Hill Country Allergy & Asthma http://www.hillcountryallergy.com Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:53:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 Do you have an allergy to penicillin? http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/do-you-have-an-allergy-to-penicillin/ Fri, 07 Apr 2017 14:11:11 +0000 http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/?p=13123 Penicillin is a commonly used antibiotic that treats many different bacterial infections.  Approximately 10% of the population has been labeled with a penicillin allergy. Out of the 10% labeled with a penicillin allergy, 90% do not have a true allergy to penicillin. A penicillin allergy may be misdiagnosed due to a childhood illness that causes [...]

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Penicillin is a commonly used antibiotic that treats many different bacterial infections.  Approximately 10% of the population has been labeled with a penicillin allergy. Out of the 10% labeled with a penicillin allergy, 90% do not have a true allergy to penicillin. A penicillin allergy may be misdiagnosed due to a childhood illness that causes symptoms similar to a drug reaction or symptoms that were a side effect rather than an allergic reaction.  Many adults that have been diagnosed with a penicillin allergy may lose their sensitivity over a 10 year span. Certain people were told as children that they had an allergy to penicillin but cannot recall which type of reaction they experienced or they were told to avoid it because other family members have a penicillin allergy.

A true penicillin allergy is IgE mediated and usually occurs after a subsequent course of penicillin ingestion. This allergic reaction occurs when preformed IgE antibodies react with penicillin causing the release of histamine and other mediators from mast cells which in turn can cause a decrease in blood pressure, difficulty breathing, swelling of lips/tongue, and hives amongst other symptoms.  These symptoms are a sign of a severe allergic reaction and you should immediately seek medical attention if you experience any of them. Some common non-allergic adverse reactions are upset stomach, diarrhea, or rashes.

If you have had a reaction and are unsure if it was due to penicillin ingestion consult with an allergist/immunologist about your history. If you are unsure, then penicillin allergy skin testing may be an option for you.  Penicillin allergy skin testing is a procedure performed to diagnose a true penicillin allergy.  The test is performed in an allergy office and usually takes 2-3 hours.  Penicillin skin testing consists of a skin prick and intradermal test with 2 different forms of penicillin (penicillin G and benzylpenicilloyl polylysine).  If the test is negative then an oral challenge using a penicillin medication may be performed in the office followed by an observation period.  A positive skin test will become red and itchy at the site where the medications are applied. If the skin test is positive penicillin medications will need to be avoided and you may require a different antibiotic to treat bacterial infections.

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Good News for New & Expectant Parents! http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/good-news-new-expectant-parents/ Tue, 29 Nov 2016 19:25:13 +0000 http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/?p=1172 The latest recommendations from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology should make life a little bit easier for pregnant mothers and parents of infants and toddlers—and every little bit helps! It is no longer recommended that expectant mothers avoid highly allergenic foods (such as dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, nuts and seafood) during pregnancy [...]

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The latest recommendations from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology should make life a little bit easier for pregnant mothers and parents of infants and toddlers—and every little bit helps!

It is no longer recommended that expectant mothers avoid highly allergenic foods (such as dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, nuts and seafood) during pregnancy OR during breastfeeding.  If mothers choose to avoid foods during these times, it is important to seek dietary counseling to ensure adequate nutrition.

Overall, we’re discovering that early introduction of allergenic foods may help PREVENT FOOD ALERGY!  Not only is this great news in terms of reducing rates of food allergy, but this also allows new parents more freedom in growing their child’s diet–fewer rules and restrictions, in a sense.

As such, the latest recommendations suggest that there is no need to delay introduction of allergenic foods to infants and toddlers.  As early as 4-6 months of age, infants can begin gradually trying table foods, and these can include foods such as eggs, dairy, and peanut products. In order to do this safely, though, we first recommend a discussion with your Pediatrician or Allergist.  In addition, if your child has eczema, has food allergies, or if allergies run in the family, it is critical to first be evaluated by an Allergy/Immunology specialist.

Call us at 512-610-3110 today for an appointment to discuss these new findings and how to safely incorporate them into you and your family’s lives!

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Back to School http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/back-to-school/ Tue, 16 Aug 2016 20:04:39 +0000 http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/?p=1158 If your child suffers from allergies or asthma as you head back to school is the time to see the allergist. Below are some tips to ensure your child is ready for the new school year or the move off to college. Follow-up with your allergist to get an asthma and/or emergency action plan updated. [...]

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If your child suffers from allergies or asthma as you head back to school is the time to see the allergist. Below are some tips to ensure your child is ready for the new school year or the move off to college.

