Joseph Bullock, M.D. (RETIRED)
Joseph D. Bullock, M.D. has retired from the Midwest Allergy practice.
Dr. McNeil’s private practice is located at Midwest Allergy Asthma and Immunology Associates in Worthington, Ohio.He also travels to Midwest Allergy’s offices in Zanesville, Chillicothe and Newark.Of special interest to Dr. McNeil are patients who have immune deficiencies or angioedema. He has traveled widely to speak about angioedema and meet patients with all types of the condition. Read more
Debora Ortega-Carr, M.D.
Debora Ortega-Carr, M.D. was born in Port Clinton, Ohio. She received her BS degree from Stanford University and MD degree from The Ohio State University. She received her training in Internal Medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan where she practiced for one year as a general internist. She received her Allergy and Immunology training at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Read more
Grace Ryu, M.D.
Grace Y. Ryu, M.D. grew up in Hillsboro, Ohio. She received her BA degree from Miami University and her MD degree from the University of Cincinnati. She received her training in Pediatrics at The Ohio State University and Columbus Childrens Hospital where she was also Chief Resident. She received her Allergy and Immunology training at the Medical Center of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Read more
Philip Rancitelli, M.D.
Philip N. Rancitelli, M.D., F.A.A.A.A.I. grew up in Upper Arlington, Ohio. He earned his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from The Ohio State University in 1995 and an M.D. degree from The Medical College of Ohio in 1999. He completed residency training in pediatrics at Nationwide Childrens Hospital in 2002 and fellowship training in allergy and immunology at Duke University Medical Center in 2004. Read more
Jennifer Bullock, M.D.
Jennifer Z. Bullock, M.D. was born in Columbus, Ohio. She received her B.A. from Princeton University and her medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, where she was inducted into the honor society of Phi Kappa Phi. She took her training in both Pediatrics and Allergy and Immunology at The University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She began her private practice in Allergy and Immunology and joined Midwest Allergy in 2006. Read more
For those with food allergies, 2017 started with more competition entering the market for Epinephrine auto-injectors. The branded Epipen increased cost to $600-700 per two-pack in 2016, which was an increase of 400-500% from 2008. This was distressing for many of my families that needed multiple two-packs of Epinephrine auto-injectors for school, home, grandparents and aftercare. Mylan, the company that makes Epipen introduced a generic version December 2016 at half the cost of the branded Epinephrine auto-injectors. Epipen and a generic epinephrine auto injector both have coupons available. In January 2017, CVS announced that it had partnered with Impax to sell a generic epinephrine auto-injector for $109.99 per two-pack. In February 2017, we welcomed back AUVI-Q, the talking epinephrine auto-injector. It is available with zero copay to patients with commercial insurance and is directly shipped to the patient’s house. The physician needs to fill out a form available on the AUVI-Q website with prescription information, insurance information and patient demographics then it is faxed to the company. If you don’t have commercial or government insurance, the website has information regarding their assistance program. So as you can see there are many more choices available and hopefully the competition will decrease cost. Midwest Allergy […]
If your child has food allergies, navigating school can be difficult. Class parties, food used in lessons, lunchtime: Depending on the school food policies, it can be stressful to make sure your child is included. But there is some good news on the horizon. Some school districts in Central Ohio are working to change their school food policies – and not just because of allergies! Kids who eat better not only behave better but they are better able to learn, move and grow. Also, in addition to children with food allergies, there are likely children with conditions such as diabetes or autism that require special diets. No child should be left out of a celebration or lesson because of food. Getting children to eat healthier foods and limiting sweet treats is crucial, as obesity and other diseases are an epidemic in the U.S. Ohio Action for Healthy Kids has a toolkit for parents and teachers to help make changes in local schools. http://ohioactionforhealthykids.org/wp-content/documents/Parent_Toolkit.pdf Advocating for changes at school – and with school food policies — has long been an issue of parents with kids who have food allergies. There are online support groups, lists of snacks that are allergy-friendly and […]
When you or someone you love has a life-threatening food allergy, grocery shopping or eating at a restaurant can be tricky – and scary. While reading labels and asking questions is good, sometimes, nuts can be included in foods you might not expect. From lunch meat, to salsa, to gluten-free foods, nuts can be in places you might not expect. If your family deals with food allergies, you likely know restaurants and foods you can’t have. Thai and Chinese food? Probably risky (all that cashew chicken!). Ice cream parlors? Nuts galore! But there are also nuts in some not-so-obvious places, so if you or someone you love has a life-threatening food allergy, read on to learn more. Deli meat Nuts in meat? It’s true. Some types of deli meat, like mortadella, can have pistachio inside. This can be problematic if you purchase meat with nuts in it or the meat you purchase was sliced on the same machine at the deli. Chili/salsa/sauces One might think that Mexican or Indian cuisine is pretty safe. But nuts like cashews can be used to thicken sauces in Indian foods and some restaurants use peanut butter to thicken chili, salsas and mole sauce. Gluten-free […]
Contributed by Don McNeil, M.D. A recently sponsored expert panel from the NIH published the 2010 Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Peanut Allergy in the United States recommends the early introduction of peanut containing foods to prevent peanut allergies. This came about because, currently, there is no means of treating peanut allergy which may persist into adult life. There are 3 guidelines: Infants at high risk of eczema and/or egg allergy should have peanut introduced at 4 to 6 months age. These children should also be introduced to solid food at the same time. They may require evaluation by an allergist for consideration of either skin or blood testing beforehand or an oral food challenge. Children with mild to moderate eczema should be exposed to peanut at age 6 months. Children without eczema or other food allergy may have peanut at any time. The trial results (LEAP study) determined that peanut consumption for five years for high-risk infants resulted in an 81% reduction of peanut allergy. This study is accessible on the NIAID Food Allergy guidelines web page. Midwest Allergy The expert doctors at Midwest Allergy can help you manage a peanut allergy. We can also discuss the […]
The cold weather and lack of pollen means you don’t have to fight your winter allergies, right? Wrong! Winter can bring up a whole new set of allergies for you to deal with and it can be frustrating and challenging. Indoor allergens like mold, animal dander and dust mites can make you have winter allergies. Being shut indoors due to cold temperatures and having viruses can wreak havoc on your allergies and breathing. So what can you do? Here are four ways you can combat winter allergies. Read on! Filtration and humidification One thing you can do to fight winter allergies is control the air in your home. Keeping the air properly humidified can help offset the misery of allergy symptoms by keeping your nasal passages moist. It can also help prevent irritation. Also, using a HEPA filter can help your winter allergies by eliminating the particles that irritate you. If you can’t have a whole-house system for humidity or filtration, put portable units in your bedroom. Keep it clean Keeping your home dusted and vacuumed can help cut winter allergy symptoms by removing them from your living space. Also, if you have a pet, keep him or her groomed […]
For many people, dry and itchy skin comes with the winter months. Eczema can flare during the cold and dry weather, causing irritation and other difficulties. Cold, dry air and freezing temperatures can cause it to worsen, but there are things you can do to prevent or alleviate symptoms. But what is eczema? It’s a skin condition characterized by itchy, red, irritated skin. There can be rashes, blisters and inflammation. It can have many causes, like allergies, weather or other irritants. Many people who have it also have food, seasonal or environmental allergies. It’s important to keep eczema in check because broken skin caused by itching can get infected. So what can you do to ease symptoms or prevent flare-ups? Here are three things to try. Moisture Keeping your skin properly hydrated can go a long way. Avoid hot baths and showers, use a gentle soap and always follow with a cream or other moisturizer. If you can, avoid fragrance as well. It’s also a good idea to use a humidifier in your home – and especially your bedroom. Protect your skin Keep your skin covered up when you go outside (gloves and hats!) and wear gloves when cleaning. Switch […]
Research into the ways the immune system functions in allergic disease has yielded several new therapies for allergies and asthma and eczema. Some of these biologic therapies are being used presently at Midwest Allergy to treat specific patients with asthma and other conditions. Nucala (mepolizumab) and Cinqair (reslizumab) are both humanized monoclonal antibodies that block interleukin 5 (IL-5). IL-5 is involved in the regulation of eosinophils in the blood and tissue. Eosinophils in lung tissue are responsible for the airway inflammation in asthma. These new products reduce eosinophils in the tissue and are potent medications for asthma control. Patients with severe asthma and elevated eosinophils are good candidates for these therapies. Lebrikizumab is a new potential medication that also may be used to treat severe asthma. Lebrikizumab is a human monoclonal antibody that targets IL-13. IL-13, like IL-5 increases eosinophils and is active in other forms of inflammation. This therapy is still be used in clinical research trials. Eczema patients may also have a new medication on the horizon, Dupilumab. Dupilumab is a human monoclonal antibody that inhibits IL-4 and IL-13 activity and reduces inflammation. Dupilumab has shown dramatic improvement in moderate to severe eczema patients. The […]
The cold and flu season is in full swing, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend 2017 dealing with illness after illness. These simple winter health tips can help keep you and your family happy and germ-free this year. Don’t touch your face Like most winter health tips, this can seem deceptively simple. But training yourself not to touch your face – not an eye rub or a nose scratch! – you can help cut your risk of getting sick, as most germs are spread this way. It’s also a good idea to avoid touching communal objects (like a pen or shopping cart handle) if you can. Get a flu shot Yup, that’s right. While some years are better than others in terms of a match, getting a flu shot can keep you healthy. Don’t forget to get one! Many people skip flu shots but we don’t recommend it. Sleep One of the best ways to stay healthy is to be well-rested, so make sure you are getting enough ZZZ’s! What’s the right number of hours? It really depends, but try turning in a half-hour or hour earlier for a week and see how you feel. Exercise Studies have […]
