Archive for September, 2014

What You Should Know About The Enterovirus

Flu season has just begun yet a lot of my patients who have kids, are concerned about another illness that may affect their children–the Enterovirus D68.

This enterovirus virus first appeared back in August, in the Mid-West It has now spread to many states throughout the country. The New York Health Department has reported 14 cases in the western part of the state in early September, with new cases having now spread to New York City and Long Island.

In an interesting post on Web MD, Dr. Mary Anne Jackson of Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO said that the D68 virus doesn’t follow the normal course of most viruses. She said “viral infections start out with a fever, cough, and a runny nose. But kids with D68 infections–from 6 mos of age to 6 years old– have a cough and trouble breathing, sometimes wheezing. They act like they have asthma, even if they don’t have a history of it.”

Since it is a virus, there is no vaccine to prevent it nor do antibiotics help since it is non-bacterial in original. Symptoms, however can be moderate to severe.

For moderate symptoms, give children plenty of liquids and rest, says Roya Samuels, MD, at Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park. But for more severe symptoms she says “if there’s any rapid breathing, and that means breathing more than once per second consistently over the span of an hour. Or there is labored breathing, it’s time to head to the doctor’s office or emergency room.” Once hospitalized, children may receive supplemental oxygen or get medications like abuterol to open airways.

Prevention is key. The New York State Department of Health advises the public to take the following preventive measures:

*Wash hands often with soap and water.

* Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

*Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups of eating utensils with people who are sick.

*Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

*Use the same precautions you would to prevent the spread of influenza.

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Allergy Ear Pain

When my patients talk to be about allergies, they exhibit a lot of symptoms. Besides a stuffy nose, ear pain is another prevalent symptom.

The sinuses and ears are connected inside your head. So clogged sinuses may cause ear pressure.

Common examples of ear discomfort says the website are “ear popping and sensations of the ear feeling full, states the American Academy of Family Physicians. This can occur if the mucus produced by an allergic reaction, drains into the Eustachian tube. If the lining of this tube becomes inflamed, then the ears may start to feel full and pop. This can lead to a loss of balance, dizziness and even vertigo.”

In an interesting post on the website WebMD There are various treatments to help the allergy sufferer with earache. They include:

Lubricating sinuses by using a nasal saline spray several times a day or use a humidifier. Also the use of a warm moist washcloth and hot showers is recommended; over-the-counter medicines such as Aleve, Tylenol or Motrin can ease ear pain; use nasal sprays in the short-term (not more than 3 days) or decongestant tablets; avoid temperature extremes; avoid suddenly movements to your head; blow your nose gently; flush your body with plenty of fluids especially at night–this makes the mucus more fluid; avoid caffeine, salt, alcohol, and tobacco products. These substances change blood circulation and can affect your ears.

Flying is another problem that people with earaches should avoid. If you have to travel by air, before boarding the plane, take nasal spray or oral decongestant at least 30 minutes to an hour before takeoff, since it takes time for them to kick in.

Finally, see an allergist if the ear problems are persistent; you have a fever, head, face, or ear pain doesn’t dissipate after taking non-prescription medication; and symptoms last for more than week, or keep coming back.

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Oral Allergy Syndrome

Some of my patients have been recently complaining about watery and swollen eyes, sneezing and itchy throat, symptoms that are commonly associated to ragweed.

Many people might think that ragweed is a spring or summer allergy, but really the ragweed season becomes intense in the fall, beginning, nowadays in August and going strong through October.

Ragweed can also be an oral allergy syndrome (OAS). This means that the pollen which comes from ragweed, a weed that bears a similarity to the proteins in vegetables and fruits. So the immune systems reacts by an allergic response to fight off what the body perceives as a danger.

Certain foods exacerbate ragweed allergies. These are bananas, chamomile tea, dandelion, Echinacea, melon ( honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon), sunflower seeds and zucchini.

According to an interesting article by the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA), other pollen allergies that may cross-react to certain foods are:

Birch pollen allergy–may react to kiwi, apples, pears, peaches plums, coriander, fennel, parsley, celery, cherries, carrots, hazelnuts and almonds.

Grass Pollen Allergy–people may react to peaches, celery, tomatoes, melons and oranges.

Natural Rubber Latex (NRL) Allergy. Even people handling food with latex may induce an allergic response if one is eating bananas, avocados, kiwi, chestnut and papaya.

The symptoms of oral allergy syndrome can be complex and may constitute a diagnosis of other medical conditions such as food intolerance, other types of food-borne illnesses or food poisoning.

Contact an allergist to determine whether you have OAS or another food illness.

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Food Allergies And The International Traveler

All lot of my patients love to travel. Experiencing another culture is great way to broaden your horizons. But beyond the sights and sounds of distant locales, a primary component of any traveler’s experience is dining out in those countries.

For the food allergy traveler, this can be daunting. But there are four ways for you to dip into cuisine of these countries, safely.

Carry allergy cards. In 2004, a couple’s daughter returned from her trip through Europe, complaining that she couldn’t or was wary of eating most foods there due to her nut allergies. She only ate vanilla ice cream, shishkaboobs and bread throughout her trip.

So her parents started It is company that produces allergy alert cards that are laminated and the size of a business card. The card states the allergy the traveler is susceptible to in English and one of 60 foreign languages and shows a picture of the allergy itself.

Allergy FT: Allergy Food Translator App Screens. This mobile app for iOS only ( lists 62 food allergies and translates them into French, German and Spanish– which claim its developer–will help you navigate cuisine in 57 countries around the world that speak these languages. All you do is select the language, then select the allergy and the allergy warning in those languages pops up on the screen. Allergy FT said is updating its app to include more languages.

IAMAT Directory. If an allergic reaction to food does occur while your traveling abroad, an indispensable resource to have is International Association for Medical Assistance To Travelers (IAMAT) directory. It lists the local hospitals of a particular country that assistant travelers and that speak English. Contact them at (

Ep-iPen. The IAMAT states travelers with food allergies should carry at least two vials of epinephrine in case of a anaphylactic reaction.

For more information on food allergies:

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