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How to Discover If You Have Seasonal Allergies or a Spring Cold

While the common cold is most often spread during the winter months, many people still get a cold during the spring. Springtime is also filled with allergens like pollen and mold, and these can cause cold-like symptoms as well. Even if you have never had allergies before, you can develop seasonal allergies over time. It is important to know whether you are coping with a cold or seasonal allergies.

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Duration of Symptoms

Even at its worst, the common cold usually only lasts about ten days. In some cases, it may last two to three weeks. If your cold symptoms last longer than this, there is a chance that they could be seasonal allergies rather than a cold. It is best to get to a doctor or allergy specialist to determine what is causing your symptoms so that you can get the appropriate treatment.

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What You Can Do About Seasonal Allergies At Home

Seasonal allergies are uncomfortable, annoying, and can get in the way of what you want to do this spring. While there are some allergy treatments available from your doctor, there are also some ways that you can cope with seasonal allergies at home.

Monitor Pollen and Mold Counts

If your seasonal allergies are related to pollen or mold, you have an advantage in planning your activities. The weather services report the pollen and mold counts for the day, with projections showing throughout the week. You can use this information to plan your activities and outings accordingly. If you can reschedule an event on a high pollen day, do so. If you can’t reschedule, you’ll know to take other precautions.

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Early Symptoms of Asthma

Asthma can strike at any time in your life. You may notice symptoms of asthma in your child at a young age, in puberty, or as an adult. It is important to know the early symptoms of asthma. The sooner the condition is diagnosed, the easier treatment and management will be. Asthma can also be made worse during allergy season, and this is often when it first shows itself.

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There are several early symptoms of asthma that you may not be aware of. Some symptoms can seem like regular allergy problems or a bad cold. The best time thing to do if you have any of these symptoms persistently, is to see a doctor for proper diagnosis.

The early symptoms of asthma include:

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Where to Keep Epi Pens for Children

One of the scariest things that a parent can face is a child with severe allergies. You will always worry about whether or not your child is safe from their allergy, especially if it severe enough to require the use of an epi pen. One of the best ways that you can guard against this fear is by having epi pens for your child in all of the places that he or she will be.

At School

It is important that your child have an epi pen at school, especially if it is a food allergy that they may be exposed to by other children. Most schools have policies about how epi pens and other medications are provided and stored at the school. Your child’s school nurse can give you the information and forms you need to leave an epi pen with them in their office.

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How to Help Control Eczema with Diet

There are a lot of treatment options available for eczema, but many people do not realize that you can avoid flare ups entirely with changes to your diet. While some flares may occur even with the right diet, eating certain foods while avoiding others can lessen the frequency of eczema flares. Follow these dietary restrictions to give yourself a higher level of comfort.

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Foods to Eat

Research has found that a healthy diet that includes these foods will help you stave off eczema flare ups. If you have allergies that contribute to your eczema flares, eating these foods may not eliminate your symptoms altogether. A healthy diet can, however, help you feel better and keep flares to a minimum.

Fatty fish, such as salmon, is laced with omega 3 fatty acids, which have an anti-inflammatory effect. It is generally recommended for good health to get 250 mg of omega 3s per day. This can help reduce the effects of your eczema.

There are also some foods that act as natural anti-inflammatories and antihistamines. These foods include apples, blueberries, cherries, broccoli, spinach, and kale. In general, focusing on a diet packed with fruits and vegetables will help reduce inflammation in the body.

Probiotics can also help. These can be found in foods like sourdough bread, miso soup, and soft cheeses. You can also get probiotic supplements, and some yogurts are fortified with probiotics.

Foods to Avoid

There are some foods that have been shown to cause or contribute to eczema flare ups. Certain food allergies can contribute to eczema symptoms. While not everyone will have these food allergies, some of the most common allergies related to eczema include:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Gluten
  • Nuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

If you aren’t sure if you have any of these food allergies, you should talk to your doctor about allergy testing. You could have a food allergy even if you do not present symptoms such as hives or difficulty breathing. Through careful allergy testing, we can determine if food allergies exist that could be affecting your eczema. Contact us today for allergy testing in Florida.

What to Expect During Allergy Testing

If you have had an allergic reaction and aren’t sure what caused it, allergy testing is a must. Even if you suspect that you know what you are allergic to, many people find out they were mistaken when allergy testing is performed. There are two main types of skin testing for allergies—skin scratch testing and intradermal skin testing. Sometimes, both of these tests are performed together.

The Difference Between the Two

Skin scratch testing and intradermal skin testing are similar in some ways, but very different in how they are performed. With skin scratch testing, the allergens are placed on the skin and then a needle is used to introduce the allergen beneath the skin with a scratch. With intradermal skin testing, the allergen is directly inserted under the skin with a needle.

What Will Happen at Allergy Testing

When you go in for allergy testing, the doctor will choose the site for the skin testing. It is usually done on the forearm, although it may also be done on the back. The area is swabbed with alcohol to clean and disinfect the skin before the allergens are introduced. About fifteen minutes after the allergen is introduced, the doctor will take careful note of the results.