If you or a loved one has a tree nut allergy, the holiday season can be stressful. Tree nut allergies and the holidays don’t have to mean stress and headaches though. From navigating the grocery store with its open bins of nuts to your great aunt’s nutty fruitcake she insists on bringing to family gatherings, you can have a safe and healthy holiday season with a tree nut allergy. Here are five tips on managing a tree nut allergy during the holidays. Ask questions If you are going to visit family and friends over the holiday season, don’t be afraid to ask what is on the menu. There is always an alternative to a nut-filled treat (yes, you can even make nut-free “pecan pie” with pretzels!) to keep everyone safe and healthy. Come prepared Before a party, eat a snack or meal so you won’t have to go hungry if there isn’t any food you or your loved one can enjoy. And bring a treat or two – especially if your child is the one with the allergy. Even if there are no actual nuts served at the party, it’s hard to control how people cook and bake and most […]
If you have a child or a teenager with food allergies, you probably know that navigating the holidays can be challenging. The parties, the food: There are a lot of allergens served up this time of year! At Midwest Allergy, we know how difficult it can be and we’re here to make one thing on your holiday to-do list easy: Here are some non-food stocking stuffer ideas! Fill your child’s stocking with non-food treats so cool that he or she won’t miss the candy. Trust us! Read on for our best ideas for all ages. Art Supplies Markers, colored pencils, stickers, washi tape: What child or teen doesn’t love fresh new art supplies! You could even throw in a new coloring book or sketch pad. Toothbrush and toothpaste So this one might not seem super exciting, but if you go and get a fancy light-up toothbrush that you normally say no to at the store, or if you pick a brush with your child’s favorite character, we bet he or she will brush up happily twice a day. Win-win! Mini Lego sets or minifigures What kid doesn’t love a new little Lego set or minifigure? Most children love to build […]
We love our patients and our patients love Midwest Allergy! Midwest Allergy was recently named one of the best allergy doctors in Columbus. We were named as a part of the 8th annual Readers’ Choice awards by ThisWeek Community News. Thank you to all of our patients who voted! ThisWeek asked readers of its 24 weekly publications and website to vote during the month of October on the city’s best of the best in more than 100 categories. The list came out in mid-November. Midwest Allergy was named one of the best allergy doctors under the Medical category. For more than 35 years, Midwest Allergy has been providing quality care for allergy, asthma and immunology treatment in Central Ohio. We are one of the largest groups of allergy specialist around and we serve Columbus, Newark, Zanesville, Chillicothe, Mansfield, Hillsboro and other areas. All of our doctors are experts in their field and all are diplomats of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. We treat children and adults. Our six doctors work hard every day to ensure patients receive the best and most up-to-date care. While we love being named one of the best allergy doctors in Columbus, we are […]
Allergy advice for Holiday Parties Pollen allergy sufferers are celebrating the end of a long season of misery. However, the end of the year presents new allergy challenges. Holiday parties can be frightening for those with food allergies, and the colder weather forces increased exposure to indoor allergens/irritants such as pet dander, dust mites, mold, and Holiday decorations. A few things to keep in mind: Read The Labels Food is the focus of many gatherings and celebrations the final months of the year. This can pose serious challenges and anxiety for those with food allergies. Read food labels carefully before indulging, and keep in mind the risk associated with cross-contamination. If the ingredients are unknown, don’t take any risks. Find a food that you’re 100% certain is safe (packing your own food is a great option). Always have access to several injectable epinephrine devices! Avoid Decorations Holiday decorations can cause serious reactions due to accumulation of allergens during storage (i.e. dust and mold) and their potent smells. The best method to reduce symptoms is avoidance, but this isn’t always practical. Remain diligent with your allergy and asthma medications as prescribed, and consider making an appointment with your allergist to discuss […]
If you have a child with environmental allergies, allergy shots might be a part of your treatment plan. These regular shots, however, can cause anxiety in some children. Being anxious or fearful of shots (and needles!) is a very common thing in children. As a parent, it can be challenging to effectively manage your child’s fears and anxieties while maintaining a treatment plan. At Midwest Allergy, we understand these issues and are offering five ways to help you reduce your child’s anxiety when it comes to allergy shots. Honesty is the best policy When you are talking to your child about allergy shots, be honest. Yes, it might hurt. Yes, it might be sore for a while. Don’t tell them it will only sting for a second or not hurt at all – it very likely is painful for your child! Being honest with your child and not downplaying the fear of pain can help her cope with it. Propose a remedy or two to try – ice, cuddles, a favorite stuffed animal to squeeze. Put on a happy face Maybe you have anxiety about needles or shots yourself. You could be passing those fears on to your child, without […]
Pumpkins are orange right? Well this time of year, they are also teal for Food Allergy Awareness – otherwise known as the Teal Pumpkin Project! Teal is the color of food allergy awareness. The Teal Pumpkin project began as a small event in Tennessee and went nationwide in 2014 with Food Allergy Resource & Education (FARE) support. It’s celebrated in all 50 states and more than 14 countries, too. The message of the Teal Pumpkin project is community, inclusiveness and awareness of food allergies – especially during a holiday like Halloween that features so many unsafe treats. There are many ways to participate – and celebrate! – as part of the Teal Pumpkin Project. By visiting the FARE website, you can register your house as a Teal Pumpkin Project house, meaning you will be handing out non-food treats on Halloween. Don’t forget to display a teal pumpkin or a sign (FARE has printables!) so food allergy families know you have safe treats. Some GREAT non-food treats are: Glow sticks, pencils, erasers, whistles, bouncy balls, bubbles, spider rings, vampire fangs or stickers. And you can still pass out candy; just be sure to put your Teal Pumpkin Treats in a separate […]
The late Summer and the Fall months may be a difficult time of year for allergy sufferers. To many, this time of year is known as hay fever season. Many people associate Spring with allergies because of the new plant growth and blooming that occur, but late Summer and Fall allergens can also pose a significant problem. Ragweed and other weeds pollinate from mid-August through the beginning of October, and cause symptoms of nasal and eye allergy and asthma: congestion, sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose, cough, sinus infections, ear infections, wheezing, chest tightness, asthma attacks, and other asthma symptoms with playing outdoor sports. If you suffer from outdoor mold allergy, your symptoms may not be over when the ragweed/weed season ends, they may actually worsen. Outdoor molds predominate during many times of the year, but when leaves fall to the ground in the Fall, they serve as a moist, decaying bed in which certain molds can flourish. Molds release their microscopic spores into the air frequently, especially right around the time of rain, and when the barometric pressure changes, or weather changes. These spores act just like pollens, and cause similar symptoms as pollen allergy. Some people with mold allergy […]
Here at Midwest Allergy, we pride ourselves on excellent patient care, a top-notch staff and physicians who are at the top of their field. In other words, we have the best allergists in Columbus! And according to Columbus Monthly, the rest of Central Ohio agrees! Two of our doctors — Dr. Debora Ortega-Carr and Dr. Philip N. Rancitelli, M.D., F.A.A.A.A.I. — were recently named in the magazines Top Doctors 2016 list. The list was compiled by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., a healthcare research and information company founded by a former medical college board chairman and president, according to the article in Columbus Monthly. The company’s physician-led team rigorously screened candidates to select the top doctors and Castle Connolly’s online nomination process was open to all licensed physicians in the country, according to the article. The process is designed to find the best of the best in the region and medical specialty, by looking at the doctor’s education and professional experience. Doctors do not and cannot pay to be selected, according to the article. So you can rest assured, our doctors are the best allergists in Columbus. We are so proud of Dr. Ortega-Carr and Dr. Rancitelli! Dr. Ortega-Carr graduated from […]
The itchy, watery eyes. The sneezing. The scratchy throat. It’s hay fever season and that means only one thing: Finding ways to cope with fall seasonal allergies. If you have hay fever, or fall seasonal allergies, the end of summer can mean misery. Hay fever, also known as seasonal rhinitis, is no fun. But luckily, there are things you can do to relieve suffering. Here are four ways to cope with fall seasonal allergies, aka hay fever. Stay inside While this may seem cruel on a beautiful fall day, limiting your time outside may help relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. And if you can’t stay inside, be sure to take a shower and change clothes to remove allergens from your skin, hair and fabrics. See your allergist There’s no need to suffer. There are medications to try and we even offer allergy shots that can, over time, reduce symptoms. Our team of experts can help you find your allergen triggers and prescribe the proper treatment so you don’t have to feel bad. Rinse your nose and eyes Flushing allergens out with saline nasal and eye rinses might seem extreme but this natural remedy can really make a difference. If you want […]
Do you have shellfish allergy? Have you been asked this question when undergoing a radiology procedure/study? There has been a longstanding myth that patients with shellfish allergy will also have reactions to radiocontrast dye. During my allergy training many years ago I was taught that this is not true. Unfortunately non-allergy medical professionals persist in believing this to be true. A study reviewing the medical literature for rates of contrast reactions and risk of contrast dye administration to shellfish allergic patients or prior reactions to contrast dye. It found that severe reactions occurred 0.02-0.5% of procedures and there was no relation to “iodine allergy” or shellfish allergy. (Journal of Emergency Medicine Nov. 2010) The iodine in shellfish, is not the protein that triggers the allergic reaction, it is tropomysin. The mechanism for reactions to contrast dye is not clear. In fact there maybe multiple causes. So the take home message is: there is no reason to avoid radiocontrast dye if you have a shellfish allergy.
