Archive for August, 2013

What You Should Know About Nighttime Asthma

20 million Americans suffer from asthma and many complain of symptoms during daytime hours. However, asthma can actually worsen during nighttime, particularly when you go sleep.

There is no one cause for nighttime asthma, but, as quoted by the website “some factors may include, exposure to allergens at night, the cooling of the airways (including air-conditioning), the reclining position, hormone secretions that follow a circadian pattern or rhythm. Sleep itself may even cause changes in bronchial function.”

I inform my patients that it’s important to be attentive to nighttime symptoms because a significant proportion of fatal asthma attacks in adults and children occurred between midnight and 8am. It’s been reported, says the website, that 74% of asthmatics have nighttime awakenings at least once a week.

There are three ways to treat nighttime asthma:

The first is to take medication at the prescribed time. Secondly use a peak flow meter. This allows patients to detect changes in lung function and warn them of an impending asthma attack before it occurs. And thirdly, avoid asthma triggers. Each asthma sufferer has a trigger that may differ another asthma suffer. So it’s important to learn what triggers a patient’s symptoms.

The National Sleep Foundation states “that there is some evidence that people with asthma are at great risk of developing sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. People with asthma may request a referral to a sleep center from their primary care physicians” or allergists.

Questions about nighttime asthma? Seek out answers from a qualified healthcare professional. If you are in the NYC area, feel free to contact my office for a consultation, 212/247-7447.

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What You Should Know About Bee And Wasp Stings

Summer is in full swing and many New Yorkers are attending outdoor activities in parks and lakes in New York, and they are especially concerned about themselves as well as their children getting stung by bees or wasps.  For the most of them, stings are a minor annoyance, but for many others, they can be life-threatening.
An interesting study I read, quoted in  the Wall Street Journal stated that in “the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that 70% of adults who had an allergic reaction to a sting will have another.  Venom immunotherapy can reduce that to between 5% and 10%, and almost all of those cases are milder, the study found.”
“People who get stung near houses or other structures are usually stung by wasps.  Bees hover  in the open, nearby in picnic areas, “reports Dr. Theodore Freeman, an insect-sting  expert and physician at the San Antonio Asthma and Allergy Clinic.”
Most people who get stung experience mild symptoms such as localized pain and swelling.  Dr. Freeman recommends “applying meat tenderizer mixed with water to make a paste.  Or another treatment is baking soda and water.  Both neutralize the venom. “
However, in some people, a sting can mean an anaphylactic response and the symptoms are stronger such as:   hives, vomiting, feeling lightheaded, seizures and difficulty breathing.  If you have any of these reactions, make an appointment to see me immediately or go to your nearest emergency room.  If you have been prescribed an emergency epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen, Twinject) use it right away.
Although severe symptoms can go away, they may reoccur  more severely during the next insect attack, so I recommend you see me for an appointment for immunotherapy to avoid a similar reaction the next time you get stung.
Read more about insect bites and stings here  Questions?  If you live in the NYC area, call my office for a consultation – 212/247-7447.

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Eating Fish In Infancy May Fight Allergies

 I see a lot of very young kids with allergies. For many years scientists believed that feeding fish to children in their early years might precipitate an allergic response, but three recent studies may have revealed that the opposite is true.

 According to New York Times columnist Anahad O’Connor, “now scientists  say that introducing fish at an early age may help protect against allergies.  The prevalence of allergic diseases may correspond to a drop in our consumption of immune-strengthening omega-3 fatty acids.(found in fish).”

Three recent studies seem to confirm this conclusion. On the website, I read  that in November of 2010, “a study conducted by Gotenburg University in Sweden analyzed the eating habits of more than 8,000 families in western Sweden found that children who started eating fish before nine months old were less likely to develop allergic rhinitis at an average age of 4.5 years than children who started eating fish later in life.”

And last year in the Journal of Pediatrics, an interesting study found “a lower  prevalence of asthma-like symptoms among children introduced to fish between 6 and 12 months,” according to Anahad O’Connor.

O’Connor also stated that similar findings were also found in a report issued by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  He said that the report “followed 3,300 children from age 1 until age 12.  Tests showed that those diets that included at least two servings of fish monthly were about 75 percent less likely to have allergy symptoms.”

While maybe eating a fish may help limit or prevent allergy and asthma symptoms, but there seems to be no direct link between the two.  So what’s needed is more studies that prove a definitive link.

For over 25 years, I’ve been assisting NY allergy sufferers beat allergies and overcome symptoms.  Feel free to contact my office with your allergy, asthma and sinus questions and arrange for a consultation at #212-247-7447.

Read the Times blog piece here

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