If you’ve been living with food allergies for a while, you’ve likely developed a workable routine for dealing with them at home. But things can get trickier if you’re planning to study abroad. You’ll need to take extra precautions, starting with scheduling a consult with your allergy doctor.
Practice your language skills.
If you’re planning to study abroad in a country in which English is not the predominant language, you’ll need to learn a few key phrases. Learn how to say “I am allergic to” your allergen. You should also learn related words. For example, if you’re allergic to eggs, you should learn the words for yolk and mayonnaise so you can more easily avoid those ingredients. Even with this precaution, it’s still a good idea to carry a “chef card” with you. It should specify your allergy and your dietary requirements in the foreign language.
Research the national cuisine.
It’s helpful to have a general understanding of the national cuisine ahead of time. Learn which ingredients are typically used in the most common dishes so that you’ll know which are safe and which are off-limits. For example, you might learn that in Italy, eggs are not typically used for thin pastas such as spaghetti. Of course, you’ll still need to check food labels or talk to the waiter to make sure you can safely eat a particular item.
Make arrangements for your medical care.
Your current allergy doctor can send you off with extra allergy medications, including EpiPens. However, since you’ll be in a foreign country for at least a semester, you’ll also need to find a local doctor. Look for one who specializes in allergy management and contact their office in advance of your trip. You should also know where the nearest ER is, just in case.
For specialized medical care for allergies and asthma, you can schedule an appointment online at www.AllergyandAsthmaWellness.com or call 1-800-86COUGH. Board-certified allergists/immunologists comprise the whole physician staff at Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM. Appointments with an allergy doctor are available in Blue Bell, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, Doylestown, King of Prussia, or Collegeville, Pennsylvania.
It’s possible to develop allergies at any point in life, from childhood through adulthood. If you’ve suddenly begun sniffling and sneezing, and your symptoms seem to get worse when you’re near the family pet, it may be time to book an appointment with an allergy doctor. A test will determine whether you’re allergic to your pet, and the allergy specialist can help you learn about your treatment and management options.
How can I tell if I’m allergic to pets?
If you’re allergic to pets, your symptoms may develop while you’re in the animal’s presence or shortly afterward. It’s possible for your symptoms to linger for quite a while, particularly if you stay in the same setting. This is because the dander can linger in the air or on objects, such as furniture or your clothing. The typical symptoms of pet allergies include sneezing, a runny nose, congestion, and itchy, watery eyes.
What am I allergic to in my pet?
It’s a common misconception that pet allergies are triggered by exposure to the pet’s fur. Actually, it’s a specific protein in the dander, skin flakes, urine, or saliva that can trigger allergic symptoms. However, if the pet goes outdoors, it’s also possible that pollen or mold spores can collect on the animal’s fur, which can cause allergic reactions.
Which pets are hypoallergenic?
It’s widely thought that short-hair dogs and cats that shed very little are hypoallergenic. Unfortunately, there are no breeds that are completely hypoallergenic. The amount of shedding and the length of fur don’t make a difference.
Will I need to give up my pet?
Not necessarily. Pets are part of the family, and you will surely want to do everything possible to keep them in the family home. Talk to a board-certified allergy doctor about your options. It may be possible to effectively manage your symptoms without having to give up your beloved pet.
When it’s time to see a board-certified allergy doctor, you can turn to the trusted team at Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM. Learn how to effectively manage your pet-related allergies during your appointment in Blue Bell, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, Doylestown, King of Prussia, or Collegeville, Pennsylvania. You can arrange an appointment online at www.AllergyandAsthmaWellness.com or call 1-800-86COUGH.
If you have a fun-filled summer vacation planned, you might be worried that your allergy and asthma symptoms could get in the way. After all, you may be quite good at avoiding your triggers at home, but new environments can be unpredictable. Bid a fond farewell to sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and asthma attacks while traveling by following these tips.
- Consider your timing: Think about the potential allergens at the destinations you’re considering and time your visit right. For instance, if you’re allergic to ragweed, traveling earlier in the summer could be better than waiting until August.
- Consider your location: If you’re sensitive to poor air quality, Mexico City and Beijing are out of the question. If mold triggers your symptoms, it may not be wise to go camping. And if you’re set off by pollen, you should avoid Washington DC during the cherry blossom bloom.
- Pack your allergy and asthma medications: Keep quick-relief medicine close at hand, including your inhaler if you have asthma, as well as your regular preventative medicine.
- Speak with your allergist: Discuss the types of activities you plan on doing and ask for advice. For instance, high elevations, cold weather, and scuba diving could trigger an asthma attack, so make sure what you’re planning is safe.
- Make sure medical care is available: In case you have an emergency, you want to know a doctor is available. This is important to look into if you’re staying in a remote location, traveling abroad, or going on a cruise.
- Prepare to travel by car: Taking a road trip? Try to do most of your traveling in the early morning or late evening hours when air quality is better and traffic is lighter. Renting a car? Ask for one where no one has smoked cigarettes. No matter what car you drive, keep the windows rolled up and use the AC.