“Medicine is more art than science” is a frequently mentioned quotation and just as true in allergy and immunology as in other fields of medicine. Fortunately there are many new developments and discoveries which are shifting this balance toward a more scientific basis. In general, research is focused on what happens during an allergic response and much is known of what the mechanism is which underlies this response. Very little is known about why this happens. IgE is a marker of allergic disease in humans but what could be the benefit (if any) of having IgE exist in humans at all? Other questions which can be reasonably asked include… “What does one individual become affected and not another?” or “Why are allergies and asthma more likely to affect a younger population? It is interesting to consider the possibility that the human species perceives a substance as foreign and requires elimination or immobilization while in other individuals, it is not considered a problem. For example, a peanut to most people is innocuous but for others, it is life-threatening. Somehow the individual with allergies is unable to effectively and efficiently deal with these allergens because of a faulty immune response. Manipulating the […]
If you or someone you love has a life-threatening food allergy, starting school, changing jobs or enrolling in camps or extracurricular activities can be stressful. One way to feel empowered – and help keep you or a loved one safe – is to have a clear food allergy action plan. What is a food allergy action plan? It’s a document that helps teachers, school administrators, coworkers and other staff know what to do if a reaction occurs. For those who don’t live with food allergies, a food allergy action plan can help decipher symptoms and react quickly if there is an emergency. It’s a crucial document and here are three things you should know when you begin the process: Take a picture Having you or your child’s picture on the document is key. In a school setting, your child may be in the care of a substitute or a paraprofessional during the day. It’s important to have a picture on his or her food allergy action plan so everyone knows who the student is with an allergy. Emergency Contact List The important point here is to list emergency contacts who know you or your child – and the allergies – […]
School will be out in a few short weeks and that means one thing: managing food allergies at Summer Camp! You might be hesitant to send your child with food allergies to Summer Camp and that is understandable. There are lots of new people who may or may not know your child and a few meals and snacks to navigate. And chances are, your child is probably too young to self-carry or self-administer epinephrine in case of ingestion of his or her allergen. So what to do? Our experts at Midwest Allergy have compiled a list – using resources from Food Allergy Research & Education or FARE to help you in managing food allergies at summer camp! Read on: Find an allergy-friendly camp This is easier than ever! Check out this list of allergy-friendly camps in Ohio. Once you find a camp you like, interview the director about health care staff and food allergy preparedness. It’s also a good idea to see how far the camp is from a medical facility or hospital. Make a plan for managing food allergies Your camper will need an emergency plan so staff will know how to keep him or her safe. You can […]
If you cope with Asthma Kids Columbus, you probably wonder how it developed in your child. Doctors and researchers are studying the issue and you have probably heard of the “hygiene hypothesis.” It’s certainly interesting and for Asthma Kids Columbus, important research. Dr. Joseph Bullock wants to share this research from Allergy Watch (Volume 18, Number 1, January/February 2016) on children in Sweden. Read on! Allergy Watch Article – Asthma Kids Columbus Questions remain about the effects of early exposure to pets and the risk of developing childhood asthma. Studies of exposure to farm animals have been more consistent than studies of pets. The effects of dog and farm animal exposure on childhood asthma were assessed using Swedish national registry data. The analysis included more than 1 million children born with asthma from 2001 through 2010. Birth registry data were linked to other records including: data and farm registration, asthma diagnosis and medications, and potential confounders for parents and children. Outcomes of interest were current diagnosis of asthma at age 6 for school-aged children and incident asthma at age 1 to 5 for preschool-aged children. Follow-up data was analyzed from 2007-2012. Exposure to dogs was recorded for 14.2% of preschool-aged […]
It’s summer, so that means sports leagues, pool play dates, and lazy afternoons at the park. It also means snacks and chances are, you are someone you know has allergies to peanuts and tree nuts, so finding allergy friendly snacks is important. Making (and bringing) snacks for everyone to share safely can be a challenge, especially if you are trying to deal with allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. In addition to this list, there is a website for pre-packaged snacks (the Snack Safely list) to use as a resource. Also, there are countless bloggers writing about food allergies that have many ideas. Be creative! We have several suggestions for parents, but please label your snacks and ask permission before serving snacks to children. Better safe than sorry. And always check with your child’s allergist to make sure he or she can safely eat the foods listed here. Have a safe and healthy summer! Peanut and tree nut free: Allergy friendly snacks for kids Popcorn Fresh fruit Cheese sticks Yogurt Hard-boiled egg Dried fruit Fresh veggies Freeze dried veggies Crackers with Greek yogurt “ranch” Oatmeal with honey Waffle with cinnamon sugar Rice cakes with cheese slices Turkey Jerky Fruit leather […]
Itchy, watery eyes. A scratchy throat. A runny nose. These are all seasonal allergy symptoms, Columbus. But they are also symptoms of some viruses. It can be tough this time of year to tell if you or your children are getting sick or if you just have seasonal allergies, Columbus. A lot of the symptoms are the same and sometimes, you could have a virus AND have seasonal allergy symptoms. We want you to be happy and healthy – and feel great – so here are four ways to tell if you have virus or seasonal allergies. Read on to learn more: Fever Do you have a temperature? If you do, your symptoms are probably most likely due to a virus rather than allergies. You should NEVER get a fever with simple seasonal allergies. Sore throat While allergies can cause a “tickle” or irritated throat, your throat should not be sore or painful. If you have a persistent sore, painful throat, you probably have a virus and not just allergies. Itchy eyes While a virus can cause eye irritation, generally, itchy, watery eyes are a sure sign you have allergies. Make an appointment with your allergist to make sure (and […]
Do you have a mold allergy? Mold is a part of the Fungi family of organisms. Fungi have a complex metabolism that differs from animals and plants. They secrete enzymes into their surroundings and absorb the breakdown products of these enzymes. The Fungi family includes molds, yeasts, mushrooms, bracket fungi, plant rusts smuts and puff balls. Fungi also differ from plants and animals in the way they grow and reproduce. Fungi reproduce by making tiny spores that travel in the air. Mold spores contain the allergens that cause symptoms. Many of these spores are expelled after rain or during times of high humidity. These mold spores such as Cladosporium can be found in very high counts on humid summer days (from 2000 to 50,000 spores per cubic meter of air). Other spores such as Alternaria tend to be highest on dry windy days and range from 500 to 1000 spores per cubic meter. Peak levels of this mold allergen occur during late summer to fall. Mold spore allergens can be found year round in Ohio both inside and outside, but concentrations tend to be low in the winter. June is mold allergy season. Although counts may be elevated in the […]
The spring allergy season is upon us, so it might be time to call the best allergist Columbus Ohio! Drippy noses, itchy eyes and spring can go hand in hand – but they don’t have to. Help is out there! Our experts at Midwest Allergy can help you find relief this spring. In a recent Columbus Dispatch article, Dr. Don McNeil of Midwest Allergy, Asthma and Immunology was quoted talking about finding a fix for spring allergies. So if you are looking for the best allergist Columbus Ohio, we can help! In the article, options for treating spring allergies are mentioned and myths are debunked. One thing allergy sufferers should do is, keep taking meds – even when you feel better. “A lot of times, if they feel better, they stop,” said McNeil in the article. “That is not a good idea. And if you are taking meds throughout the allergy season but don’t feel better – or if you still feel like your allergies are out of control, you definitely should see the best allergist Columbus Ohio! In the article, McNeil said not to fear allergists – and definitely not allergy shots! “They get an image in their mind,” […]
It is well known that Columbus Ohio Allergy physicians require extensive training to become board certified. Allergy and asthma specialists require an undergraduate degree, four years of medical school, three years of residency training in either pediatrics or internal medicine, and two to three years of allergy and immunology fellowship training. After completing all the required clinical and research requirements, Columbus Ohio Allergy candidates can apply for and take an exam administered by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI). When the exam is passed, a physician is then “certified” as an allergy and immunology specialist by the ABAI. The recertification process begins immediately after initial certification and includes self-assessments, peer reviews, and numerous hours of continuing medical education (CME). Many requirements can be satisfied through on-line education and by attending medical conferences. Every year, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology stage separate conferences where the latest research in our field are presented and discussed. Regional and local allergy societies hold smaller meetings as well (including the Ohio Society of Allergy and Immunology and the Columbus Allergy Society). After 10 years, the re-certification process culminates in taking another […]
It’s almost a rite of passage: Your first bee sting. But for some, a simple sting can turn into a life-threatening emergency. Have you talked to your allergist Hilliard about bee sting allergies? According to the Mayo Clinic, most bee stings are mild, with pain and discomfort going away in a few hours. And some people have a moderate reaction, with redness and swelling that can take a day or two to go away. And some folks have a severe allergic reaction to bee stings. Your allergist Hilliard can speak more to this, if you or your child has had a severe allergic reaction, but anaphylaxis can occur with bee stings — meaning emergency treatment is required. If you carry an Epi-Pen, learn more here about how to properly store and carry it. Signs and symptoms Some of the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis due to a bee sting include: Breathing difficulties Hives or other skin issues (flushing or paleness) Throat and tongue swelling Gastrointestinal distress: Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea Dizziness, fainting or loss of consciousness A weak, rapid pulse What this means – Call your allergist Hilliard People react to bee sting venom due to the proteins in it […]
Spring is arriving in Ohio, which means that Spring pollen season is also arriving. Some who suffer from allergy have experienced symptoms a little earlier than usual this year. The mild weather of this year likely extended the growing season for spring pollen allergy Ohio. This and the warmer ground temperatures that have occurred in the early Spring due to lack of significant freezing or snow this Winter have probably set Ohio up for a long and difficult pollen season. Spring pollen include tree and grass pollen. Weeds, such as ragweed, do not pollinate until later in the Summer. Trees usually begin to pollinate first, in April and May. Some trees pollinate in early Spring, while others pollinate more in the middle of the Spring. A cold Spring during which we continue to have frost, snow, or cold rain into April, may seem to bring a shorter pollen season. During such seasons, trees may not pollinate as heavily in the early Spring. In this scenario, many people with allergies notice the spring pollen allergy Ohio season starts a little later, but we can already see that things are starting earlier this year. Trees and allergies The most common trees to […]
While winter in Central Ohio has been mild this year, there is a condition that can still affect people when the temperatures drop. Cold urticaria, which affects mostly children and teens, is basically an allergy to cold temperatures where the skin reacts – causing hives and other symptoms like itching. Like other allergies, cold urticaria can vary in severity. Some patients have minor reactions while others are more severe. It can be triggered by cold air or cold water and usually only lasts for a few years. Our allergists in Columbus, Ohio can talk you through this condition, which is manageable. Normally, treatment is antihistamines and avoiding cold air and cold water. Full body – or systemic – reactions are rare and usually occur if the person affected is doing something like swimming in a cold body of water. Generally, you should see an allergist in Columbus, Ohio if you experience symptoms to rule out underlying conditions that could cause cold urticaria. And if you or your child has dizziness, swelling of the tongue or throat or breathing issues, seek emergency care. The cause of this condition is unknown. To test for it, your allergist in Columbus, Ohio will place […]
When your child is diagnosed with a food allergy, it can be a stressful and scary time. Friends and family might not always understand and you will likely have questions and concerns. How will we handle parties and potlucks? What about school? What’s the best way to store and carry life-saving medication? Can we ever take a vacation? For parents dealing with food allergies in their kids in Columbus, Ohio, knowledge is power. This is where a food allergy support group can come in handy. Moms (and dads!) can find a safe place to vent, learn about recipes, products and treatment and get support about food allergies and kids in Columbus, Ohio. So where do you find a support group? Your allergist might know of one through a hospital. There are also online support groups on sites like Facebook. And you can look up support groups for food allergies and kids in Columbus, Ohio on the Food Allergy Research and Education (or FARE)’s website. Another great group is the No Nuts Moms Group. This national group has smaller chapters in several cities across the U.S. One of the best things about support groups – both online and in person – […]
By Dr. Grace Ryu Spring break is just around the corner. If flying is on the itinerary for your trip and you have food allergies then there are several things to keep in mind. Some airlines carry vials of injectable epinephrine or Epi-pens. But some airlines may not have trained crew members to administer the Epi-pens, such as Southwest. So always have your own Epi-pens and Benadryl on you at all times. Other Tips: Inform the airline about your life-threatening allergy and request an accommodation. Some examples of accommodations are: Pre-boarding, an allergen-free buffer zone and serving peanut- and tree nut-free meals or snacks. Bring your own allergy-safe foods. Wipe down seats and tray tables. Print the airline’s published food allergy policy and present to the gate and flight crew if they are not familiar with the policy. Following these tips will hopefully help you arrive at your sunny destination without any problems!
