Friday, December 18, 2015

Food Allergies: Are You Avoiding Favorite Foods for No Good Reason?

Living with food allergies can be dangerous, and at the very least a hassle, particularly if you’re living your entire life around the avoidance of foods you aren’t actually allergic to. How can you know for sure if you actually suffer from food allergies or if you’re complicating your life unnecessarily? Your local Arizona asthma & allergy clinic can help…
Why you may not have allergies
Research shows that of the 20% of individuals who claim to suffer food allergies, only 3-4% are actually affected. Why the discrepancy? Many of these individuals have food intolerances and other health issues, and have never received food allergy tests from a trained Scottsdale Asthma & Allergy Clinic specialist able to make them aware of the distinction.

Allergy vs intolerance: What’s the difference?
  • Food intolerances
    Intolerances become more common with age. They occur in the digestive system, where foods that cannot be properly broken down result in symptoms such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Common culprits includes sugars found in dairy (lactose), and also fructose from fruit, veggies, honey, and some fruit drinks and soft drinks. Food intolerances can also result in headaches, such as is the case with chocolate, cheese, and wine.

  • Food allergies
    Food allergies result from the body’s abnormal response to a food, occurring within minutes to hours of contact with the offending substance. Symptoms may also include gas, bloating, and diarrhea, as well as runny/itchy nose, congestion, sneezing, coughing, and wheezing; skin itching, swelling, or hives; and in severe cases anaphylaxis. Some allergies are outgrown over time, while others (nut, fish, and shellfish) persist throughout life.

Know before you say “no”
Food allergies can be diagnosed by an allergy specialist. Diagnosis should include a detailed medical history, physical exam, food allergy tests, food journaling, and to confirm results, a placebo-controlled food challenge in the doctor’s office.

Don’t needlessly avoid your favorite foods. Find out the facts with the help of a Scottsdale Asthma & Allergy Clinic specialist near you today!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Why’s an Asthma Specialist so Special?

Family physicians and general practitioners are great for handling day-to-day health issues. But oxygen deficiency resulting from asthma symptoms can be serious business. That’s where a great asthma specialist can help. What makes them “special”? An asthma doctor is trained specially for taking care of patients dealing with asthma.

How much training does an asthma specialist have?
Your local Phoenix Allergy & Asthma Clinic asthma specialist has received a minimum of 9 years of training, as well as an additional two year fellowship focused on either allergic or lung diseases. Types of doctors that treat asthma include:

  • Allergists/Immunologists
    Treat allergic diseases, including asthma.
  • Pulmonologists
    Specialize in diseases effecting the lungs.
Why so much training?
Because asthma is serious business. It cannot be managed with a simple prescription such as with colds, flus, aches and pains. Asthma is a chronic disease, requiring constant monitoring and attention for effective management and prevention of dangerous asthma attacks.

What are the benefits of seeing an asthma specialist?
  • Better management of symptoms.
  • Reduced absences from work/school due to asthma symptoms.
  • Less emergency room visits.
  • Improved quality of life.
Do I need an asthma specialist?
If you’ve been trying to manage asthma for months without relief of symptoms, an asthma specialist may be better able to help you keep the condition under control. An asthma specialist is an especially good idea if you:

  • Have been hospitalized for asthma symptoms due to the inability to control them.
  • Have experienced life-threatening asthma attacks.
  • Are suffering unusual asthma symptoms.
  • Experience allergy-induced asthma symptoms.
  • Have other health conditions.
Ready to start breathing easier? Find an asthma specialist near you today.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Asthma: Cure and treatment

 Asthma effects 25 million Americans, its incidence growing at an alarming rate. Controlling its symptoms can be a frustrating experience, leaving asthma suffers to feel lost as to the causes and frequency of attacks. What’s an asthma sufferer to do? Have a plan!

Know and avoid your triggers

Common triggers identified by your Phoenix Allergy and Asthma Clinic include:
  • Colds
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Cold weather
  • Exercise
  • Pet dander and other allergens
  • Cigarette smoke and other pollutants effecting air quality
  • Severe heartburn (including GERD - gastroesophageal reflux disease)
Fight flare-ups with the right medications

  • Long term control
    • Inhaled corticosteroids such as fluticasone, budesonide, mometasone and beclomethasone.
    • Combination inhalers such as fluticasone-salmeterol, budesonide-formoterol and mometasone-formoterol.
    • Leukotriene modifiers, such as montelukast .
    • Theophylline
    • Cromolyn
    • And more (a quality asthma specialist will know which one is right for you)

  • Quick relief:
    • Bronchodilators delivered via inhaler or nebulizer.