- Prepare to travel by plane: Take an antihistamine before you board, and use a saline spray once every hour to keep your nasal cavities moist in the dry air. Also, drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, and avoid alcohol.
- Prepare to travel by train: Ask if animals are allowed on board. If so, request to be seated several rows away. Ask if smoking is permitted. If so, find out if you can book a seat in the nonsmoking section. Then, find out if it’s okay to pre-board so you can wipe down your seating area.
- Reduce allergy and asthma symptoms at your hotel: Request a nonsmoking, pet-free room located away from the parking lot and pool where car fumes and harsh chemicals could waft inside. Then, ask if any allergy-friendly accommodations are available with hypoallergenic mattresses and pillow covers, special cleaning products, and portable air cleaners with HEPA filters.
Need more help getting your summer allergies under control? Contact Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM at 610-825-5800. We have eight locations in the Philadelphia area where you can schedule an appointment.
Stinging insect allergies can be dangerous, and misconceptions about these kinds of allergies can put people at risk. If you have an allergy to a stinging insect, it is best to consult with an allergy doctor to settle on a course of treatment that meets your needs.
Watch this video to learn more about stinging insect allergies and the myths that surround them. If your allergy doctor confirms that you have a systemic allergy to stinging insects, you may need to carry an epinephrine injector to avoid anaphylaxis.
If you’re concerned about allergy symptoms, make an appointment with Allergy & Asthma Specialists. There are offices located in Philadelphia, Blue Bell, King of Prussia, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown and Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Schedule an appointment today online at allergyandasthmawellness.com or by calling 1-800-86COUGH.
Food allergies require vigilant management, which can be easier to deal with at home than out in the real world. When you’re at work, dangers can abound, especially when people in your office are unaware of your condition or what it takes to manage it. At work—or anywhere outside your home where you expect to spend a significant amount of time—it’s important not to leave things to chance but instead to have a plan for dealing with your allergies. At the office, these strategies for creating a plan can help.
Decide Who Needs to Know
Some people don’t mind discussing their food allergies with others, while others prefer to remain as private as possible. Generally, it is a good idea to tell your supervisor about your allergies, so that he or she is aware of the accommodations you need and that you may need time off for doctor’s appointments and other parts of your care plan. Although you may decide not to share information about your allergy with everyone at work, consider telling people who you need to be aware of the potential for a dangerous allergic reaction, such as those who share a food prep or storage area or cubicle with you. Your co-workers can help you avoid exposure to your allergens if they are aware of the issue.
Invite Open Communication
There are many myths and misconceptions about food allergies that people who have never dealt with them have. Inviting open communication about your allergies and making sure that your co-workers feel like they are able to ask questions is a great way to get them involved in making the office a safe space for you and also dispelling myths they may believe about allergies.
Know Your Rights
You have a right to reasonable workplace accommodations for your food allergies, so don’t shy away from asking for them. Food allergies are addressed in the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, so you have a legal right to ask for these accommodations.
The allergy doctors at Allergy & Asthma Specialists can also help make a plan for dealing with allergies at work. We have allergy clinic locations in Blue Bell, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, King of Prussia, or Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Schedule an appointment online at www.AllergyandAsthmaWellness.com or call 1-800-86COUGH.
Aspirin allergies can cause severe allergic reactions and prevent people from getting the medical treatments that they need. These kinds of allergies are common in people with asthma. In fact, Samter’s Syndrome is a common symptom triad that includes aspirin allergies, nasal polyps, and asthma. Fortunately, an allergy doctor can help sufferers overcome their reactions to aspirin with desensitization treatment.
During aspirin desensitization, allergy doctors provide patients with a small dose of aspirin that is gradually increased every few hours until allergy symptoms appear. This process is repeated until the patient becomes immune to aspirin exposure and no symptoms occur. This happens over the series of a few visits. Once complete desensitization occurs, the patient then takes aspirin daily to maintain his or her tolerance.
At Allergy & Asthma Specialists, patients with aspirin allergies can get care from allergy doctors in Blue Bell, Center City, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, King of Prussia, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Schedule an appointment online at www.AllergyandAsthmaWellness.com or call 1-800-86COUGH.
Did you know that it’s possible to develop an allergy to red meat? Cases have been on the rise in the U.S., and it’s all thanks to one tiny critter. When the Lone Star tick bites a non-primate animal, such as a cow or sheep, it’s possible for it to acquire alpha-gal molecules. These molecules can then be transmitted to humans if that tick then bites people. The alpha-gal molecules are responsible for triggering allergic reactions to red meat.
You can hear more about the red meat allergy by watching this featured video. Consult an allergy doctor if you’ve experienced any of the symptoms discussed in the video. The expert featured here also explains why the red meat allergy isn’t always permanent.
