    In addition to discovering what you’re allergic to with skin testing, you can also undergo immunotherapy to help your body better tolerate exposure to allergens. This treatment can help curb severe symptoms so you can enjoy your travels. Strive to begin immunotherapy three to six months before your vacation to give the treatment time to start working.

    Seeing an allergist before your summer trip could be the best decision you ever make! To learn more about finding relief from your symptoms, please contact Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM . We have locations in Philadelphia, Collegeville, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, Blue Bell, King of Prussia and Jenkintown where you can schedule an appointment.

  • Common Summer Allergies and Treatment Options

    When you think of seasonal allergies, budding tree blossoms in spring and falling leaves in autumn might come to mind. However, sneezing, runny noses, and itchy, watery eyes aren’t exclusive to spring and autumn – summer allergies can hit just as hard. Learn about the most common summer allergies, ways to avoid your triggers and what allergy treatment options are available.

    Common Summer Allergies

    What causes severe sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes and other allergic reactions this time of year? The most likely culprits include:

    • Weeds: Ragweed pollen is a common end of summer allergy that can travel hundreds of miles on the wind to aggravate your symptoms. Other offending weeds include sagebrush, cockleweed, Russian thistle, pigweed and tumbleweed.
    • Grass: The smell of freshly mown grass might not bring you joy if you’re allergic to bluegrass, Bermuda, orchard, red top, Timothy, sweet vernal or other grass varieties.
    • Air pollution: Summer smog is largely comprised of ground-level ozone, a lung irritant that reaches its highest level on hot, sunny days.
    • Mold: Spores floating in the air are more likely to settle and grow during warm, humid weather. Your muggy basement and damp bathroom are typical places for mold to grow. Mold spores are also spread into the air when mowing the grass, weeding the garden, or clipping the shrubs.
    • Insects: Bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are just some of the critters that can cause an allergic reaction if you get stung.

    How to Avoid Summer Allergy Triggers

    Make summer more fun by avoiding your allergy triggers. First, find out what you’re sensitive to with allergy skin testing. Then, follow these tips:

    • Stay indoors when weed and grass pollen counts are at their highest (usually in the early morning hours).
    • Don’t hang clothing to dry outside.
    • Keep your windows closed.
    • Ask someone else to mow your grass. If you must do the chore yourself, wear a pollen mask.
    • Stay indoors when the air quality index indicates high outdoor air pollution.
    • Keep indoor mold growth at bay by running a dehumidifier, cleaning shower tiles and grout regularly, and using the exhaust fans when showering and cooking.
    • Prevent bee stings by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants and avoiding floral-scented perfumes that could attract insects.

    Treatment Options for Summer Allergies

    Despite your best efforts, it’s impossible to completely avoid every allergen this summer. Fortunately, treatment options are available:

    • Take over-the-counter medicine , including antihistamine, decongestant, eye drops and corticosteroid nasal sprays.
    • Request a stronger prescription medication from your doctor , which may include leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRAs), ipratropium bromide nasal sprays and corticosteroid nasal sprays.
    • Begin immunotherapy treatment to help your body better tolerate exposure to the allergens that trigger your symptoms. A complete course of treatment could cure your hypersensitivity!

    If you’re dealing with severe summer allergies, it may be time to see an allergist. Visit Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM for help developing a personalized treatment plan that focuses on your specific allergy triggers. We have eight convenient locations in Philadelphia, Collegeville, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, Blue Bell, King of Prussia and Jenkintown where you can schedule your appointment.

  • What You Need to Know About Bee Sting Allergies

    Bee stings are relatively common in the summertime, but if you’ve just been stung for the first time, you might be concerned about potentially having an allergic reaction. Here’s what you need to know about bee sting allergies and how to seek the appropriate treatment.

    Potential Reactions to Bee Stings

    The symptoms you experience after being stung by a bee may include:

    • A normal reaction , including pain, swelling and redness at the sting site
    • A mild allergic reaction characterized by extensive swelling, pimple-like spots, warmth and itching
    • Anaphylaxis , a rare but life-threatening allergic reaction with symptoms that include hives, swelling of the face, tongue, or throat, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, rapid pulse, lightheadedness, and sharp drop in blood pressure

    Treatment for Bee Stings

    If you or someone you’re with exhibits signs of anaphylaxis, administer an epinephrine shot , if available, and call 911 immediately . Even if the medicine appears work, seek immediate medical aid for an anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting.

    If you have a normal, non-allergic reaction – including pain, swelling and redness – find relief with these treatment tips:

    • If you were stung on the hand, remove any rings you’re wearing before any swelling occurs.
    • Remove the stinger as quickly as possible. Scrape the stinger out with your fingernail or a credit card. Avoid squeezing the stinger to prevent more venom from coming out.
    • Wash the sting site with warm water and soap.
    • Apply antiseptic, hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion. Wrap the area with a dry, sterile bandage.
    • If swelling occurs, elevate the affected area and apply an ice pack.
    • If itching and hives occur, take oral antihistamines.
    • If pain occurs, take over-the-counter pain relievers.

    Prevent Bee Stings This Summer

    No one enjoys being stung by a bee, whether they have allergies or not. Lower your risk of bee stings this summer with these tips:

    • Wear close-toed shoes when walking through grass. Dress in a long-sleeved shirt and pants when walking through wooded areas.
    • Avoid insect nests.
    • Refrain from wearing bright colors or floral-scented perfumes that could attract bees.
    • Install screens on your windows and doors at home, and keep your car windows rolled up.
    • Don’t grow flowers in your yard that attract bees.
    • Drink soda from a bottle, and put the lid on between sips. Open soda cans and cups attract bees.
    • Keep garbage cans tightly covered.
    • If you have severe bee sting allergies, carry an epinephrine shot with you and wear a medical bracelet or necklace at all times.

    It’s vital to see an allergist if you have a history of anaphylactic reactions to bee stings because you have a 60 percent chance of having a similar or even more severe reaction the next time you’re stung. Your allergist could prescribe life-saving epinephrine and venom immunotherapy to prevent severe allergic reactions to bee stings in the future.

    To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, please contact the Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM nearest you . We have locations in Philadelphia, Collegeville, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, Blue Bell, King of Prussia and Jenkintown.