If you are looking for the best allergist in Columbus, Ohio, look no further than Midwest Allergy! Two of the three doctors named the best around by Columbus Monthly – Dr. Debora A. Ortega-Carr and Dr. Philip N. Rancitelli – are from Midwest Allergy. This ranking confirms what the patients of Dr. Ortega-Carr and Dr. Rancitelli already know: That these two dedicated physicians work hard at providing the best care. Midwest Allergy, with several offices in central Ohio, prides itself on having top-notch doctors. And this recent ranking by Columbus Monthly confirms that if you want the best allergists in Columbus, Ohio, we are the ONLY place to go. Columbus Monthly’s rankings are compiled by Castle Connolly, a health care research and information company that helps guide consumers to America’s top doctors and hospitals. Candidates are researched and screened, making sure it’s physician-led team selects the best doctors for these awards. The top docs are nominated and then their professional and education experiences are screened before the final selection is made. Doctors honored with this award are highly regarded by their peers. They cannot pay to be selected and profiled, so you know Drs. Ortega-Carr and Rancitelli are the best […]
The staff and doctors here at Midwest Allergy could not be more proud of our own Dr. Grace Ryu, who was recently quoted in the Columbus Dispatch.Recognizing Dr. Ryu’s excellence and knowledge as a Columbus, Ohio allergist, the Dispatch quoted her in its article about the warm winter weather and allergy symptoms. In the article, published Feb. 3, 2016, Dr. Ryu — a board-certified allergy and asthma specialist – talked about the 10 to 20 percent increase in patients reporting mold allergies with this winter’s higher-than-average temperatures. Dr. Ryu also said folks suffering with allergies should stay indoors – despite cabin fever! – and take medication to relieve symptoms like stuffy and runny noses, wheezing and drainage. Something else Dr. Ryu recommended as an allergist in Columbus, Ohio is to consider using a humidifier. Although, she cautions that while humidifiers can “…help a person’s sinuses, they also can create better living conditions for dust mites. “They don’t live well in lack of humidity,” she said, in the article. Dr. Ryu, one of several allergists in Columbus, Ohio at Midwest Allergy, grew up in Hillsboro, Ohio and received her bachelor’s degree from Miami University. She received her Medical Doctor degree from […]
by Don McNeil, M.D., F.A.A.A.A.I Allergists are also immunologists if board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. This certification enables an immunologist to recognize and treat patients who have a compromised immune system. The human body has multiple means of protecting itself from harm. The following is a description of the mechanism of protection that fails in the immune system in a variety of circumstances. These may occur at any age but this topic deals with the immune disorders encountered as adults, particularly the elderly. Primary immunodeficiencies (PI) occur more frequently in the newborn and younger population, approximately one in every 1,200 people. Secondary immunodeficiencies are even more common. These are frequently due to age, illness, injury or medication. PI may occur in patients over age 60 and may be new-onset but could also be pre-existing and overlooked. It is important to recognize these no matter the age because it may certainly prolong life and provide a better quality of life. Diseases which are associated with an immune disorder or secondary to another illness include cancer, HIV, malnutrition, diabetes, Down’s syndrome and patients after the spleen has been removed (splenectomy). There is also an infallible loss of […]
By: Philip N. Rancitelli, M.D., F.A.A.A.A.I Many of us make resolutions this time of year to improve our health. The rising costs of health care and evolving access to care make such resolutions more complicated than 10 to 20 years ago. Having a well thought out strategy can ease the pain of out-of-pocket expenses, inconvenient appointment times, and long wait times at your physician’s office. Here are a few tips to improve your experience with Midwest Allergy: The busiest time of the year for allergy care is May through September. If possible, schedule your routine checkups outside of this window to minimize your wait time in the office, and to have access to a wider variety of appointment times. Schedule appointments as far in advance as possible. At certain times of the year, booking the next available appointment might be several weeks to months in the future. This is obviously not optimal if you need an appointment to renew expired prescriptions or to address a new problem. If paperwork for school needs to be filled out/signed by your physician, think about contacting our office early in the summer to get this taken care of. At the beginning of the school year, […]
Pets provide companionship and fun, but for some people a dog or cat can also trigger sneezing, sniffles and worse. Does an animal allergy mean a life without Fido? Not necessarily. There is a myth that pet allergies are triggered by animal hair, but they are actually caused by a protein found in pet skin (or dander), saliva and urine. Some dog breeds are labeled “hypoallergenic”, as they shed less, but no dog is 100% hypoallergenic—even hairless dogs still have some allergen. Each animal is different, and a particular pet allergy sufferer may do better with one breed than another. If you’re allergic and want to get a dog or cat, consider looking for breeds with shorter hair and less shedding, although there isn’t real scientific evidence this will help. Some allergists have suggested that a dog that tends to keep its coat throughout the year may be better for allergy sufferers. Other factors, such as your pet’s disposition, might make frequent bathing more feasible. Things you can do to reduce suffering from pet allergies: • Make your bedroom a pet-free space, and wash bedding in hot water. • Bathe your pet frequently and have a non-allergic person perform grooming […]
If you think your outdoor allergies are getting worse, you may be right. And global warning may be the culprit. That’s not good news for the millions of people worldwide who suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and allergic asthma. Recent studies suggest that increasing temperatures and carbon dioxide levels are causing spring seasons to arrive earlier. This means that pollination starts sooner. Tree pollen is the most common trigger for spring hay fever. Fall allergies, primarily caused by ragweed, are also getting worse because ragweed grows faster and produces more pollen per plant. Global warming is especially bad news for asthmatics whose flare-ups are triggered by allergens or ozone pollution. There are steps you can take to avoid outdoor allergens that trigger your symptoms. • Keep windows in your home closed as much as possible to prevent pollen from drifting into your home. • Keep your car windows closed when traveling. • The best times of day to be outdoors are when the pollen levels are lower. This is typically on rainy, cloudy and windless days. • When gardening, avoid touching your eyes and face. • Take a shower after spending time outside; pollen can collect on your […]
This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI Pharmacy shelves are stocked with supplements for healthy living. These complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are used by millions of people. Although they are intended to prevent illness, ease symptoms or treat disease, some of these products can do more harm than good—especially if you have a chronic condition such as an allergy or asthma. “Natural” does not always mean safe. While prescription and over-the-counter drugs must go through rigorous safety and efficacy testing before they can be sold, herbal medicines do not. Instead, the U.S. government classifies these herbs as dietary supplements, rather than a food or drug. For people with allergies or asthma, this difference can pose real risks. Labeling Herbs and vitamins do not need to conform to laws requiring labeling. Ingredient labels for these supplements may be incomplete or incorrect. This can create risks for people with allergies to drugs, foods or pollens. Herbal remedies, including teas, made from plants can cause allergic reactions, such as hives, or can induce asthma symptoms. Although chamomile and various other herbal teas may be calming, these products can cause an allergic reaction for people with a ragweed pollen allergy. […]
Saline sinus rinses can bring relief to patients with chronic sinus or rhinitis problems without the use of medication. If you suffer from chronic or acute sinus infections, sinus rinses can be helpful in removing and thinning out excessive mucus. If you have allergic rhinitis, these rinses can bring relief by removing allergens from the nostrils and sinuses. Although easy to use, the rinsing process may seem unusual at first and may take a little getting used to. Several commercial sinus rinse devices are available without a prescription. They are convenient to use and can be found in most pharmacies. But you can also make your own rinse at home with only three ingredients and at a fraction of the cost. Saline Rinse Recipe Ingredients 1. Pickling or canning salt-containing no iodide, anti-caking agents or preservatives (these can be irritating to the nasal lining) 2. Baking soda 3. 8 ounces (1 cup) of lukewarm distilled or boiled water In a clean container, mix 3 heaping teaspoons of iodide-free salt with 1 rounded teaspoon of baking soda and store in a small airtight container. Add 1 teaspoon of the mixture to 8 ounces (1 cup) of lukewarm distilled or boiled water. Use […]
By: Dr. Joseph Bullock We are well into the holiday season, which is usually a time of great joy but can cause frustrations for patients with allergies. If you plan to visit family and friends, you may be exposed to “accidental” allergens. Many home-baked goods may contain eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, or seeds. Family and friends might have a pet to which you are allergic. Please, plan to take oral antihistamines and/or nasal steroids and nasal antihistamines for rhinitis. Take your albuterol inhaler or even your nebulizer for emergency asthma symptoms. Antihistamine eye drops are useful for conjunctivitis due to pet dander. An Epipen would be a life-saver for accidental food exposure. A little preplanning can avoid rushes to the pharmacy or emergency room.
October 2015 Dear Patients, With a lot of joy and sadness, I am writing to let you know of my intention to retire from the practice of medicine. My last day with Midwest Allergy Associates, Inc. will be December 31, 2015. I have enjoyed caring for you and your families over the years. Some of you have been patients for over 40 years!! As you all know, Midwest Allergy Associates, Inc. is staffed with some of the most knowledgeable allergists and immunologists in the country. I highly recommend that you select one of these physicians for your continuing and future allergy treatment. If you are being treated with immunotherapy (allergy shots) it is especially important that you choose another Midwest Allergy Associates, Inc. physician. This will allow your treatment to continue without interruption. You may select another Midwest Allergy Associates, Inc. physician by contacting our office. Your medical records are confidential and will remain on file with Midwest Allergy Associates, Inc. Please be assured that my staff will do everything they can to make the transition smooth and stress free. It has been a great pleasure being your allergist! I sincerely appreciate your friendship and loyalty. I wish you continued […]
Millions of people suffer allergy symptoms caused by indoor allergens such as dust mite droppings, animal dander, cockroach droppings and molds. While it is impossible to avoid these allergens, there are ways you can minimize exposure to them. Controlling Dust Mites Who could guess that a microscopic-sized allergen could cause major problems? • Because so much time is spent in the bedroom, it is essential to reduce mite levels there. Encase mattresses, box springs and pillows in special allergenproof fabric covers or airtight, zippered plastic covers. Bedding should be washed weekly in hot water (130° F) and dried in a hot dryer. • Keep humidity low by using a dehumidifier or air conditioning. • Wall-to-wall carpeting should be removed as much as possible. Throw rugs may be used if they are regularly cleaned. • People with allergies should use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter or a doublelayered bag, and possibly wear a dust mask-or ask someone else to vacuum. Controlling Pet Allergens Contrary to popular opinion, people are not allergic to an animal’s hair, but to an allergen found in the saliva, dander (dead skin flakes) or urine of an animal with fur. • All dogs and […]
For many students, starting college marks the beginning of adulthood and it may be the first time they’ll be living independently. This exciting (and sometimes scary) transition poses special challenges for those with allergies and asthma, and it often raises concerns for parents. A new environment exposes students to different allergy and asthma triggers. The challenges of college life may add additional stress that can aggravate asthma. And, for those with food allergies, dining on campus can seem like a minefield. These may seem like daunting hurdles to overcome. But with a little planning, teens can successfully transition from high school to college, and at the same time take a more active role in managing their health. Steps to take If they aren’t already doing so, now is the time for teens begin to take responsibility for managing their conditions. Here are some timely tips for the college-bound: • When you arrive on campus, meet with staff (especially food service personnel and residence hall advisors) to develop a plan to control your allergies and asthma. • Don’t take chances. Know what triggers your allergic disease and stay away from these allergens. Be aware of signs that you need to seek […]
Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Auvi‑Q® Due to Potential Inaccurate Dosage Delivery Dear Colleagues, It has come to the AAAAI’s attention that Sanofi US has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of Auvi-Q® (epinephrine injection, USP) due to potential inaccurate dosage delivery. Sanofi US is conducting this recall with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The concern is that if a patient was experiencing anaphylaxis and ended up not receiving the intended dose, there could be significant implications due to the potentially life-threatening nature of anaphylaxis. The recall covers all Auvi-Q units currently on the market in both the 0.15 mg and 0.3 mg strengths. This includes lot numbers 2299596 through 3037230, which expire March 2016 through December 2016. AAAAI members should be aware of this recall because the manufacturer is urging patients to promptly contact their healthcare provider to arrange for a prescription for an alternate epinephrine autoinjector. The manufacturer is also advising patients to contact their healthcare provider if they experience any issues that may be related to using the product. If your patients have questions related to the recall, they can visit Auvi‑Q.com and call 1‑866‑726‑6340 Mondaythrough Friday (8 am to 8 pm ET) for […]