Usually, skin scratch testing is tried first. If you don’t have a reaction to an allergen but the doctor suspects a false negative, they will then use the intradermal skin testing, which can be more accurate. After the skin scratch testing, the area will be cleaned again with alcohol to remove the traces of the allergens. With intradermal skin testing, you may experience allergic symptoms for a few hours after the test, but an antihistamine usually helps with the symptoms.

Don’t the Needles Hurt?

Skin scratch testing is frequently painless for the patient. It really does feel just like a scratch, something barely noticeable. Intradermal skin testing is a bit more uncomfortable, as the needle is actually piercing the skin. It usually presents just as a tiny prick, though, and doesn’t cause a significant amount of pain. Once the allergen is no longer in your system, you won’t have any discomfort at all.

If you have had allergies present themselves and you aren’t sure what you might be allergic to, allergy testing can help you cope with your allergies and avoid the allergens that cause them. Contact us today for allergy testing in Florida.

Is It a Cold or Winter Allergies? How to Tell the Difference

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As the winter wears on, you are likely to experience some cold symptoms at some point. Nearly everyone gets the sniffles and sneezing at some point during the winter. What many people do not realize is that those symptoms could be a sign of winter allergies. While the symptoms can be similar, there are some differences.

Shared Symptoms

A cold and allergies can have similar symptoms. You can have a runny nose, persistent sneezing, and congestion. If these are the only symptoms you are having, one way you can distinguish between the two is duration. A cold generally doesn’t last more than two weeks. Allergies will persist as long as the allergen is present. If your symptoms last longer than two weeks, it’s time to consider allergies as the culprit.

Cold Symptoms

There are some symptoms you may have with a cold that are not associated with allergies. Fever, chills, and a persistent cough are signs of a cold. While you can have a slight cough with allergies, most often persistent coughing is a sign of a common cold. Severe chest congestion is also a sign that a cold is the problem. Continue reading “Is It a Cold or Winter Allergies? How to Tell the Difference”

Tips For Celebrating Safely With Food Allergies

Services-Food-AllergiesWhether it’s the Fourth of July or your birthday, celebrating important occasions with food is a tradition as old as time. After all, what is Thanksgiving without the turkey, or Valentine’s Day without the chocolate?

While there’s no doubt that celebrating with food is fun, it isn’t so simply for people with food allergies. Whether you’re allergic to tree nuts, milk, gluten, or anything in between, eating at holiday parties can feel less like a celebration and more like a minefield. Use these tips to indulge safely at any occasion.

RSVP With Detail

It is any host’s goal to help her guests enjoy the perfect party experience. RSVP early and include details of your food allergy. Be polite, not demanding, and explain that you simply want to make sure you don’t put yourself in harm’s way with a delicious snack that is actually an unexpected food allergy trigger.

If you feel comfortable doing so, it’s even a good idea to extend your RSVP into a full conversation with your host. Approach the conversation as your way to educate and help the party host, not insult and judge her. She’s likely to feel appreciative that you helped her create the safest and most enjoyable environment for people with food allergies at her party. Continue reading “Tips For Celebrating Safely With Food Allergies”

Immunodeficiency and Infection: Who’s At Risk?

Immunodeficiency is a serious issue, even if you’re not quite sure what it means. Any child or adult with an immunodeficiency suffers from some type of genetic or medical condition that negatively affects how their immune system works to fight infections.

Some children are born with abnormal immune systems due to genetic conditions called primary immunodeficiency disorders. Other people develop chronic conditions like cancer or lupus that require medications that stunt the immune system. Either way, those with immunodeficiency are significantly more vulnerable to infection than those with healthy and thriving immune systems.

What Medications Suppress the Immune System?

If you take any of the following medications to control a disease or chronic condition, it’s likely that your immune system has become compromised and placed you at higher risk of infection:

  • Steroids like prednisone
  • Calcineurin inhibitors like cyclosporine
  • mTOR inhibitors like sirolimus
  • Biologic response modifiers like Humira and Remicade
  • Chemotherapy or radiation

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Do You Have a Chronic Skin Condition? How to Identify Eczema and Psoriasis

Your skin is red, irritated, and peeling, but why? You could be one of the millions of Americans dealing with a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis. Don’t worry though, clear skin isn’t out of your reach!

It’s not always easy to distinguish between irritating skin conditions, but learning to recognize the differences and quickly seeking treatment from a qualified dermatologist are both vital steps on the path to clear and healthy skin.

An Introduction to Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a very common condition that causes a person’s immune system to instruct skin cells to duplicate and grow faster than they naturally should. This excess of skin cells prevents dead skin from falling off like it should. Instead, old, dead, and damaged skin cells accumulate on the skin and cause red, itchy blotches.

You may have plaque psoriasis if you have raised, reddish patches on the skin. While many patches appear on the knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp, they can develop anywhere on the body. They feel itchy, but scratching them only causes them to grow thicker.   Continue reading “Do You Have a Chronic Skin Condition? How to Identify Eczema and Psoriasis”