Recognize the signs of impending attacks

These include an increased need for your rescue inhaler and increased frequency of asthma signs and problems:
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness/pain
  • Whistling/wheezing sounds
  • Difficulty sleeping due to breathing issues
  • Coughing/wheezing worsened by cold and flu
Track it

Always track your asthma symptoms, including flare-ups and how asthma is effecting your normal activities. Note how well medications are managing symptoms, and side effects, making changes with the help of your asthma doctor as needed. The more quickly you act, the less likely severe attacks will occur, reducing your need for medication and emergency medical attention.

Know when to go

Seek emergency treatment when difficulty breathing rapidly worsens, asthma effects minimal physical activity (such as a trip to the bathroom), and symptoms do not improve with the help of your rescue inhaler.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Have You Educated School Staff About Your Child's Allergies & Asthma Needs?

If your child has recently undergone allergy testing in Phoenix, you may feel overwhelmed by the burden of keeping their allergies and asthma under control once the school year begins. Is it possible to control symptoms when your child away from home? Will medication be accessible if it’s needed? When it comes to controlling your child’s allergies and asthma, you need to have a lesson plan.

The ABC’s of asthma and allergy education
For successful control of allergy and asthma symptoms, every person in your child’s life must be informed. Having a plan in place at home, at school, and other places of activity is your best defense against failure. Your lesson plan won’t work if it’s not shared with those who can act on it.

Crib notes: Providing a reference for school staff…
  • Teachers
    Train teachers about your child’s allergy and asthma triggers. Sniffling, sneezing, and wheezing can be reduced when they are kept under control.
  • Staff
    Teach staff, including the principal and the nurse, about how to handle your child’s allergy and asthma emergencies, such as the administration of asthma and anaphylaxis medication. All 50 states protect your child’s access to these medications at school. All staff should know how to administer these medications to your child should they be unable to handle it themselves.
  • Coach
    Help coach, physical education teachers, and playground monitors bone up on how activities can trigger exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). It is possible to enjoy exercise and activities while keeping symptoms under control, but it is imperative school staff knows how to handle an asthma-related event.
  • Parents
    Other parents should also be informed about your child’s food allergies if your child’s school allows outside treats to be brought in for special occasions. Off-limit items should be made known to your child, other parents, and school staff.
Have you done your homework?
If your child is suffering from allergies or asthma, the care of an allergy specialist is essential. Identifying and avoiding triggers is key to happy, symptom-free life. Treatments such as immunotherapy and allergy shots can reduce and prevent the development of symptoms, keeping your child in school and ensuring a brighter, healthier future.

Unsure what your child is allergic to? Allergy testing in Phoenix can help. Educate yourself and your child for a brighter, more allergy-free future!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Are You Exposing Yourself to These 10 Common Skin Allergy Triggers?

Is your allergist in Scottsdale constantly helping you battle skin allergies? It may be because you are constantly exposing yourself to common allergy and asthma triggers.

No touching!

Contact dermatitis, skin allergies characterized by rashes or skin irritation resulting from allergens coming in contact with your skin, affect up to 3 percent of adults. Its triggers are often common – and sometimes surprising.

When it comes to skin allergies, are you your own worst enemy?
  1. Perfumes.
    Not just Chanel No. 5, we’re talking shampoo, soap, detergents, dryer sheets, air fresheners, and more. Only products labelled “fragrance-free,” not unscented, are immune.
  2. Nickel.
    Found in items from jewelry, watchbands, and glasses, to the zippers and buttons on your clothes, this common allergen can be worsened by sweat. To avoid sensitivity, items must be coated.
  3. Latex.
    Gloves, rubber bands, waistbands on pants, and more can contain latex, resulting in reactions from itchy eyes and rashes to difficulty breathing and vomiting.
  4. Dyes.
    To avoid contact dermatitis, a patch test is required prior to the application of hair dye or henna tattoos containing para-phenylenediamine (PPD).
  5. Clothing.
    Formaldehyde resins, used in clothing elastics and fabrics for waterproofing, shrinkage, and wrinkle resistance, can cause burning eyes, skin rashes, and chest tightness. Cotton, polyester, nylon, and acrylic are typically more lightly treated.
  6. Cosmetics.
    Preservatives such as formaldehyde, parabens, and thimerosal used in cosmetics can cause skin irritation at the site of contact.
  7. Creams and ointments.
    Neomycin, used in antibiotic and anaesthetic (pain relief) creams, ear drops, and eye drops, can irritate the skin. Not sure if that’s you? Try a patch test.
  8. Sunscreen.
    Common sunscreen ingredients can cause allergic reactions, including PABA (para-amino benzoic acid), oxybenzone, salicylates, benzophenones, and cyclohexanol. Reactions may be on contact for some, or for others only following sun exposure.
  9. Household products.
    Skin irritation is common after exposure to adhesives (superglue) and organic solvents (charcoal lighter fluid, paint thinner, furniture stripper, and nail polish remover).
  10. Poison ivy, oak, and sumac.
    Urushiol, a sticky substance found in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, can cause redness, itchiness, hives, and blisters – but only in susceptible individuals.
Give your allergist in Scottsdale a hand. Put these items on your list of usual suspects. Take them out of commission and reduce your skin allergy risk today!
Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD. Top 10 Skin Allergy Triggers.  Retrieved from