  1. Follow-up with your allergist to get an asthma and/or emergency action plan updated. This is a good time to ensure that your child is on correct medication dosage, as well as, discuss which medications have and have not been effective for your child. Please ensure that your child is aware of proper use of inhalers or epinephrine auto injectors and that these medications are not expired. Schools require this documentation if you are allowing your child to carry medication at school or leaving it in the nurse’s office in case of an emergency and we are here to help fill out these forms.
  2. Meeting with the teacher and school nurse are also important to ensure you are on the same page with treatment plans. Notifying the school staff as to your child’s triggers and how to address them is important as this will be where they are spending the bulk of their time. If your child is going off to college, find an allergist that is nearby and locate a medical facility that is on your insurance plan. We can help you select one. Drive to the facility to familiarize your child on how to get there in case they need treatment while away at school. Identify a pharmacy close to campus so that getting prescription refills will be easier when they need them.
  3. Children with allergies and asthma should be able to participate in sports. Discuss sports participation with your allergist. Asthma symptoms during physical education class or sports participation is a sign of poorly controlled asthma. Ensure that the coach is aware of this medical issue and is familiar with the treatment plan in the case of an asthma-related event.

Following these tips will help ensure that your child is starting the school year off right!

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Summer Skin Woes http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/summer-skin-woes/ Tue, 19 Jul 2016 15:12:29 +0000 http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/?p=1146 Summer weather creates the perfect climate for skin rashes to occur. The heat and sweat caused by the sun can be triggers for various rashes and outdoor activities can increase the risk of rashes from plants and stinging insects. Below is a list of common summer skin rashes and ways to reduce symptoms or avoid [...]

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Summer weather creates the perfect climate for skin rashes to occur. The heat and sweat caused by the sun can be triggers for various rashes and outdoor activities can increase the risk of rashes from plants and stinging insects. Below is a list of common summer skin rashes and ways to reduce symptoms or avoid them altogether.

  1. Sunlight, becoming overheated, or becoming sweaty can trigger hives. Some ways to lessen the chances of a hives outbreak are to wear sunscreen, avoid becoming too hot, and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. If you do become overheated find a place to cool off and rehydrate.
  2. Eczema can worsen during the summer due to sweating, increase in pollen counts, and poor air quality. Maintain a skin care plan through these months using a gentle skin cleanser, moisturizing lotion, and waterproof barrier cream.
  3. Poison oak and poison ivy can both lead to itchy rashes. When hiking or walking through tall grass keep in mind the saying “leaves of three, let them be.” Consider wearing long pants, socks, and closed shoes if out participating in these activities as they will decrease the possibility of skin contact with plants. If you think you have come in contact with one of these plants immediately wash area with soap and water. Also wash clothing, garden tools, pets, and any other items that may have come in contact with the plant as the toxic oil can be spread via these routes.
  4. The incidence of bug bites, such as mosquitos, increases during the summer months as people are spending more time outside and the weather is warm. Many people may have local reactions to bites that can itch, swell, and become red or sore. The use of bug spray can help with the prevention of bites. An over the counter anti-itch cream, elevation of area, and cool compresses can alleviate symptoms.  Clean area with mild soap and water in order to prevent infection.
  5. Stinging insects, such as fire ants, bees, and wasps, can not only cause a local reaction but also a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis that requires emergency treatment.  A life-threatening reaction can consist of a local reaction at the site of sting as well as difficulty breathing, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, or swelling of the lips/tongue. If you have any of these symptoms after an insect sting it is important to seek immediate treatment and follow-up with an allergist in order to implement an emergency action plan.

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Oral Allergy Syndrome http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/oral-allergy-syndrome/ Tue, 19 Apr 2016 17:02:33 +0000 http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/?p=1102 Have you ever experienced itchy mouth after eating raw fruits or vegetables? Oral allergy syndrome, also known as pollen-food syndrome, is caused by the cross-reaction of proteins in pollen with raw fruits, vegetables, or tree nuts. Many of the proteins found in these foods are similar to pollen proteins confusing the immune system and increasing [...]

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Have you ever experienced itchy mouth after eating raw fruits or vegetables?

Oral allergy syndrome, also known as pollen-food syndrome, is caused by the cross-reaction of proteins in pollen with raw fruits, vegetables, or tree nuts. Many of the proteins found in these foods are similar to pollen proteins confusing the immune system and increasing allergy symptoms. Oral allergy syndrome is a contact allergic reaction occurring when the offending food touches the mucosa (lining) of the mouth or throat causing itchy mouth, swollen tongue or lips, and scratchy throat. These symptoms are usually mild and usually resolve once the food is swallowed.

