Posts Tagged ‘asthma’

Can I be having a Food Allergy?

 

Ah, the holidays!  Family… food… football… allergies!  That’s right.  The holiday season can be a dangerous time for people with food allergies – whether you are aware of the allergy or not.  And to compound the potential danger or discomfort, we tend to drop our guard during the holiday season festivities and, let’s be honest, eat things we wouldn’t normally eat in quantities we might not normally eat them.

food allergies, Anaphylaxis,

People with food allergies need to be careful about hidden foods on the holiday table.

Plus, who wants to insult the host by asking what the ingredients are in that holiday delicacy – even if it could put you or a loved one at risk?  The most common food allergies are egg, dairy, tree nut, peanut, soy, wheat and shellfish. By themselves, these ingredients can be very obvious.   But sometimes, they’re hidden in otherwise “safe” foods found at the holiday table.  So what exactly is a food allergy and how do you know if you have one?

Often times we think of a food allergy triggering something referred to as Anaphylaxis, a sudden and severe reaction involving two or more body systems. These symptoms can affect the skin (rash, hives, itching), the respiratory tract (tightness in the chest, wheezing or shortness of breath) or even gastrointestinal tract (stomach ache, pains or diarrhea). The symptoms may require a response by 911, emergency room evaluation and use of epinephrine.

What are some of the milder symptoms that you may experience? Some of the more common “healthy” food allergies are to peanuts, bananas, milk and strawberries. If you notice that after eating or drinking you experience any negative symptoms, such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, a quick accumulation of mucus in the throat or a post nasal drainage, you can suspect a food allergy. You may notice an itching of your skin with or without a rash.

Difficulty breathing, symptoms of asthma or even shortness of breath may be triggered by a food allergy. Food allergies can trigger stomach aches or pains with or without diarrhea which may cause people to think that it’s more of an irritable bowel disease. It’s important to note that Irritable Bowel Disease may become worse with food allergies and people with Irritable Bowel Disease may benefit form an allergy evaluation.

If you experience, these symptoms, you should contact your medical practitioner. And in case you were wondering, yes, you can grow into or out of food allergies and the danger or severity of reaction can also change over time.

 

Advertisements

Relief from Rhinitis

Many people suffer from a sinus condition called Rhinitis. The sniffles and sinus pressure associated with it can truly affect one’s quality of life.

The causes and treatments of rhinitis was the topic of conversation on a recent eHealth Radio podcast. Board certified nurse practitioner Ed Neuzil shared helpful information for listeners. Click here to here the 10 minute interview:  ehealth radio network.

eCigarettes: A Smoking Gun?

This week’s announcement that CVS pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes is welcome news to us. Aside from undisputed concerns about smoking leading to death and disease, our resident allergy and sinus expert often lectures patients about the allergic reactions smokers and their nearby victims can experience.

smoking, asthma, allergies, vapor, The chemicals and noxious particles from smoking cigarettes causes inflammation and swelling of nasal passages resulting in sneezing, itchy sinuses, and runny, stuffy noses. For people with asthma, these allergic reactions can lead to more serious symptoms.

Some smokers trying to avoid the potential for disease may resort to the newly popular electronic cigarettes which purport to have fewer amounts of nicotine and chemicals among other benefits. The eCigarettes are battery operated and emit a vapor so the user simulates smoking.

But the Food and Drug Association is not so quick to sign off on this alternative, citing a need for more research. Because eCigarettes still deliver nicotine, flavor and other chemicals to the user, there is still potential for harm.

“The FDA has found that there are still emissions from the electronic cigarettes which contribute to second-hand smoke,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida. “Second-hand smoke poses a dire risk for children who are much more likely to develop asthma and allergies when they inhale the chemicals in all cigarettes.”

While more research on eCigarettes is ongoing, Neuzil stresses the best way to avoid the health hazards is to stop smoking all together.

 

 

 

Fires Can Fuel Smoke Allergies

smoke inhalation, sinusitis, sinus irritation, Dr. Neuzil's Irrigator, saline rinseSummertime brings an increased risk for wildfires in parts of the United States. Firefighters in western states are already battling blazes while others regions are on high alert for potential flare-ups.

Loss of life and property are the greatest concerns for areas of immediate threat but the effects of wildfires can be far-reaching especially for people who suffer from smoke allergies and asthma.

Dry, windy conditions help spread the smoke over hundreds of miles and carry pollutants that cause sinus and respiratory irritation. Consider that the smoke may contain chemicals from man-made materials which increase the risk for people susceptible to adverse reactions.

The wind may also carry pollen which further contributes to discomfort and can cause serious breathing issues.

Doctors stress the importance of staying indoors when smoke is heavy in your area. If that is not possible, consider wearing a mask.

Once exposed to smoke, it is important to wash your hair and clothes as soon as possible as remnants will remain. Also use a sinus rinse to get rid of any airborne pollutants you have inhaled that could be trapped in your nasal passages.

Working out during allergy season

exercise, asthma, bronchorestriction, allergies, wheezing, pollutantsWarmer temperatures are welcome relief for people ready to move their exercise regime outdoors.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies or asthma, being outdoors can become unpleasant or may interfere with your ability to work out either recreationally or competitively.

Environmental substances such as pollen, dust, mold spores and air pollution can trigger symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, post-nasal drip, and runny nose and, in extreme cases, hives, trouble breathing, cough and dizziness. Also, extremely dry air or cold temperatures can cause trouble breathing.

“People who often experience these symptoms may have exercise-induced bronchorestriction or EIB,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Central Florida. “This happens when the tubes that bring air into and out of your lungs narrow with exercise, causing symptoms of asthma.”

Some people with EIB do not otherwise have asthma, and people with allergies may also have trouble breathing with exercise.

“It is the exposure to triggers that cause the discomfort,” says Neuzil. “So you should know what triggers your symptoms and then try to avoid them in order to not disrupt your exercise routine.”

Neuzil suggests the following:

  • Consult with an allergist prior to starting your exercise program to help determine what you may be causing your symptoms.
  • Take all allergy and asthma medications as prescribed.
  • Breathe through the nose as much as possible when exercising. The nasal passages have natural filters that will help block irritants from getting into your lungs.
  • Exercise indoors when pollen counts are high and conditions very dry or cold.
  • Always have an inhaler or other prescribed rescue medication with you in case you need it.
  • Know your early signs of symptoms so you can stop exercising before they progress to more serious ones.