By: Michael Pistiner MD, MMSc This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI Restaurants serve more than just food. They also serve an important role in our social activities. According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), 44% of adults report that restaurants are an essential part of their lifestyle. However, if you or someone in your family has a food allergy, eating out can be a stressful experience. Communication is key Food allergy awareness is important for owners, food preparers and wait staff in all types of eating establishments–from sit down to take out. Additionally, it is imperative for you to alert servers and managers of your food allergies prior to ordering. If you or a family member has a food allergy, consider checking a restaurant’s menu online or calling before visiting. Always alert your server or the manager about your allergy. Simple dishes made from scratch are safest. Remember to carry emergency medicine at all times, especially when dining out. And, if there is any question that an allergenfree meal cannot be safely served, then it is best to avoid the risk and politely leave. New legislation for food allergies Food allergy advocates have been encouraging legislation […]
This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI Some of the symptoms of food intolerance and food allergy are similar, but the differences between the two are very important. Eating a food you are intolerant to can leave you feeling miserable. However, if you have a true food allergy, your body’s reaction to this food could be life-threatening. Digestive system versus immune system A food intolerance response takes place in the digestive system. It occurs when you are unable to properly breakdown the food. This could be due to enzyme deficiencies, sensitivity to food additives or reactions to naturally occurring chemicals in foods. Often, people can eat small amounts of the food without causing problems. A food allergic reaction involves the immune system. Your immune system controls how your body defends itself. For instance, if you have an allergy to cow’s milk, your immune system identifies cow’s milk as an invader or allergen. Your immune system overreacts by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. Each type of IgE has a specific “radar” for each type of allergen. Unlike an intolerance to food, a food allergy can […]
By: Dr. Grace Ryu Many of you may have heard about the groundbreaking study in New England Journal of Medicine early this year. The results of the Immune Tolerance Network’s “Learning Early About Peanut” (LEAP study) demonstrated support for early, rather that delayed, introduction of peanut in high-risk infants. This early introduction prevents the subsequent development of peanut allergy. Based on this study published in February the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology have endorsed and accepted a policy regarding Early Introduction and the Prevention of Peanut allergy in High-risk Infants. Healthcare providers should recommend introducing peanut-containing products into the diet of high-risk infants early on in life, between 4-11months of age. Not doing this may be associated with an increased risk of developing peanut allergy. Infants with early-onset atopic (allergic) disease, such as eczema or egg allergy in the first 4-6 months of life may benefit from evaluation by an allergist. The evaluation may consist of performing peanut skin testing. If positive the allergist may perform an in-office peanut ingestion challenge if appropriate after discussion with the family. This is an important policy since the study […]
By: Dr. Don McNeil A patient who chooses to visit one of our offices or is referred to our office by another physician may not be aware of the process. A patient who is well informed ahead of the visit will better understand the sequence of events and why. The following is a description of what is involved before he or she arrives, what information is collected before the visit, during the visit and how the medical evaluation is conducted. Prior to the appointment, each patient has the option to complete a questionnaire on line. This information will enable the patient to consider and document relevant information at their own pace. Further demographics are collected at the reception desk including relevant insurance information and copayments. This is also the time that the patient is informed of his rights and the regulations involved with HIPPA requirements. The actual physician evaluation is only one portion of the encounter. This involves a review of the medical history, a physical examination and possibility of further testing such as skin testing, breathing (pulmonary function) tests, food challenges, blood tests or x-rays. Once this information is acquired, a treatment plan is instituted. This may require additional […]
Typical allergens affecting the eyes include pollen and mold spores, animal dander and dust mites. So if you have been diagnosed with any of these allergies, then symptoms may develop in your eyes. Most people suffering from eye allergies have problems in both eyes. Symptoms usually appear quickly, soon after the eyes come in contact with the allergen. The most common symptom occurs when the small blood vessels widen and the eyes become pink or red. Some people experience pain in one or both eyes. Other symptoms include swollen eyelids, a burning sensation, and sore or tender eyes. The first approach to managing your eye allergy symptoms is to avoid the allergens that trigger your symptoms. However, this isn’t always possible. That is when medications might be helpful. Over-the-counter eye drops or oral antihistamines are commonly used for short-term relief. If these are not effective, your allergist may prescribe longterm, targeted medications. Also, immunotherapy (allergy shots) is a proven treatment approach to managing many allergies, including ocular. Eye allergies occur when the conjunctiva becomes inflamed. This is the mucous membrane covering the white of the eye and the inner side of the eyelid. Physicians use the terms “ocular allergy” or […]
As we become more environmentally conscious, earth-friendly practices like composting are gaining popularity in homes and community settings. That poses an interesting question: Is composting food waste safe for people with food allergies? For a food to cause a significant allergic reaction, it must gain access inside the body. This can be through ingestion, contact with an open wound (such as a scratch), or inhaling fine particles in the air or fumes from heated food. In most instances, being near or adding food waste in a composter or a composting pile should have little risk to a food allergic person, providing you take these precautions: • If you are food allergic and are doing the composting, wear a pollen mask to prevent inhaling any particles. Goggles, gloves, and wearing long sleeves and long pants can prevent contact exposure if you have scratches or open wounds. • If you are composting and are around someone with food allergies, wear gloves when composting or thoroughly wash your hands so that you don’t run the risk of transferring allergen particles. Is the heat generated from the composting process enough to prevent an allergic reaction? Research is showing that extensively heating milk and egg […]
By: Dr. Deborah Ortega-Carr There are two types of allergic reactions that occur after an insect sting or bite. Local reactions typically cause itching, burning and swelling that subsides in hours. Systemic reactions cause symptoms distant to the sting site and can be very severe including hives, widespread swelling, shortness of breath,, nausea vomiting, dizziness and low blood pressure with loss of consciousness. Patients who have had any systemic symptoms are referred to an allergist for further evaluation and treatment. Patients receive skin testing and sometimes blood tests to look for IgE allergy antibodies. Many allergists now measure a tryptase level to assess the risk of anaphylaxis by looking for other risk factors. Local reactions can sometimes be more significant and are referred to as Large Local Reactions (LRTs) LRT’s are also due to allergy antibodies and are often called late phase inflammatory reactions. The typical large local reaction occurs over several hours, 6 or more hours after the sting, progresses for 24-48 hours and can last 5 days or longer. Although these reactions are associate with low risk of anaphylaxis and venom immunotherapy (shots) are generally not recommended, patients are often very concerned about these local reactions. Ice to […]
Cost of Allergist Still a Value at Midwest Allergy Health care delivery is a rapidly evolving industry, and all specialties have been affected, including allergy and immunology. Practices like Midwest Allergy are continually trying to adhere to new guidelines mandated by our government, insurance companies, and allergy/immunology governing boards. Unfortunately, patients ultimately feel the impact of this as well. Many patients have noticed increased out of pocket expenses for medications and services provided by physicians. Furthermore, access to quality medications has suffered, as insurance companies often prefer to cover older generic medications rather than novel therapies. Midwest Allergy physicians have been proactive in dealing with the current medical environment, while remaining determined to continue to offer high quality care. Our physicians actively participate in local, state and national allergy/immunology meetings to help promote our specialty and to learn the best ways to integrate new guidelines into our practices. Our staff has played a vital role in accommodating changes as well. They work diligently to keep Midwest Allergy an efficient and quality medical practice. For instance, our nurses spend more time than ever working to get medications covered for patients after initial insurance denials. Many of our nurses also attend […]
Allergist / immunologists are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies, asthma and other diseases of the immune system. Allergists practicing in the United States have completed medical school, at least three years of residency in pediatrics or internal medicine, then at least two years of specialized training in allergy and immunology. To be board certified, they must pass an examination and regularly attend continuing medical education programs in allergy and immunology. Many people with untreated allergic symptoms aren’t aware of how much better they can feel once their symptoms are properly diagnosed and managed by an allergist / immunologist. An allergist’s approach is personal. Your allergist typically asks about your medical history, does a physical examination and performs specific allergy and/or breathing tests. The results guide a personalized treatment plan which typically includes measures to avoid or eliminate triggers, recommendations for medications and education to help you take an active role in treating your disease.
Spring is in the air, and so are billions of tiny pollens that trigger allergy symptoms in millions of people. This condition is called seasonal allergic rhinitis, commonly referred to as hay fever. Hay fever can affect your quality of life. It can lead to sinus infections, can disrupt your sleep and affect your ability to learn at school or be productive at work. Symptoms include: Itching in the nose, roof of the mouth, throat, eyes Sneezing Stuffy nose (congestion) Runny nose Tearing eyes Dark circles under the eyes
Allergies to tree pollen are in full bloom in the Midwest—and when spring allergy season begins, it comes on fast, according to allergists familiar with the area. “When the tree season comes on, patients go from feeling normal to just being miserable,” said Dr. Don McNeil, who specializes in allergy and immunology at Midwest Allergy in Columbus, Ohio. The spring allergy season is short—just six to eight weeks—but it can make allergy sufferers highly uncomfortable. McNeil says this is heightened by the fact that many people with pollen allergies also have mold allergies. The moist warm weather that marks spring encourages mold growth. That means mold allergies are on the rise at the same time as tree pollen. The tree pollen that causes related spring allergies can only arise from trees that pollinate: deciduous trees. These are the oaks, hickories, sycamores, cottonwoods, birches and other hardwoods that are prevalent in the Midwest. Although that makes spring allergies worse in this area, McNeil said moving to another region rarely brings long-term relief. “If you are prone to having allergies, you may move to a new area and be free of your symptoms initially,” he said. “After a year or two, you […]
From the AAAAI: Seasonal allergic rhinitis, commonly referred to as hay fever, affects millions of people worldwide. Symptoms include sneezing, stuffiness, a runny nose and itchiness in your nose, the roof of your mouth, throat, eyes or ears. These allergic reactions are most commonly caused by pollen and mold spores in the air, which start a chain reaction in your immune system. Your immune system controls how your body defends itself. For instance, if you have an allergy to pollen, the immune system identifies pollen as an invader or allergen. Your immune system overreacts by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. Pollen Pollen are tiny grains needed to fertilize many kinds of plants. Pollen from plants with colorful flowers, like roses, usually do not cause allergies. These plants rely on insects to transport the pollen for fertilization. On the other hand, many plants have flowers which produce powdery pollen that are easily spread by wind. These culprits cause allergy symptoms. Each plant has a period of pollination that does not vary much from year to year. However, the weather can affect the amount of pollen in the air […]
By: Dr. Joseph Bullock The milky sap of the rubber tree ( Hevea brasiliensis) is the source of natural rubber latex (NLR) and is capable of causing allergic reactions, both contact dermatitis and contact systemic symptoms. NLR materials were introduced into the health care field in 1840 with the advent of NLR surgical gloves. In the late 1980’s with the increase of transmittable diseases, especially HIV and hepatitis infections, the use of NLR products increased dramatically. During the 1990’s, NLR emerged as a major cause of allergy problems in health care workers and in patients with spinabifida who undergo numerous catheterization procedures. The only effective treatment is the avoidance of all latex products including latex gloves, condoms, band aids, balloons and other rubber products. Using powder free, latex free gloves and other rubber products has dramatically decreased the frequency of latex allergy. About 40% of latex allergy patients also show allergic symptoms to plant derived foods especially fruits. This is called the latex-fruit syndrome caused most frequently by avacado, banana, kiwi, chestnut, and fig. Patients with latex allergy should be aware of these potential food cross reactions.