Friday, October 16, 2015

6 Simple Tips for Reducing Fall Allergies

Your allergist in Avondale knows fall can be a miserable time for allergy sufferers. Why do fall allergies seem to wreak more havoc than in the spring? Cooler weather and changing foliage leading plants and weeds to release pollens, in addition to the additional punch of outdoor molds proliferating under fallen leaves.
Before ragweed and other fall allergens have you running to your allergist-immunologist, try implementing these simple, common sense tips for foiling fall allergies:

  1. Plan ahead.
    Before you plan outdoor activities, check pollen counts, scheduling events for when pollen is at its lowest.
  2. Take an antihistamine.
    Consult your allergist in Avondale to determine the best over the counter antihistamines to take before heading outdoors.
  3. Reduce exposure.
    If you can’t skip outdoor activities, consider donning a mask and leaving tasks until the middle of the day when pollen is at its lowest. Avoid outdoor activities in the early morning hours
  4. Stay clean.
    Your home – and your body. Wash off as soon as possible after spending time outside. When possible, change clothes before entering your home to prevent distributing allergens inside. Store shoes outside, and don’t hang clothes out to dry either.

Make sure air conditioning system is clean!
When allergy season is in full bloom, close your windows and let your heating and air system help you keep indoor air clear of allergens. Change your filter regularly, particularly during allergy season. To prevent the distribution of allergens throughout your home.  Also, investing in a HEPA air filter would be worthwhile! Don’t hide out in your home, manager allergies with ease this fall season. With these simple tips and the help of your immunologist, you too can get back to enjoying the great outdoors!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Allergy-Free Outdoor Living Yard in the Desert during Fall?

Desert fall brings a drop in temperatures but also brings fall allergies.  The weather becomes beautiful but asthma and allergy sufferers sometimes get cooped up indoors - and not able to enjoy the AZ outdoors like they so desperately look forward to after surviving 4 months of 100 degree temperatures.

Be the change, opting for hypoallergenic landscaping options that can help return you a great outdoors. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Even reducing the allergenic plants in a single garden can make a difference for asthma clinic patrons and sufferers, reducing pollen levels and the spread of allergenic plants far and wide.

Allergy-proof your yard with these suggestions from a Scottsdale allergy doctor & specialist:
  • Fruit trees
    With the exception of citrus flower fragrance, fruit trees are generally not allergenic or irritating.
  • Bamboo and palms
    Bamboo and female date and fan palms offer a beautiful, drought-tolerant option for your yard.
  • Succulents and Cacti
    The following do not produce wind-born pollen and are excellent low-water choices:
    • Saguaro
    • Peruvian Cereus
    • Golden Barrel
    • Hedgehog Cactus
    • Rainbow Cactus
    • Easter Lily
    • Sea Urchin Cactus
    • Prickly Pear
    • Cholla
    • Organ Pipe
  • Vines
    Hypo-allergenic climbers include bougainvillea, queen’s wreath, trumpet creeper, passion flower, cat’s claw, and roses such as Lady Banks and Tombstone.
  • Shrubs
    The University of Arizona’s offers an extensive
    list of shrubs which are both low-allergy and drought tolerant.
  • Accent plants
    For accent planting, your
    allergy and asthma clinic suggests various yucca species, agave, and aloe, as well as sotol, desert spoon, ocotillo, and Mexican evening primrose are your friends.
  • Brightly colored flowers
    Attracting bees, insects, and hummingbirds, these flowers are generally not allergenic:
    • Annual: California poppy, Mexican gold poppy; desert and arroyo lupine.
    • Perennial: assorted penstemons, chia, globe-mallow, and Peruvian and Goodding verbena.
  • Ground cover
    Morning glory, trailing indigo bush, lantana, African daisy, and rosemary, in addition to ice plant, treasure flower, germander, and gazania offer great low-lying options.
Pediatric allergists suggest avoiding these highly allergenic landscaping choices:
  • Olive trees
  • Mesquite trees
  • Juniper trees
  • Nut trees
  • Bermuda grass and most other grass species
  • Triangle Leaf Bursage (Rabbit Bush)
  • Desert Broom
  • Privet
Ready to head out and get started on an allergy-free outdoor retreat? You’re sure to get the job done with your local allergy and asthma clinic and the University of Arizona Agricultural extension service. Start sowing the seeds of change today!
University of Arizona Health Sciences Center. Gardens Compatible with Respiratory Allergy in Southern and Central Arizona.
Dr. Aaron Davis, M.D. Cedar Fever is Coming to Town. Retrieved from:

