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.


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


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

Continue reading “Immunodeficiency and Infection: Who’s At Risk?”

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”

What Allergies Form in the Winter?

Services-SinusitisThe spring and fall aren’t the only seasons that can cause uncomfortable allergy symptoms. Winter allergies are far more common than you may realize. Your itchy eyes, congestion, and headaches could actually be due to allergy triggers unique to the cold season. Here’s what you should know!

Fireplace Smoke

There are few things more comforting than a cold night, a hot fire, and a great book, but it turns out that your fireplace could be causing your allergy symptoms. If you have a real wood fire, the smoke could be acting like an irritant and causing your itchy eyes and sore throat. Gas fireplaces don’t create real smoke, but they can still send irritants airborne. Try keeping your fireplace off for a week or two to observe changes in your symptoms.

Forced-Air Furnaces

Turning on your heat for the first time? Be prepared for the airborne dust that your forced-air furnace will spread throughout your home. Lint, fabric fiber, bacteria, animal dander, and food material combine into one large allergy nightmare and travel with your heated air to drive you crazy. Everything from dust mites to cockroach droppings are likely to circulate through your house in the winter. Yuck!


Florida’s weather doesn’t reach the freezing cold temperatures needed to stop mold in its tracks. As a result, mold remains just as much a threat in the winter as it does during the spring and fall. Mold can develop indoors or outdoors, and though you cannot control mold in nature, you can certainly use a dehumidifier to control mold in your home.

Visit Your Allergist

Don’t assume you are stuck with your winter allergies forever. An experienced allergist like Dr. Kratz can evaluate your symptoms and recommend the best course of treatment to kick your allergy symptoms.

Call (813) 670-7062 today to schedule your first appointment at Kratz Allergy and Asthma.

Fall Allergy Season: What You Need to Know to Cope

If you suffer from allergies, you have been living in misery for the past month or two now that autumn has arrived. You’re probably ready to escape your allergy symptoms and start enjoying the cooler weather, so here’s what you need to know about coping with fall allergy season.

Watch out For Ragweed

A full 75% of people who suffer from springtime allergies also experience strong allergic reactions to ragweed in the fall. Ragweed is a yellow flowering weed that starts to bloom in August. It lasts for many months in Florida due to the hot and humid weather. With no early winter frost to kill ragweed, it can linger through the holidays.

In order to stop the itchy eyes and congestion caused by ragweed, take these simple steps:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible on days with high pollen counts
  • Avoid outdoor activities during mid-morning and early afternoon
  • Always keep car and house windows completely closed to prevent infiltration
  • Vacuum your carpets regularly
  • Remove your outerwear before you walk into your house

Continue reading “Fall Allergy Season: What You Need to Know to Cope”

What Is Causing Your Itchy Skin?

Scratching an itch brings a unique sense of relief, but what happens when your itching just won’t stop? Chronically itchy skin is usually a symptoms of a larger problem that needs to be addressed. If your skin has become red and raw from itching, try to narrow down the cause so you can finally seek relief.

Treat Dry Skin

Dry skin is one of the most common causes of itchy skin, especially as winter approaches. Dry air especially the forced heat in your home, will dry out your skin quickly. Be proactive by preventing dry skin with the following tips:

  • Use moisturizer every time you bathe or wash your hands
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated
  • Run a humidifier
  • Don’t use scalding hot water
  • Choose mild soaps

Continue reading “What Is Causing Your Itchy Skin?”

Is It a Cold or Fall Allergies?

Services-SinusitisYour nose is running, you can’t stop coughing, your eyes are itchy, and you feel terrible. It’s fall, which means allergies and the common cold are both potential causes of your symptoms. How can you interpret your symptoms to determine the real cause of your misery? Use this guide to help!

Track Symptom Triggers

Though the symptoms of allergies and the common cold are similar – runny nose, sneezing, red eyes, lethargy – the triggers of the symptoms will be different. If your symptoms continue throughout the day and become even worse before bed, it might be a cold. A medication like Dayquil might be able to bring you relief.

On the other hand, if your symptoms only occur at specific times or in certain places, allergies are most likely to blame. Pollen counts are highest around midday, so if allergies are to blame, your symptoms could worsen between lunch and dinner, especially if you are outside during that time or have the windows open. Continue reading “Is It a Cold or Fall Allergies?”