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.

Continue reading “Where to Keep Epi Pens for Children”

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”

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”

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?”

What to Do If Your Pet Has Seasonal Allergies

You’re not the only one suffering from allergies this fall! It’s possible that your pet is experiencing uncomfortable seasonal allergy symptoms as well. Allergens saturate the air this time of year, especially in Florida where the temperatures don’t cool down quickly.

Just like you rely on a daily antihistamine to survive your worst allergy symptoms, your pet needs appropriate medical care to avoid and prevent the discomfort that develops as a result of seasonal allergies. Here’s what you should know to keep your furry friend comfortable during allergy season and beyond.

Does Your Pet Have Seasonal Allergies?

Rather than the respiratory tract symptoms that humans experience, dogs and cats are prone to skin irritation and inflammation called allergic dermatitis. You’ll notice your pet struggling with very itchy skin and the following symptoms:

  • Scratching excessively
  • Biting and chewing certain spots
  • Rubbing against vertical or horizontal surfaces to stop itching

Unfortunately, this itch and scratch cycle causes your pet’s skin to become even more inflamed and tender to the touch. Your pet will eventually experience hair loss, scabbing, and open sores on the skin if his allergies are not treated. Continue reading “What to Do If Your Pet Has Seasonal Allergies”

How to Treat Your Urticaria and Hives

Services-HivesHives, also known as urticaria, is a condition that triggers itchy patches of skin that turn into swollen red welts. You may only experience this issue once or twice, or it may develop into a chronic condition. Either way, an allergist can help you determine the root cause of your hives and recommend a lasting treatment to preserve your comfort and health.

What Are Hives?

Hives are a type of skin reaction. They usually appear as red, itchy welts that range in size. You know you are experiencing hives based on the following symptoms:

  • Red welts that appear anywhere on the body
  • Welts that change in size and shape
  • Itching that is often severe
  • Painful swelling of the lips, eyelids, and inside of the throat
  • Hives that flare with triggers like heat, stress, and exercise

Continue reading “How to Treat Your Urticaria and Hives”

Tips to Make Your Home Asthma and Allergy Friendly

florida allergiesAsthma and allergies aren’t just minor inconveniences; they are serious respiratory conditions that need to be properly treated and prevented. Medications are important, but improving the air quality of your home is also a powerful tool to combat allergies and asthma. The following tips will help you make simple changes to fix or remove triggers and make your home a more welcoming place to breathe.

Keep Pollen Out of the House

Pollen and other airborne allergens are most common in the spring and fall. Trees, grasses, weeds, and ragweed all release pollen that can sneak into your home and cause allergic reactions. Take these steps to minimize the amount of pollen lurking in your home:

  • Keep windows shut and use the air conditioner with a HEPA filter to catch 99.97% of allergens
  • Watch the pollen count and stay inside on high pollen days
  • Shower every night before bed
  • Take your allergy medication to prevent reactions

Continue reading “Tips to Make Your Home Asthma and Allergy Friendly”