Most people are bothered by skin irritations at some point in time. These irritations are so common and varied that they are called by different names, which can lead to confusion. When an allergen is responsible for triggering an immune system response, the irritation is an allergic skin condition. There are several types of allergic skin conditions. An allergist / immunologist, often referred to as an allergist, has advanced training and expertise to determine which condition you have and develop a treatment plan to help you feel better. Hives and Angioedema Urticaria is the medical term for hives, which are red, itchy, raised areas of the skin. They can range in size and appear anywhere on your body. Most cases of hives are known as acute and go away within a few days or weeks, but some people suffer from chronic hives with symptoms that come and go for several months or years. Your allergist may prescribe antihistamines to relieve your symptoms. If the cause can be identified, you should avoid that trigger. However, the majority of chronic cases are not related to allergy. Routine testing, such as blood counts or allergy screens, are not recommended as they are unlikely […]
Do you cough, wheeze and have a tight chest or shortness of breath when you exercise? If yes, you may have exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). This happens when the tubes that bring air into and out of your lungs narrow with exercise, causing symptoms of asthma. An estimated 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, according to the World Health Organization, and strenuous exercise makes it worse for many people. Some people with EIB do not otherwise have asthma, and people with allergies may also have trouble breathing during exercise. Symptoms If you have EIB, you may have problems breathing within five to 20 minutes after exercise. Your symptoms may include: • Wheezing • Tight chest • Cough • Shortness of breath • Chest pain (rarely) Triggers People with EIB are very sensitive to both low temperatures and dry air. Air is usually warmed and humidified by the nose, but during demanding activity people breathe more through their mouths. This allows cold, dry air to reach your lower airways and your lungs without passing through your nose, triggering asthma symptoms. Air pollutants, high pollen levels and viral respiratory infections may also be triggers. Other causes of symptoms with exercise may be […]
By: Dr. Michael Franz PNEUMOCOCCAL DISEASE Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by the Streptococcus Pneumoniae bacteria (germ) sometimes referred to as pneumococcus. The pneumococcal bacteria can cause many types of illnesses including pneumonia,meningitis,ear infections,sinus infection,and bacteremia (blood stream infection) Pneumonia,meningitis,and bacteremia are considered invasive disease meaning that the pneumococcal bacteria invade parts of the body that are normally free from germs.These infections can be life threatening! We normally have a small amount of pneumococcal bacteria in our nose and mouth without it causing problems.It will cause infection only if it gets where it shouldn’t belong,like our lungs,ears or sinus cavities. Anyone can get pneumococcal disease,but some people are at higher risk for disease than others.Children at higher risk are: -children under two years of age -children in group child care -children who have certain illnesses (sickle cell anemia,HIV infection,immune. deficiency,and chronic lung or heart conditions) Adults at higher risk are: -any adult 65 years or older -some adults 19 through 64 years of age with chronic illnesses (Heart,lung,liver,kidney,asthma,diabetes and alcoholism) -with conditions that weaken the immune system (HIV/AIDS, cancer,or damaged/absent spleen) -living in a nursing home -who smoke cigarettes Transmission of pneumococcal bacteria is from person to person by […]
At Midwest Allergy, children’s food allergies is an area of expertise. We use our expertise to provide support and education for the community. Whenever credible studies come to light, we’re eager to learn from them. Check out this article regarding the possible prevention of peanut allergies. Prevention of Peanut Allergies: Are We Ready to Take the LEAP? Author: David Stukus, MD PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 26, 2015 IN: ALLERGIES & ASTHMA By now, every family living with peanut or food allergies has heard about the landmark study findings released on February 23, 2015. I happened to be in attendance at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology meeting when the authors disclosed the findings of the Learning About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study. I have never seen such buzz and excitement from within our field! As with all research findings, it’s important to read past the headlines. We have known for some time that rates of food allergy have increased dramatically in recent years with no currently effective treatment other than strict avoidance. This requires significant lifestyle modification and vigilance, which can impact quality of life. Recent research has mostly focused on possible treatment of children who already have food allergy (stay […]
By: Dr. Grace Ryu With the cold dry air of winter your eczema has probably flared. People are always looking for an alternative to steroid creams. Steroid creams are often needed when the inflammation cannot be managed with moisturizers. There are many new formulations of moisturizers containing ceramides or waxy lipid molecules (fatty acids). Many studies suggest that decreased ceramide levels in the skin are one of the major problems causing eczema. These moisturizers help restore the concentration of ceramide thus fixing the barrier function. These creams can be expensive and petroleum based products seem to have similar effectiveness with much lower cost. There are also several more natural products that could be used such as coconut oil and sunflower seed oil. Coconut oil is a good emollient and has some antibacterial properties. It was shown to reduce staphylococcus on the skin when applied twice a day for one month. This may help decrease the inflammation and itching that is caused by Staphlococcus. Probiotics and the effect it has on eczema are controversial. Some studies show a benefit while others show none. Also there are still many unanswered questions about dosing, timing and the appropriate type of probiotic. Phototherapy with […]
From the AAAAI: Millions of people suffer year-round from allergy symptoms caused by indoor allergens. These culprits include dust mite droppings, animal dander, cockroach droppings and molds. Your immune system controls how your body defends itself. For instance, if you have an allergy to dust mites, your immune system identifies dust mites as an invader or allergen. Your immune system overreacts by producing allergic antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. This reaction usually causes symptoms such as sneezing, stuffiness, a runny nose, or itchiness in your nose, the roof of your mouth, throat, eyes or ears. When these symptoms occur year-round, the condition is called perennial allergic rhinitis. In addition to causing allergy symptoms, allergens can also trigger asthma flare ups in people with allergic asthma. With the help of an allergist / immunologist, often referred to as an allergist, you can learn what allergens cause your symptoms. While avoiding allergens is the most effective treatment approach, strict avoidance isn’t always possible. Here are some changes you can make to help you feel better. Dust Mites Dust mite allergens are a common trigger of allergy and asthma symptoms. While […]
Allergist / immunologists are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies, asthma and other diseases of the immune system. Allergists practicing in the United States have completed medical school, at least three years of residency in pediatrics or internal medicine, then at least two years of specialized training in allergy and immunology. To be board certified, they must pass an examination and regularly attend continuing medical education programs in allergy and immunology. Many people with untreated allergic symptoms aren’t aware of how much better they can feel once their symptoms are properly diagnosed and managed by an allergist / immunologist.
By: Dr. Don McNeil Like any other service oriented occupation, the practice of allergy and immunology must constantly try to reach the population in need of our area of expertise. We have a product to market which is our knowledge and training not unlike the automobile mechanic who knows when a repair is necessary and how to fix it. It is not hard to suspect a problem; the challenge is to know the correct diagnosis and how to correct it. Because this challenge can be such a difficult one, it’s important to always consult a board-certified allergist. Do I need to see an allergist? A person confronted with the endless information available when he or she begins to explore electronic media or word of mouth, can quickly become confused. The biggest billboard or gimmick to attract your attention at the supermarket does not guarantee a perfect result. It is unfortunate that a consumer of medical care often does not have the confidence to know the difference between a slick advertisement and an honest effort to inform someone of the options. He/she may constantly be asking, ‘do I need to see an allergist?’ Most people with allergies or asthma will never […]
If you have an allergy, your body is reacting to something you inhaled, touched or ate. The substances that trigger an allergic reaction are called allergens. Reactions to these allergens range from annoying to life-threatening. Many people with untreated allergy symptoms aren’t aware of how much better they can feel once their symptoms are properly diagnosed and managed by an allergist / immunologist, often referred to as an allergist. An allergist is a pediatrician or internist with at least two additional years of specialized training and is the best physician to diagnose and treat allergies and asthma.
If you suffer from allergy symptoms, you may wonder if allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots) is the best treatment for you. While it requires time and patience, the payback can be long-term relief Allergies are the result of a chain reaction that starts in the immune system. Your immune system controls how your body defends itself. For instance, if you have an allergy to pollen, your immune system identifies pollen as an invader or allergen. Your immune system overreacts by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. Allergy immunotherapy is the medical term for allergy shots prescribed by allergists. An allergist/immunologist, often referred to as an allergist, has specialized training and experience to determine which allergens are causing your symptoms and discuss if allergy immunotherapy is right for you. Occasionally doctors give cortisone-type shots that can temporarily reduce allergy symptoms. These types of shots are different and should not be confused with allergy immunotherapy injections. How Does Allergy Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots) Work? Allergy immunotherapy works much like a vaccine. Your body responds to injected amounts of a particular allergen given in increasing doses, eventually developing a resistance and tolerance to […]
By: Dr. Deborah Ortega-Carr Although allergic rhinits and asthma are chronic illnesses, most patients are not symptomatic on a daily basis. Many patients have seasonal flares when symptoms are troublesome. Asthma patients are symptomatic a minority of the time, but they are frequently instructed to take a daily controller medication. Often a patient feels that they need medicine much less than is prescribed. Patients and parents of patients often wonder how to present these concerns to the physician so that a healthy discussion of risks and benefits of the medications can take place. Am I Under Control? The description of control of allergies and asthma varies greatly among individuals. For some it may be the ability to exercise at a high level. For others it may mean a resolution of their worst symptoms. Determing what control means for an individual patient will then set the stage for the plan for management. Clinicians also vary in their definitions of control but most agree that reducing flares or exacerbations of asthma and allergies is a good marker of control. Recent asthma quidelines suggest that step down of asthma medications may be considered after asthma has been under good control for 3 months. […]
This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI Unlike many allergic conditions, there currently are no proven treatments for food allergy. Management of food allergies remains dependent upon avoiding substances that trigger allergy symptoms. Allergic reactions to food normally occur within minutes of eating the trigger food, though they can sometimes appear a few hours later. In some cases, food allergies can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis.