If you suspect you might have developed food allergies, you can visit an allergy doctor in Blue Bell, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, Doylestown, King of Prussia, or Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Schedule an appointment online at www.AllergyandAsthmaWellness.com or call 1-800-86COUGH.
Food allergies can be incredibly disruptive to daily life, especially for a child who just wants to have fun with other kids. The good news is that with practice and precautions, it’s still possible for a child with food allergies to enjoy him- or herself while socializing. Assuming that the child is mature enough, it’s always a good idea to encourage him or her to be a proactive patient. At each visit to the allergy doctor’s office, ask your child if he or she has any questions or concerns about upcoming events, like sleepovers.
Introduce your child to sleepovers gradually.
Remember that your child might be nearly as nervous about staying safe during sleepovers as you are. Build up his or her confidence level by starting slowly. Plan to have a sleepover at a trusted relative’s house first. Later, your child can plan to have a sleepover at a friend’s house. It may be best to start with sleepovers in which your child is the only invited guest. Sleepover parties can be more difficult to manage.
Meet the other child’s parents.
If you’ve never met the child’s parents before, then it might be a good idea to have an in-person talk, rather than a phone call. This allows you to get a good sense of how responsible the friend’s parents are likely to be regarding your child’s food allergies. You can also reiterate the critical importance of preventing cross-contamination with the allergen. Don’t be shy about discussing the potential consequences of allergen exposure. You should also demonstrate how the epinephrine auto-injector works.
Send your child to the sleepover with plenty of supplies.
Find out in advance which meals will be served. If possible, feed your child dinner before sending him or her off to the sleepover. Send your child to the party with plenty of safe snacks (pack extra for your child to share), dinner if needed, and safe breakfast foods. Provide your child with a reusable water bottle labeled with his or her name, and remind your child not to share cups, water bottles, or eating utensils with anyone else. And don’t forget to pack your child’s allergy medications!
For all of life’s events, you can count on the medical and lifestyle guidance you’ll find at Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM. These board-certified allergists/immunologists work one-on-one with patients of all ages to ensure they fully understand their treatment plans. To request an appointment with one of the allergy specialists in Blue Bell, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, Doylestown, King of Prussia, or Collegeville, Pennsylvania, request an appointment online at www.AllergyandAsthmaWellness.com or call 1-800-86COUGH.
Your immune system is a complex network. Its cells, organs, and tissues all work together to fend off foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. When the immune system can no longer do its job properly, this problem is known as immune deficiency. A compromised immune system requires a personalized treatment plan. An allergy doctor can develop a treatment plan to work toward the primary goals of managing symptoms and preventing complications.
For example, an allergy specialist may recommend a preventive antibiotic during seasons when patients are most susceptible to developing respiratory infections. Some patients with immune deficiency are unable to manufacture sufficient quantities of antibodies. The allergy doctor may recommend immunoglobulin replacement therapy for these patients.
Board-certified allergy doctors comprise the staff at Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM. Immune deficiency is one of the medical problems treated at allergy specialist offices in Blue Bell, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, Doylestown, King of Prussia, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Schedule an appointment online at www.AllergyandAsthmaWellness.com or call 1-800-86COUGH.
Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), commonly referred to as exercise-induced asthma, is a type of asthma that is triggered by exercise. A diagnosis of EIB can be disheartening for individuals who like to stay fit. However, it’s still possible (and encouraged!) to exercise despite this condition. You can work with an asthma doctor to learn how to manage your respiratory problem safely while still enjoying your favorite workouts.
Causes and Risk Factors of EIB
When you exercise, the airways lose both water and heat, which can trigger the symptoms of EIB. This loss of water and heat is particularly apparent when you’re breathing in very dry air. It’s why people with EIB who ice skate or play ice hockey are particularly susceptible to symptoms. Other workout conditions can also increase the risk of triggering EIB, such as the very hot air that is characteristic of hot yoga studios, the chlorine in swimming pools, or the outdoor air pollution when running or cycling—especially in urban areas. Even a gym could contain environmental triggers of EIB, such as the fumes from the cleaners, paint, or new equipment.
Signs and Symptoms of EIB
People with exercise-induced asthma tend to experience symptoms within a few minutes of beginning to exercise. The symptoms can continue throughout the whole workout and linger for about 10 to 15 minutes afterward. Some of the most common signs of EIB can include the following:
- Tightness in the chest
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
- Persistent coughing
- Sore throat
- Decreased exercise tolerance or endurance
Some people also develop an upset stomach. Note that while it’s expected for an individual to get out of breath while working out, in people with EIB, these symptoms are unreasonably severe and out of proportion to their fitness level.
Exercise-induced asthma is one of the many conditions treated at Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM. These asthma doctors are available in Blue Bell, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, Doylestown, King of Prussia, or Collegeville, Pennsylvania to provide the personalized treatment plan you need with the friendly, personable care you deserve. Schedule an appointment online at www.AllergyandAsthmaWellness.com or call 1-800-86COUGH.