Oral allergy syndrome may appear at any age, even if you have been consuming these foods for years without problems. Oral allergy syndrome is diagnosed after a patient is skin tested and the test shows positive allergy to pollen, and they experience these symptoms after ingestion of one of these foods.

Many people with oral allergy syndrome can tolerate these fruits and vegetables if they are cooked as this changes the structure of the protein. Other options are peeling the skin. Many times the skin contains high concentrations of the protein that causes the symptom. Avoiding the food especially during the peak pollen season can also prevent these symptoms.

Consult an allergist if these symptoms are experienced with ingestion of tree nuts or cooked fruits or vegetables. Symptoms such as skin rashes, nausea or vomiting, difficulty breathing, or if the reaction is beyond the mouth could be considered a life threatening reaction called anaphylaxis which requires immediate care.

Below is a list of pollens and the foods with cross-reactivity:

Spring

Birch Tree: apple, apricot, cherry, peach, plum, pear, kiwi, carrot, celery, parsley, peanut, soy, almond, hazelnut

Summer

Timothy/Orchard Grass:   peach, watermelon, orange, tomato, white potato

Fall

Ragweed: cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, banana, cucumber, white potato, zucchini

Mugwort: bell pepper, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, garlic, onion, parsley, caraway, coriander, fennel, black pepper

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Spring is in the Air! http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/spring-is-in-the-air/ Mon, 28 Mar 2016 20:43:13 +0000 http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/?p=1094 The longer daylight hours, recent rains, warmer temperatures, and windy days bring on high pollen counts as many of the local tress, grasses, and weeds fill the air. These small pollen particles are inhaled irritating the upper and lower respiratory tracts causing allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and in some cases allergy induced asthma. Symptoms may [...]

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The longer daylight hours, recent rains, warmer temperatures, and windy days bring on high pollen counts as many of the local tress, grasses, and weeds fill the air. These small pollen particles are inhaled irritating the upper and lower respiratory tracts causing allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and in some cases allergy induced asthma. Symptoms may consist of itchy watery eyes, nasal congestion, itchy nose, sneezing, nasal drainage, post nasal drip, cough, chest tightness, and itchy skin.  The first step of treatment is to identify the causes of these symptoms so that the most appropriate care plan can be initiated.   This is done by seeing an allergist and having a skin test performed in order to identify positive triggers.

After the allergy triggers have been identified a plan consisting of environmental control measures, symptom management with medications, and immunotherapy (a holistic approach) used to desensitize the immune system can be discussed. Allergy symptoms cause less misery if you use a proactive approach and start a regimen weeks prior to high pollen counts.  A few of the spring culprits are oak, birch, sycamore, cottonwood, mulberry, willow, elm, mesquite, pecan, privet, hackberry, as well as, grasses and molds.  If you are experiencing any of these allergy symptoms see an allergist so symptoms do not become an annual occurrence.

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Help us Save Allergen Immunotherapy! http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/help-us-save-allergen-immunotherapy-2/ Fri, 29 Jan 2016 00:07:10 +0000 http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/?p=1090 Dear Colleagues,   It is important that patients understand their access to allergen immunotherapy is at great risk under the USP’s proposed changes to Chapter 797. To spread the word and allow patients to voice their concern to USP, the AAAAI has set up an online petition that patients can sign. The petition is available [...]

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Dear Colleagues,

 

It is important that patients understand their access to allergen immunotherapy is at great risk under the USP’s proposed changes to Chapter 797. To spread the word and allow patients to voice their concern to USP, the AAAAI has set up an online petition that patients can sign. The petition is available at: https://www.change.org/p/united-states-pharmacopeia-save-patient-access-to-allergy-shots The AAAAI has created this petition in response to member requests for an easy way to get patients involved. Although the deadline to submit comments to USP is quickly approaching on January 31, the petition offers a venue for patients to continue to participate in this conversation beyond January 31. How Can I Share The Petition? Share the link to the petition in any way you can, whether through email or through Facebook, Twitter or other social media channels. If you do share the petition through Facebook or Twitter, include the hashtag #saveallergyshots in your post. Final Reminder: Comments to USP Must Be Submitted by January 31 Once again, comments on the proposed changes to Chapter 797 must be submitted to USP by this Sunday, January 31. Thank you to all AAAAI members who have already submitted comments. If you have not yet submitted your personal comments on how these changes will impact your patients, you are urged to do so. Here are brief instructions: 1) Download the USP comment submission template here. 2) Fill out the template as best as you can. If it is easiest, concentrate on filling out the general comments section. You can mention that the Allergen Extracts as CSPS section on pages 17-18 of the existing USP Chapter 797 is what we want to remain in place. Note: The AAAAI has compiled a variety of information here, which you can use to help put together your personalized comments to USP. The most important information is in all capital letters. 3) After you have completed the template, email it to CompoundingSL@usp.org. The AAAAI will be submitting official comments to USP as well, which will be shared with you. Thank you for your efforts in building support and outreach on this extremely important issue.