This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI With the arrival of winter, seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma sufferers can breathe relief as most outdoor allergens disappear until spring. But holiday gatherings and spending more time indoors exposes many people to different allergen triggers. Food Allergies During the Holidays Food plays a central role in many events. If you have a food allergy, these functions can be difficult to navigate. Be sure to ask about the ingredients used to make each dish. Be aware that cross-contamination can occur during preparation. If you think the foods served pose too much risk, or if you just don’t feel comfortable eating foods provided by others, you don’t have to. Bring your own snacks or eat before you arrive. Even if you take every precaution, there’s still a slim chance of an allergic reaction. Have your autoinjectable epinephrine at-hand just in case. Other Holiday Triggers Holiday decorations, travel and stress can all present challenges for people with allergies and asthma. Here are some of the most common triggers to be on the lookout for: Does your Christmas tree make you sneeze or cause shortness of breath? It’s unlikely that you […]
By: Dr. Don McNeil It may not be immediately apparent but medical research is conducted just one floor above the Midwest Allergy office at 8080 Ravines Edge Court in Columbus. Medical research is an essential component of a good medical practice in order to provide the latest products and Optimed Research Ltd is helping to achieve that goal. We are committed to providing ample medical research opportunities and expanding collective understanding. Every pharmaceutical product (medication or device) must navigate an extensive pathway before approval by the Federal Drug Association (FDA). Often it may be 10 to 15 years from the day the product is discovered until it is fully approved by the FDA. Optimed Research is involved with Phase II and Phase III clinical trials in medical disciplines including allergies, diabetes, gout, heart disease and lung disease (COPD and asthma). Phase II studies are designed to test the product in the target population which exhibit the disease in question. For example, a new product considered beneficial to a certain diabetic population is studied in a small select group of diabetic patients and data is collected which will show if the medication has the desired effect. Once it has passed this […]
This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI, AAAAI Website Medical Editor Flu season is here and so is the need to be protected by getting vaccinated. This vaccine contains a very small amount of egg protein, so before giving it health providers ask if you are allergic to eggs. But do you really know if you are allergic to egg? Could you have egg intolerance? Food allergies affect millions of adults and children. On the flip side, many people think they are allergic and unnecessarily avoid certain products.
This article was reviewed by Stuart A. Friedman, MD, FAAAAI, AAAAI Patients & Consumers Web Editor. Do asthma and allergies threaten to be the Grinch in your holidays? The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) offers these tips to help keep your season merry: The holidays are filled with hustle and bustle, but stress can trigger an asthma attack. Shop early or late in the day to avoid crowds. If “quiet time” isn’t a part of your normal routine, now is the time to start. Fires burning in the hearth bring warmth and ambiance to a holiday get-together. However, the smoke and ash can smother the spirit for some, provoking breathing difficulties or triggering an asthma attack. Request the Yule log remain unlit.
It has long been known that allergies and asthma tend to run in families, making children where one or both parents have an allergic disease more likely to develop these conditions. Fortunately, there are steps that may delay or possibly prevent allergies or asthma from developing. Preventing Food Allergies Food allergies can cause problems ranging from eczema to life-threatening allergic reactions. These reactions are more commonly found in cow’s milk, soy, egg, fish, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts. Infants at risk for developing food allergy are those with a biological parent or sibling with existing, or history of, allergic rhinitis, asthma, atopic dermatitis, or food allergy.
This article was reviewed by Stuart A. Friedman, MD, FAAAAI Heading back to school is an exciting time for most students and parents. But for families of children with food allergies, it can also be a time of anxiety and fear. For students with food allergies, potential dangers lurk throughout the school environment. Risks in the cafeteria are often obvious to parents, but students must also be careful when art projects, fieldtrips and class parties involve food. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) estimates that approximately 3 million school-age children suffer from food allergies. Yet school districts have differing policies on how to provide a safe environment for these children.
by: Dr. Phillip Rancitelli In 2006, a drug called cetuximab (trade name Erbitux) entered the market for the treatment metastatic colorectal cancer and some head and neck cancers. Soon after, allergic reactions, some very severe, were reported during the first administration. An observation was made that these allergies occurred more commonly in the southern United States. Immunology studies showed that these patients produced IgE (allergic) antibodies against a sugar called galactose–a-1,3-galactose (a-gal), which is present in cetuximab. Researchers, however, couldn’t explain the geographic distribution of these reactions. Meanwhile, allergists in Virginia began to encounter a different group of patients with allergic reactions who also demonstrated this allergic antibody. Many of these patients said their reactions occurred hours after ingestion of beef or pork. Interestingly, a-gal is a blood group component of nonprimate mammals. The time course of these reactions made it difficult to understand, because most allergic reactions to foods occur very quickly (not 4-5 hours later). Subsequent case reports of similar reactions popped up all over the southern United States. Eventually, an observation was made that the distribution of increased reactions to cetuximab overlapped areas where Rocky Mountain spotted fever (a disease carried by ticks) occurs. Patients were then […]
by: Dr. Jennifer Bullock Pollen Seasons Many pollen allergy sufferers are glad to know that this year’s pollen seasons are winding down! Some who are having symptoms for the first time might be wondering what has been happening to them since the Spring started. Some people with allergies know that they have symptoms, but do not know when to expect them, or when the different plants are pollinating. Below is a summary of the different pollen seasons that may help you to manage your symptoms. What is pollen? Pollen is a fine powdery substance produced by a plant as part of its reproductive process. Pollens are produced and released into the air by different plants during certain times of the year. Tree Pollen: Wind pollinated trees pollinate from April through the end of May. If April is cold and rainy, or if it snows in April, the tree pollen season might not be as severe early on, and might not cause you to have too many symptoms until the end of April. Grass Pollen: Grasses pollinate from around mid-May until the end of June. By Memorial day weekend, grass pollen is in full force, and many notice a worsening of […]
Seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) affects more than 35 million Americans. If you suffer from it, you may experience sneezing, stuffiness, a runny nose and itchiness in your nose, the roof of your mouth, throat, eyes or ears. These allergic reactions are most commonly caused by pollen and mold spores in the air, which start a chain reaction in your immune system. Your immune system controls how your body defends itself. For instance, if you have an allergy to pollen, the immune system identifies pollen as an invader or allergen. Your immune system overreacts by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction.
Allergies often bring to mind sneezing, runny nose or watery eyes. While these are symptoms of some types of allergic disease, an allergic reaction is actually a result of a chain reaction that begins in your genes and is expressed by your immune system. What is happening inside your body when you have an allergic reaction? Read on to find out. The Immune System Your immune system controls how your body defends itself. For instance, if you have an allergy to pollen, your immune system identifies pollen as an invader or allergen. Your immune system overreacts by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. This reaction usually causes symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or on the skin.
by: Dr. Michael Franz The FDA has recently approved a new oral immunotherapy treatment for grass pollen and ragweed pollen seasonal allergy. The treatment must start 3 months before the season and continue during the season. The total treatment will therefore last 4-5 months. The first dose must be given in the doctor’s office and then subsequent daily doses are taken at home. The tablet is placed under your tongue where it is allowed to dissolve slowly. The tablet is taken once a day. Grass pollen treatment is approved for use in adults age 18 through 65. Ragweed pollen treatment is approved for children ad adults age 5 through 65. To be effective, grass treatment must start by February 15th and ragweed treatment must start by May 15th. It is unusual to only be allergic to grass or only to ragweed. If you are only allergic to grass pollen you will only have allergy symptoms in late May and during the month of June. If you are only allergic to ragweed pollen you will only have symptoms in late August and during the month of September. So far the treatment is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid and you should […]
This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI A leading theory behind the rising allergy and asthma diagnosis rates is the “hygiene hypothesis.” This theory suggests that living conditions in much of the world might be too clean and that kids aren’t being exposed to germs that train their immune systems to tell the difference between harmless and harmful irritants. This concept is supported by studies that show that individuals living on farms develop fewer allergic diseases. The theory is that farm animals increase exposure to germs and germ components called endotoxin. These endotoxins stimulate the immune response and decrease allergic inflammation. Other research suggests that the rising prevalence of allergies and asthma may be more complex and the result of one or more different factors:
This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI Many of the symptoms of allergic and non-allergic asthma are the same but the triggers may be different. Allergic Asthma Triggers Allergic asthma, or allergy-induced asthma, is the most common form of asthma. If your asthma is allergic, your symptoms are most often triggered by inhaling allergens. An allergen is a typically harmless substance such as dust mites, pet dander, pollen or mold. If you are allergic to a substance, this allergen triggers a response starting in the immune system. Through a complex reaction, these allergens then cause the passages in the airways of the lungs to become inflamed and swollen. This results in coughing, wheezing and other asthma symptoms. Exposure to allergens may trigger the symptoms, but the real culprit in allergic asthma is the IgE antibody. The IgE antibody is produced by the body in response to allergen exposure. The combination of the antibody with allergens results in the release of potent chemicals called mediators. The mediators cause inflammation and swelling of the airways, resulting in symptoms of asthma.
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Summertime is one of the best times of the year. The kids are all out of school and more active than ever. With summertime also comes the risk of a wide range of allergic reactions. Skin based allergies are incredibly common-especially in the summer. Summer is a common time for skin rash flare-ups, including atopic dermatitis (eczema) and urticaria (hives). These steps may help to reduce your symptoms, or even avoid them all together: Beware of the sun. Hives can be triggered by heat or sweat. Drink plenty of fluids, avoid becoming too hot and wear sunscreen. Be prepared. Eczema can worsen in the summer, especially with excess sweating. Have a skin care treatment plan. This may include having mild bathing products on hand. Beware of certain plants. Poison oak, sumac or ivy can all lead to skin rashes. There is a simple reminder to stay safe: “Leaves of three, let them be.” Some people are sensitive to the point that their conditions can flare-up when in contact with grass or other plants. For protection, wear long pants and long sleeves if outdoor plants cause a reaction. Insect bites can cause a severe local reaction in some people. Insect repellent can […]
This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAIAn epinephrine autoinjector is used to treat a severe allergic reaction or to prevent anaphylactic shock caused by stinging insects, foods, latex, medications or other allergens.If you have a severe allergy and carry epinephrine, it is important to know that each brand functions a little differently. The stress of an anaphylactic reaction is not the time to realize you have a different autoinjector than what was demonstrated to you by your allergist.There are several readily available brands of epinephrine autoinjectors: EpiPen®, Auvi-Q® and Adrenaclick®. There is also an authorized generic of Adrenaclick® called epinephrine injection, USP auto-injector. As generics are sometimes substituted for brand names, it is possible that a generic autoinjector would be substituted at the pharmacy for the brand your physician prescribed. Although the medication is the same, the method for injecting it is different for each brand. Your physician or his/her staff will provide training on how to use the specific brand prescribed.The next time you pick up your prescription, be sure to compare the brand you received with the brand you have been trained to use. If the medication appears to be different than what you expected, find out […]
by: Dr. Grace Ryu Now that summer is in full swing exposure to chlorine increases due to swimming pool use. You may notice trouble breathing, rash or runny nose when swimming. You may wonder are you allergic to chlorine? The answer is no, but you could be sensitive to chlorine. Chlorine sensitivity can manifest as skin issues, respiratory or nasal symptoms. Skin problems can present as itchy red skin or hives (itchy raised patches). Chlorine can also cause a flare of eczema (atopic dermatitis) or help calm eczema. Treatment for skin issues involve, washing the skin with clean nonchlorinated water to remove the chlorine. Occasionally steroid creams maybe needed and for hives use benedryl. Respiratory problems can present as cough that is worse at night after swimming, shortness of breath/cough with swimming, wheezing or chest tightness. If any of these symptoms occur then seeing an allergist to make sure it is not exercise induced asthma is a good idea. Several studies of elite swimmers suggest that chronic exposure to chlorine increases airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness (constriction of airways). These changes seem to decrease with discontinuation of high level training. Nasal symptoms consisting of runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion and […]
This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI If you have ever experienced red, itchy skin, swelling, vomiting or trouble breathing after eating or coming into contact with a certain food, you may wonder if you have a food allergy. While diagnosing food allergies can be tricky, an allergist has the training and expertise to know which tests to give you and how to accurately interpret them. Your allergist will take a thorough medical history, followed by a physical exam. You may be asked about contents of the foods, the frequency, seasonality, severity and nature of your symptoms and the amount of time between eating a food and any reaction.
