Tag Archives: allergy partners

Fall is here in three days! When should you start your medications to help with fall allergies?

Can you believe, despite the warmth, fall will be here in three days? For many people with allergies, fall is the worst time to be outside. Start taking your medication (antihistamines/steroids) two weeks before symptoms are likely to set in, because once your nasal or airway passages are inflamed, it reduces the chances medication will work. Also, be sure to continue your medication for a couple of weeks after the first frost.

Questions? Call our office today at (502) 882-2063 to make an appointment!

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“Red Meat Allergy: Incidence on Rise, Therapy in Works” | Article from Allergic Living 

Yellow indicates the region the Lone Star tick is normally found.

It’s an unusual condition that has only been recognized for less than a decade: red meat allergy. The allergy develops after a bite from a Lone Star tick triggers a person’s immune system to begin producing IgE antibodies to alpha-gal, a sugar found in meat such as beef, lamb, venison and pork.

It can be a confounding condition to diagnose. Unlike other food allergies in which a reaction occurs soon after eating – alpha-gal meat reactions often don’t develop until three to six hours after red meat has been consumed. So while the allergic symptoms (ranging from hives and itchiness to full-blown anaphylaxis) may be obvious, doctors and patients can miss that red meat is the culprit.

Read the full article in the July 14, 2016 Allergic Living magazine.

FDA issues updates for epinephrine instructions

Given the life-threatening nature of severe allergic reactions, it is critical that patients and caregivers be trained in the proper use of auto-injectors. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made updates to the patient instructions for epinephrine auto-injectors.The Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) issued an excellent summary of the changes, which includes the recommended injection hold time has been reduced from 10 seconds to 3 seconds. Read more here.

If you have questions about your or your child’s allergies, call our office for an appointment at (502) 882-2063.

“My Nose is Running Faster Than My Feet!”

One month from today is the KDF mini-marathon! If your spring allergies are getting in the way of your training, you may find relief by trying the following:

  1. ANTIHISTAMINES: Consider taking an oral or nasal antihistamine. (Be sure to hydrate, as antihistamines can have a drying effect and leave you feeling dehydrated sooner than usual.)
  2. WEATHER: Avoid running at peak pollen times. Check your local allergen forecast online (Pollen.com, AAAAI.org, Weather.com) or use an allergy app on your smartphone. Also, it is better to run after a rain, as opposed to clear, windy days, as there is often less pollen in the air.
  3. CLOTHING: After running, immediately launder your clothing, take a shower and wash your hair to help minimize your exposure to outdoor pollen.
  4. SALINE: Try using a saline spray or a neti pot to clear your nasal passages.
  5. AIR POLLUTION: It is best to run indoors when an ozone alert is issued. Common air pollutants can make it difficult to breath, especially for those suffering with asthma and severe allergies.
  6. LONG-TERM: Seeing a board-certified allergist can prove helpful in the long run, as he/she can decipher what allergens trigger your symptoms and develop a plan to help  your symptoms and needs.

Call us at (502) 882-2063 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Damin and his team at Allergy Partners.Layout 1

 

Pollen! What is it and Why Does it Make Me Miserable?

The pollen count

3/22/16: The pollen count is already in the “HIGH” range.

Pollen is one of the most common causes of allergies in the United States. You’ve seen it coating your car, wafting through the air and saturating your sidewalk—-the very fine, powdery, yellowish dusting which thrives in the Kentuckiana area. Our region is known to have prolific amounts of pollen which wreaks havoc and causes an adverse immune response in many of us.

Pollen is produced by trees, grasses, weeds and flowers. It fertilizes plants of the same species. Our immune system is an amazing protector, defending the body from harmful invaders and can prevents sickness. For those with pollen allergies, the immune system mistakenly targets the pollen as unhealthy and produces chemicals in your body to fight the pollen. The pollen has now become an “allergen” and the manifested fight is known as an “allergic reaction,” “hay fever” or “allergic rhinitis.”

Do you suffer in the spring? March and April allergies are almost always due to tree pollen. (It is important to start treatment before pollen season begins.)

Do you suffer around Derby time? Your are likely allergic to grass pollen. Sufferers in the late summer and fall can be allergic to ragweed. Pollen is wind-driven, can travel hundreds of miles and survive a mild winter. (Did you know the ragweed season has increased four additional weeks in the last 10-15 years–some say due to global warming.)

Some suffer pollen allergies year-round. Symptoms include: sinus pressure, facial pain, nasal congestion, cough, scratchy throat, watery/itchy eyes, runny nose, dark circles under the eyes and a decreased taste/smell sensation.

Using Neti pots, vacuuming regularly with a HEPA filter vacuum, frequent and immediate washing of clothes that have been worn outside, closing windows, using the air conditioner in your car and home, using HEPA filters and frequent changing of your home air filters can provide some sufferers relief.

Over-the-counter and/or prescription nasal sprays, antihistamines and decongestants can provide relief for many.

If those do not work, immunotherapy (allergy shots) is shown to reduce symptoms long-term in most children and adults. Call us at (502) 882-2063 to find out your options before the pollen season is upon us!

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to create a doctor-patient relationship with any reader. If you need personalized medical advice, contact your primary care physician or other physician in your community.

Courier-Journal: Dr. Damin Addresses Fall Allergies and Finding Relief

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Sneezy and miserable this fall? Here’s why.

Ragweed is rearing its devilish head in the Louisville area, bringing on sneezing, itchy eyes and other irritating symptoms for those who are allergic to it.

The season, which typically begins in August, will last for the next several weeks, said Dr. Wes Sublett, an allergy and immunology specialist with Family Allergy & Asthma.