Sincerely,

Robert F. Lemanske, Jr., MD, FAAAAI AAAAI President

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Are You Ready for Cedar Season? http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/ready-cedar-season/ Fri, 15 Jan 2016 14:17:58 +0000 http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/?p=1080 Are you suffering from cedar allergies? With the New Year and cold windy weather comes cedar season. Over the past week cedar pollen counts have started to increase. If you are one of the many people affected by cedar pollen here are some tips to help decrease or alleviate your symptoms: Avoidance.  Avoiding cedar pollen [...]

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Are you suffering from cedar allergies?

With the New Year and cold windy weather comes cedar season. Over the past week cedar pollen counts have started to increase. If you are one of the many people affected by cedar pollen here are some tips to help decrease or alleviate your symptoms:

  • Avoidance.  Avoiding cedar pollen is nearly impossible in Central Texas but there are some measures you may take in order to minimize and control your exposure to cedar pollen.  Keep windows and doors closed, wear a mask while doing yard work/gardening, wash hands, face and clothing after coming in from outside, rinse sinuses with a nasal saline wash twice a day to remove pollen debris.  Keep in mind that even after implementing these avoidance strategies many people continue to have symptoms.
  • Allergy Medications.  Allergy medications are available over the counter and as prescription. These medications are used to treat allergy symptoms such as runny nose, itchy/watery eyes, and nasal congestion. There are various forms of allergy medications available such as pills, nasal sprays, and eye drops. It is important to check with your health care provider prior to starting any of these medications to ensure you are on a regimen that will be safe and effective for you.

Immunotherapy.  If symptoms are persistent or you prefer to avoid medications, you can be seen and evaluated by a board certified allergist to formulate a plan tailored to your individual needs.  Typically this evaluation will include allergy skin testing and the development of individualized immunotherapy.  Immunotherapy is a holistic option that is used to desensitize the immune system to allergens such as cedar pollen.

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Flu Season http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/flu-season/ Tue, 17 Nov 2015 19:44:35 +0000 http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/?p=1073 Flu season is here. If you haven’t received your flu vaccine is it not too late.  Flu season varies from year to year but may start as early as October and end as late as May.  The first and most important step in protecting yourself from the flu is getting the flu vaccine. The Center [...]

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Flu season is here. If you haven’t received your flu vaccine is it not too late.  Flu season varies from year to year but may start as early as October and end as late as May.  The first and most important step in protecting yourself from the flu is getting the flu vaccine. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone 6 months or older should receive the flu vaccine.  Avoiding sick people and handwashing may help reduce the spread of germs as well.   It is important that immunocompromised and asthmatic individuals receive the flu vaccine due to the increased risk of respiratory complications seen with influenza. We still have flu vaccine available so stop by any of our locations for your flu vaccine!

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The Ragweed Factor http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/the-ragweed-factor/ Tue, 13 Oct 2015 18:31:51 +0000 http://www.hillcountryallergy.com/?p=1024 Are you struggling with Fall allergies?  Come late summer into the Fall season many people begin to suffer with symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, nasal drainage, itchy eyes, itchy nose and itchy throat. These symptoms could be a sign that Fall allergy is affecting you. One of the major allergic triggers is Ragweed. Ragweed [...]

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Are you struggling with Fall allergies?  Come late summer into the Fall season many people begin to suffer with symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, nasal drainage, itchy eyes, itchy nose and itchy throat. These symptoms could be a sign that Fall allergy is affecting you. One of the major allergic triggers is Ragweed. Ragweed is a weed that lives only one season and has flowers that release 1 billion pollen grains that can travel up to 400 miles. Ragweed can grow along roadsides, vacant lots, fields, or by rivers banks.  These symptoms can linger until the first frost arrives and kills the plant, which in central Texas occurs later than other parts of the country.  Pollen levels peak during the day between 10am-3pm.  Ragweed allergy can be diagnosed by a thorough medical history and physical exam followed by a skin test to check for sensitivity.  Approximately 75% of people that are allergic to other pollen producing plants have an allergy to ragweed.  Once evaluated a plan of care may then be formulated to help alleviate symptoms.

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