Summer fun can turn to fall misery for millions of people who suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, itchy eyes, nose and throat, or worsening of asthma symptoms are common in people with undiagnosed or poorly managed hay fever. The primary culprit of fall allergies is ragweed pollen. A ragweed plant only lives one season, but it packs a powerful punch. A single plant can produce up to 1 billion pollen grains. These grains are very light weight and float easily through the air. Fall allergy symptoms used to start in mid-August and run through September. However in many parts of the country these symptoms now begin in early August and extend through October. Some studies suggest that rising temperatures and higher carbon dioxide levels contribute to longer growth time of allergen-producing plants. Allergies occur when the body’s immune system treats the allergen, in this case ragweed, as a foreign invader. This starts a chemical reaction which produces and sends histamine throughout the blood stream. These chemicals cause allergy symptoms to develop.
by: Dr. McNeil We face daily reminders of the rising cost of living, and health care is leading the way. In order to contain some of these costs, we still have the option of selecting the health care provider of our own choosing. Why, then, would someone choose to see a specialist as long as one can be assured they will see a reputable physician? It may be an easy answer if it means a complicated surgical procedure such as back surgery. On the other hand, consulting a specialist who is primarily focused on listening, testing and arriving at a logical conclusion to a more common problem might not seem as important. Think for a minute of the busy general practitioner who must see an increasing number of patients each day. He or she will be required to make many decisions, and that physician must be confident that the geriatric patient who was cared for just before you will be equally satisfied with the care provided you. As specialists, we have all had the required training to provide a similar service as the general practitioner but, for many reasons, we chose to continue our studies in a specific field of […]
by: Dr. Deborah Ortega Allergy management has traditionally taken 3 forms, avoidance, medications to reduce symptoms and control illness and desensitization. Desensitization can be successfully achieved with some medications, stinging insect venoms and airborne allergens such as grass pollen, ragweed pollen and mold spores. The most common form of desensitization for airborne allergens used by allergists in the United States is subcutaneous immunotherapy or allergy shots. In Europe, airborne single allergens are also given sublingually. Allergy immunotherapy works much like a vaccine. Your body responds to injected amounts of a particular allergen given in increasing doses, eventually developing a resistance and tolerance to it. Allergen immunotherapy is typically considered when a patient, and his/her physician, find that medications have not effectively controlled symptoms, or when the patient finds it difficult to take the prescribed medications on a continuous basis, or when the patient experiences side effects that hinder his/her ability to use the medication regimen as directed. Allergy shots can lead to decreased, minimal or no allergy symptoms. Published studies have shown the clinical effectiveness in allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis and allergic asthma. Allergy shots also reduce the number of new allergens developed in those receiving immunotherapy for a single […]
This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI These simple steps may reduce your risk of developing allergy and asthma symptoms when you clean: Kitchen Use an exhaust fan on a regular basis to remove cooking fumes and reduce moisture. Place garbage in a can with an insect-proof lid and empty trash daily. Store food—including pet food—in sealed containers, and discard moldy or out-of-date items. Each week, mop the floor and wipe cabinets, backsplashes and appliances. Clean cabinets and countertops with detergent and water, and check for plumbing leaks. Wipe up moisture in the refrigerator to avoid mold growth. Empty and clean drip pans and clean or replace moldy rubber seals around doors. Wash the dish rack, and wipe the light switch plates, phone and inside of the garbage can. Seasonally, empty and scrub down the inside of the refrigerator and the utensil drawers. Scrub down the cupboard exteriors and clean the stove-hood filter.
by Dr. Joseph Bullock Recently, there has been a marked increase in the occurrence of all allergic diseases which we believe may be due to changes in recent living conditions in modern Western civilization. We spend more time indoors in tight houses built to conserve energy. We have clean water and wear shoes. We have eradicated helminth (worms) infestations. Vaccines have eradicated most of the usual childhood diseases. Our diets have trended towards eating too many calories, too much sodium and too much fat. We use too many broad spectrum antibiotics and Tylenol (acetaminophen) and we have decreased physical activity. All of these factors are believed to have caused the increase in allergy. Whether one chooses to believe that the present climate change toward warmer average temperatures is primarily due to human activity or another global cycle of cooling and warming, the evidence is overwhelming that warming is occurring. This warming has had and will have an impact upon allergenic plants. An atmosphere is higher temperature and carbon dioxide produces ragweed, grass, trees and mold that have an increased biomass (height and density), flower earlier, and produce more pollen and spores which are more potent. This is especially true in […]
This article has been reviewed by Linda Cox, MD, FAAAAI Immunotherapy treatment (allergy shots) is based on a century-old concept that the immune system can be desensitized to specific allergens that trigger allergy symptoms. These symptoms may be caused by allergic respiratory conditions such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma. While common allergy medications often control symptoms; if you stop taking the medication(s), your allergy symptoms return shortly afterward. Allergy shots can potentially lead to lasting remission of allergy symptoms, and it may play a preventive role in terms of development of asthma and new allergies. The Process Treatment involves injecting the allergen(s), causing the allergy symptoms. These allergens are identified by a combination of a medical evaluation performed by a trained allergist/immunologist and allergy skin or allergy blood tests. The treatment begins with a build-up phase. Injections containing increasing amounts of the allergens are given 1 to 2 times a week until the target dose is reached. This target dose varies from person to person. The target dose may be reached in 3 to 6 months with a conventional schedule (one dose increase per visit) but may be achieved in shorter period of time with less visits with […]
Dr. Don McNeil of Midwest Allergy was quoted this past month in the Columbus Dispatch, in an article about air duct cleaning. The text of the article is below: By Misti Crane The Columbus Dispatch • Sunday March 30, 2014 4:28 AM Kyle Ashcraft has asthma, and his 13-year-old son, Ethan, has multiple allergies that sometimes keep him up at night sniffling and coughing. Ashcraft, of Marion, asked his family doctor whether he should consider cleaning the ducts of his 1930s house. He knew that previous owners had pets, and Ethan is allergic to pet dander. The doctor said it wasn’t a bad idea, so Ashcraft hired Pringles, a Columbus company, to clean his ducts in December. Since then, he said, his son has had more restful sleep and considerably less sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes. “I was shocked at what was in there, but once I saw what was in there, you could definitely see how it would make a difference,” said Ashcraft, who paid about $400 for the cleaning. The research on duct cleaning’s potential to reduce allergies, asthma and other health problems isn’t strong. For that reason, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it can’t offer blanket recommendations on duct cleaning. […]
by Phil Rancitelli, M.D. There are many myths about allergies that have been around for years. Many lead to unnecessary treatments and costly interventions. Some things you hear about allergies might sound farfetched but are actually true. Let’s try to separate fact from fiction. Hypoallergenic dogs and cats Unfortunately, there isn’t a breed of dog or cat that is 100% hypoallergenic. Pet allergens that cause symptoms are found mostly in saliva and urine, so even a small pet that doesn’t shed can secrete enough allergen to drive an allergy sufferer crazy. Some people react less or not at all to certain breeds of dogs, but reactivity is almost impossible to predict and studies have not revealed a universally tolerable breed. Shellfish allergy and iodine Shellfish allergy is due to proteins, not iodine. There is no relationship between shellfish allergy and iodine allergy/radio contrast material allergy. Unfortunately, some patients are still questioned about shellfish allergy before radiology procedures. Airborne food reactions Actually, this can occur. Most severe food reactions occur after ingestion, but some occur after inhalation of cooked fumes/vapor. This is primarily an issue with seafood. Keep in mind, it’ very unlikely that simply being in the presence of a […]
Seasonal allergic rhinitis known as hay fever is caused by pollen carried in the air during different times of the year in different parts of the world. If you are allergic to pollen, this allergen triggers symptoms such as sneezing, stuffiness, a runny nose and itchiness in your nose, the roof of your mouth, throat, eyes or ears. To control hay fever symptoms, it is important to monitor pollen counts so you can limit your exposure on days the counts are high. Also, hay fever medications work best if started before allergy symptoms develop. So, if you start taking allergy medications before you first come into contact with spring allergens, the medication can prevent the release of histamine and other chemicals. As a result, allergy symptoms are prevented from developing or are much less severe. Pollen counts are different than pollen forecasts. Forecasts are predicted based on the previous year’s counts and current weather conditions. The counts are reported for specific plants such as trees, grasses, and weeds and mold spores. Pollen counts are measured with an instrument that is usually situated on a rooftop where it collects spores for a 24-hour period. The instrument is then taken to a lab […]
By: Dr. Jennifer Bullock With Winter (hopefully!) winding down in the next few weeks, we will be facing the transition into early Spring, which can be a difficult time for some allergy sufferers. Many people with allergies experience a worsening of symptoms in the early Spring, before the pollen season begins. This is often due to mold allergy. Mold allergens may be a problem for allergy sufferers almost all year around, as there are somemolds that release their spores in dry, windy conditions, and others that release their spores in humid, wet, or rainy conditions. Freezing cold temperatures of Winter typically suppress molds altogether, but the melting of snow, and the mild, wet and rainy conditions of early Spring promote growth of molds and release of large numbers of mold spores into the air. In some Winters, we experience several days of warmer weather and melting of snow, and these conditions may also support release of mold spores into the air. Changes in barometric pressure that occur around the time of rain in early Spring and Fall stimulate some molds to release their spores into the atmosphere. Many people who have symptoms that also occur outside of the pollen seasons […]
Do you suffer from frequent sneezing, congestion or stuffiness and an itchy or runny nose? If so, you may have a condition called rhinitis. There are two types of rhinitis: allergic rhinitis and non-allergic rhinitis. Let’s talk first about allergic rhinitis. Allergic Rhinitis Allergic rhinitis is caused by allergens like molds, pollen and animals. These are substances which are usually harmless, but can cause allergic reactions in certain people. Allergy symptoms are the result of a chain reaction that starts in the immune system. Your immune system controls how your body defends itself. For instance, if you have an allergy to pollen, your immune system identifies pollen as an invader or allergen. Your immune system overreacts by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release histamine and other chemicals, causing an allergic reaction with symptoms such as sneezing, stuffiness, a runny nose, itching and post-nasal drip. People with allergic rhinitis are also prone to itchy, watery eyes (from allergic conjunctivitis), and they may be more sensitive to irritants such as smoke, perfume or cold, dry air. Rhinitis can contribute to other problems such as asthma, sinus or ear conditions, or trouble sleeping. Allergic Rhinitis Triggers […]