Archive for September, 2011

Allergy & Asthma Support Groups

Several studies have shown the growing popularity of  Internet medical support groups, particularly groups catering to chronic health problems.  The easy development of website forums and discussion platforms as well as pages and groups on Facebook has created a large number of  online support groups and communities.

It is easy to find support groups on the internet, it is difficult to find a good one.  Consider the medical source  and resources behind any support group.  Who sponsors the website? Is it a pharmaceutical company, a medical marketer? Know who is behind the supplied answers.  And remember – any information gleaned from a support group should be passed by your personal healthcare provider before making any changes to your healthcare plan.

Without endorsing any single online support community – here is a very short list of allergy and asthma online support groups

Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America

Kids with Food Allergies Foundation

WebMD Asthma Community

WebMD Allergy Community

Before exchanging medical information online  remember:

  • Personal data, medical history, and content supplied to an online community is not secure or private.  Indexing of web content will make your posts and information available in search engine searches. Deleting a post will not remove it from the web.
  • Information contained on any online source does not constitute medical advice
  • Online QnA’s does not take the place of a medical consultation with your healthcare provider
  • Scouring online sources is not “medical research” do not adjust any physician prescribed treatment plan without consulting your doctor.


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Understanding Allergic Rhinitis

You’ve probably heard the term “Allergic Rhinitis” bantered about lately.  Here is a little background as to allergic triggers, testing and treatment.  This information is just that… informational… it should not be considered medical advice.  As always – see your healthcare provider.  If you live in the NYC area, I invite you to contact me for a consultation – and we’ll get you back outside to enjoy the beautiful autumn weather.

Allergic rhinitis is a collection of symptoms, mostly in the nose and eyes, which occur when you breathe in something you are allergic to such as dust, dander, or pollen. The World Health Organization estimates 400 million people worldwide suffer with allergic rhinitis. Allergic Rhinitis puts the patient at risk for asthma and other allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis, conjunctivitis, sinusitis, and nasal polyps.

Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis manifest shortly after contact and include:

  • Itchy nose, mouth, eyes, throat, skin, or any area
  • Problems with smell
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Tearing eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Coughing
  • Clogged ears and decreased sense of smell
  • Sore throat
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Puffiness under the eyes
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Headache
  • Memory problems and slowed thinking

To properly treat Allergic Rhinitis your health care provider will question you about the history of your symptoms and perform an exam. The history of your symptoms is important, share with your doctor whether the symptoms vary according to time of day or the season, and if you are exposed to pets or other allergens.

Your doctor will probably order a Skin Test, the most common method of allergy testing. See this post on skin testing for more information.

In some cases, avoidance is a viable strategy to avoid your allergy triggers. If in the event medication is required, there are many different medications and strategies to treat allergic rhinitis.  Only an allergist can determine which treatment plain is appropriate for your individual condition.

A nasal wash can be helpful for removing mucus from the nose in mild allergic rhinitis conditions.

Treatments for allergic rhinitis include:

Antihistamines may work well for treating symptoms, especially when symptoms do not happen very often or do not last very long.

    • Some antihistamines may be bought over the counter. It is important however to talk to your doctor before giving these medicines to a child, this form of medication may affect learning. These medications include loratidine (Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec). Other antihistamines are available by prescription.
    • The nasal spray Azelastine (Astelin) is an antihistamine that is used to treat allergic rhinitis.

Nasal corticosteroid sprays are the most effective treatment for allergic rhinitis.

  • They work best when used nonstop, but they can also be helpful when used for shorter periods of time.
  • Many brands are available. You will need a prescription from your doctor. They are safe for children and adults.

Use extreme caution when using decongestants.

  • Decongestants may be helpful in reducing nasal congestion.
  • Nasal spray decongestants should not be used for more than 3 days.
  • Be careful when using over-the-counter saline nasal sprays that contain benzalkonium chloride. These may actually worsen symptoms and cause infection.

Singulair, a leukotriene inhibitor,  is a prescription medicine approved to help control asthma and to help relieve the symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Your allergist can determine if you are a candidate for immunotherapy treatments.

  • Allergy Shots are vaccines that work to “turn off” your body’s overreaction to your allergy triggers.

I invite you to peruse for more information.  For individual attention it is important to contact your healthcare provider. Feel free to contact my office at 866-632-5537 for a consultation in the NYC area.

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6 Tips for Coping with Pet Allergies

Suggestions from the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology:

  • Do your best to avoid kissing and hugging pets.
  • Keep your bedroom and upholstered furniture off-limits to pets.
  • Give your pets a weekly bath, and ask a non-allergic friend or family member to regularly brush them outdoors.
  • Ask your veterinarian about a well-balanced diet for pets, which can minimize dander.
  • Vacuum with a micro-filter or double bag, and use a HEPA air cleaner at home.
  • Minimize carpeting and rugs in your home, as they attract dander.

An allergist can help minimize the affect of pets on allergy symptoms.  Live in the NYC area? Call my office at 866-632-5537 for a consultation.

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Effectiveness of Adenoidectomy in Children

Children receiving an adenoidectomy to lessen chances of respiratory system infections, like sinusitis and colds, do not experience fewer incidents of these infections, according to research released in the British Medical Journal.

Before considering surgery for your child, consult an allergist.  Chronic sinus conditions can be triggered by an allergic condition that will not be cured by surgery.  View Chronic Sinusitis for a background on the condition.


From the full text:

Results: During the median follow-up of 24 months, there were 7.91 episodes of upper respiratory tract infections per person year in the adenoidectomy group and 7.84 in the watchful waiting group (difference in incidence rate 0.07, 95% confidence interval −0.70 to 0.85). No relevant differences were found for days of upper respiratory tract infections and middle ear complaints with fever in episodes and days, nor for health related quality of life. The prevalence of upper respiratory tract infections decreased over time in both groups. Children in the adenoidectomy group had significantly more days with fever than the children in the watchful waiting group. Two children had complications related to surgery.

Conclusion: In children selected for adenoidectomy for recurrent upper respiratory tract infections, a strategy of immediate surgery confers no clinical benefits over a strategy of initial watchful waiting.

Read the Full Text of the Study

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