Archive for May, 2011

Allergy or Sinusitis?

A survey by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) determined that many people who self diagnose mistake allergies for sinusitis, confusing the symptoms of sinusitis with those of allergies and as a result they suffer longer than if a they would’ve received a proper medical diagnosis from a doctor.

Of the 621 people surveyed, approximately 70% of sinusitis trust a primary care doctor to correctly diagnose symptoms, but only 36% saw one for help.

Survey findings:

  • 47% of respondents with sinusitis admit to self-diagnosing when they have symptoms.
  • 37% are doing more self-diagnosing now than they were five years ago.
  • 41% of those who say it is not easy to distinguish signs of allergies from signs of sinusitis still go ahead and diagnose themselves when they have symptoms.
  • 51% admit they have misdiagnosed themselves as suffering from allergies when the cause turned out to be sinusitis.
  • 39% say they think it’s hard to tell the difference between the symptoms of a cold, flu, allergies, and sinusitis.
  • 55% of people who have heard of chronic sinusitis underestimate the minimum number of weeks this condition may last; 39% admit they don’t have a clue about duration.
  • Only 26% of respondents who had heard of chronic sinusitis were aware that a minimally invasive treatment option exists for the condition.

“If you have allergy-like symptoms that last longer than 12 weeks, or symptoms that occur more than three times per year, with symptoms usually lasting more than 20 days despite treatment attempts, you may have chronic sinusitis and should see a doctor for a correct diagnosis and the right medical solution,” Mike Tringale, vice president of external affairs at the AAFA says.

Are you are self diagnosing your “allergy” symptoms?

If allergy medications aren’t treating your symptoms, or leaving you drowsy, call my office for a consultation.  You don’t have to suffer with an allergy or sinus condition.  I’ve been treating NYC residents for 27 years. Together we can improve the quality of your life.  You can get out and enjoy NY in the spring.

Book an Appointment

Ref:  Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

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Fighting Food Allergies with Early Solids?

The discussions on the latest recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics to provide some solids to infants between 4 and 6 months seems to have stirred up quite a debate.  Prior to 2008 the Academy recommended that parents hold off on cow’s milk until after their first birthday, no eggs until the age of two and no peanuts until three.  The group reversed this stance after studies showed there was no good evidence to support this advice reduced food allergy risks in children.

Currently, pediatricians recommend infants be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life because it is the best form of nutrition although it is unclear if there is a beneficial link between  food allergy risks and breast milk.

The study that steers the new recommendation comes from survey study findings based on 594 children whose mothers were interviewed when the children were one, six, and 12 months old.   The two to three year old children were tested through blood samples for antibodies against peanut, egg and milk — three common triggers of childhood food allergies.

Overall, 11 percent of the children were sensitized to peanut. Among children whose parents had allergies or asthma, the risk of peanut sensitization was lower if they’d been started on solid food or cow’s milk before the age of four months.

Of those children, just under 6 percent had peanut sensitivity, versus 16 percent of those who’d had the foods introduced later in infancy. That corresponds to a five-fold difference in risk, after taking into account other things that might set the toddlers up for allergies.

This seems to suggest that earlier exposure to a wider range of foods could start up the required immune-system cells to mature in infants that possess a genetic susceptibility to allergies making them less likely to develop food allergies later.

This is a small sample size, and larger group studies are required to substantiate these finding. Also, a study should be conducted to determine the link between cow’s milk, early solids and peanut sensitization. Why did this study find a lower risk of peanut sensitization and not egg or milk sensitization?

For more on this discussion, please contact your healthcare provider to determine what is best for your family. Do not change any treatment plans without first consulting with your doctor.

SOURCE: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, May 2011.

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Potential Link Between Pain Killers and Asthma

Acetaminophen (or Paracetamol outside the US) may increase a patient’s risk of asthma, according to a published study in The Journal of Clinical and Experimental Allergy.

Conducted by the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, children and teens exposed to the popular painkillers at least one a year were twice as likely to suffer from asthma.

Although these tests are not conclusive, many thoracic doctors believe that painkillers may cause people to have difficulty breathing.

“We have seen Aspirin to have the highest impact on patients by causing wheezing,” stated Dr. A. Chithrakumar of Madras Medical College, adding that Acetaminophen has also shown this tendency, though not to the same degree as Aspirin.

Consult your Health Care provider for more information on the link between common painkillers and troubled breathing.

S. C. Dharmage and K. J. Allen, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2011 (41) 459–460.

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