“All the way through September, you’re going to have high, high ragweed concentrations,” Sublett said. And “ragweed persists all the way until the end of October when we get a couple of hard freezes.”

If you’re miserable, you also could be reacting to other fall weeds, mold or Kentucky’s state flower, goldenrod, said Dr. Derek Damin of Allergy Partners of Louisville.

The allergies can overlap and lead to the same kinds of symptoms, such as itchy nose, runny nose, sneezing, postnasal drip, itchy and teary eyes and even asthma flares, said Damin, an allergist. Some people also complain of headaches and ear issues.

“Without skin testing, it’s hard to say specifically” which allergy the person has, he said.

While some people may get adequate relief from taking a generic Zyrtec (cetirizine) on an “as-needed basis,” others may need multiple categories of medications year-round to get the best results, Damin said. “It depends on the individual.”

Getting a jump on the season by, for example, starting sublingual tablets (Ragwitek under the tongue) three months in advance, can be helpful, Damin said.

But if you didn’t do that, there is hope. “A lot of your antihistamines can kick in, in as little as an hour,” he said. “It’s never too late to start.”

Many, including Allegra (fexofenadine), are available without a prescription, he said.

Other medications that might be helpful include nasal steroids such as Flonase (fluticasone) and Nasacort (triamcinolone), antihistamines such as Claritin (loratadine), and eye soothers, such as Zaditor (ophthalmic ketotifen) and prescription Pazeo (olopatadine hydrochloride), Sublett said.

Some nose sprays may take a couple of weeks to provide a noticeable benefit, but “even starting them now will help you well into September and October,” Damin said.

Nasal sprays and oral decongestants may help people who get allergy-related headaches, Damin said, but patients with severe symptoms may need to see a headache specialist or a neurologist.

When choosing a medication, be sure to familiarize yourself with the side effects. For example, drowsiness can be a significant issue with some drugs, such as Chlor-Trimeton (chlorpheniramine) and Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Damin said.

“Kids who go to school on sedating antihistamines may have a 10 percent decrease in their academic performance,” Damin said.

Consider seeking the advice of a qualified medical professional for guidance.

“If you know that you’re having problems during August and September and you suspect that it’s ragweed, the best thing to do is to see a board-certified allergist to confirm your ragweed allergy and then talk about therapy options, which may include medications or immunotherapy,” Sublett said.

Allergy shots are a type of immunotherapy. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology describes them this way: “Allergy shots work like a vaccine. Your body responds to injected amounts of a particular allergen, given in gradually increasing doses, by developing immunity or tolerance to the allergen.”

In other words, immunotherapy can help to “change your immune system to get rid of the problem,” Sublett said.

However, the shots don’t work right away. There’s a build-up phase that may include getting shots once or twice a week for say three to six months, then taking maintenance shots (with a longer period between shots) once the effective dose has been reached, according to the academy.

Damin noted that “oftentimes, when patients first start allergy shots, until those shots become therapeutic, (patients) will still have to rely pretty heavily on their medications to suppress their symptoms.”

A small percentage of people don’t benefit from allergy shots, but patients should give their shots “at least a good six months at maintenance levels before they deem themselves a non-responder,” Damin said.

If your shots don’t seem to be working, there’s also a chance that you were misdiagnosed or that the dose isn’t high enough, he said.

Beyond shots and medications, allergy sufferers may get some relief from avoidance measures, such as keeping windows closed, wearing a mask (preferably the NIOSH 95 type) for yard work, taking a shower afterward and using a high-efficiency air filter on their heating and air-conditioning systems, Sublett said.

Some asthmatics benefit from avoidance as well as various treatment strategies, from steroid inhalers to short-acting medications that ease bronchospasms and wheezing, Damin said.

“We’ve seen numerous patients where the fall allergy season is causing significant respiratory symptoms and asthma symptoms, leading to loss of workdays and a diminished quality of life in terms of being able to breathe on a normal basis,” he said.

Reporter Darla Carter can be reached at (502) 582-7068, dcarter@courier-journal.com or on Facebook at DarlaCarterCJ.

ALLERGY TIPS

See a board-certified allergist for advice.

Try over-the-counter or prescription drugs.

For longer-term benefit, consider allergy shots.

Ask about taking sublingual tablets before your allergy season starts.

Use avoidance measures, such as keeping your windows closed and wearing a mask during yardwork.

Consider using a nasal rinse. If you don’t have a sterilized solution, use boiled water or distilled water to reduce risk of infection.

Sources: Louisville allergists Derek Damin and Wes Sublett


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Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to create a doctor-patient relationship with any reader. If you need personalized medical advice, contact your primary care physician or other physician in your community.

Food Allergies and the Use of Non-Food Incentives in School and at Home

The CDC’s Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs recommends the “use of non-food incentives for prizes, gifts, and awards.” This practice is also recommended by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and other health organizations. Shifting to non-food incentives at home and at school can help ease parent anxiety and the subsequent chance of accidental exposure to allergens for children with food allergies.

The Kids with Food Allergies Foundation has shared a helpful handout listing no-cost and low-cost rewards. It also includes “rewards from the heart” and “activity-based rewards.”  You can view the 2-page compilation and learn more by clicking here. You might want to consider sharing this information with grandparents, teachers, friends and administrators.

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Be sure to subscribe to receive updates by email (scroll up and hit the “Follow” button on the right)? Please “like” my facebook page at www.facebook.com/drdamin, follow me on Twitter and share this page with other allergy sufferers.

Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to create a doctor-patient relationship with any reader. If you need personalized medical advice, contact your primary care physician or other physician in your community.