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Children's Food Allergies Are On the Rise - Is Your Child Protected?

On the rise at your local allergy and asthma clinic: food allergies in children, to the tune of an increase around 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. That’s one in every 13 children, over 38 percent of which have a history of severe allergic reactions. Is your child effected by this potentially deadly issue?  

Food allergy suspects: Repeat offenders
The most common food allergens seen in an
allergy and asthma clinic are allergies to milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. These eight foods account for 90 percent of all reactions. Even trace amounts can cause an allergic response. With over 30 percent of children with food allergies having sensitivities to multiple items, that’s a huge possibility of allergic reaction.

Keep kids safe - learn the signs of food allergies!
Within minutes to up to two hours after eating, food allergy reactions may be mild to severe, including…

  • Hives or itchy skin rashes.
  • Swelling of the lips and face.
  • Swollen, itchy, watery eyes.
  • Swelling of the mouth or throat.
  • Runny nose.
  • Repetitive cough.
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing.
  • Stomach cramps, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Handling a severe food allergy reaction in your child
Every 3 minutes, someone is seen in an emergency room for a food allergy. To keep your child from becoming a statistic, it pays to be proactive.

  • Identify food allergies with the help of your local allergy and asthma clinic.
  • Consider medical identification jewelry.
  • Don’t take chances with problem foods. Reactions can worsen, and allergy medications are not foolproof.
  • When eating away from home, always read labels and ask questions to ensure food safety.
  • If you are at risk of severe food allergy reactions or anaphylaxis, keep doses of epinephrine (adrenaline) on you at all times for administration via auto-injector.
  • Make sure prescriptions are up-to-date.
  • Ensure your child, family members, and those who see your child on a regular basis (teachers, coaches, etc.) are aware of your child’s food allergy, as well as how and when to administer emergency medication.
  • If your child experiences a severe allergic response, don’t wait, treat symptoms immediately!
  • ALWAYS call 9-1-1 immediately following an anaphylactic reaction, even if medication appears to have resolved symptoms.
Food allergies don’t have to take over your life. Avoid anaphylaxis and effectively manage food allergies with the help of your local allergy and asthma clinic today!

“Facts and Statistics.” Retrieved July 21, 2015, from
“Allergy Statistics.” Retrieved July 21, 2015, from
“Food Allergy Training Guide for Hospital and Food Service Staff.” Retrieved July 21, 2015, from
“About Anaphylaxis.” Retrieved July 21, 2015, from
“FAACT Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team Brochure.” Retrieved July 21, 2015, from

Worsening Children's Allergies: Is Your Dishwasher to Blame?

Hate handwashing your dishes, relying on your dishwasher to make your daily chore list a little lighter? You could be contributing to your child’s allergy and asthma symptoms, according to a recent study *published in the journal Pediatrics conducted by pediatric allergy doctors.

A dirty discovery:
In the questionnaire-based study, pediatric allergy doctors focused on 1,029 children ages 7-8. The findings: Families who utilized hand dishwashing over automatic dishwashers experienced a reduced risk of allergic symptoms such as asthma, eczema, nasal congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip, sneezing, red eyes, and itching of the nose and eyes. Children who at more fermented or farm-fresh foods were also noted as exhibiting lower rates of allergies, with the lowest risk associate with those children whose dishes were hand washed and food was procured directly from farms.

Too much of a good thing:
According to the hygiene hypothesis, children in developing countries grow up in an overly sanitized world, their lack of exposure to even common microorganisms leading to immune system misfires. The result? Over reaction - allergies and asthma rather than a normally developed, properly functioning immune system.

Don’t scramble to the scrap yard…
Though results were deemed “interesting,” physicians at the University of California-San Francisco explained more research into lifestyle choices is necessary. Until a causal relationship is identified, pediatric allergy doctors urge patients and their families not to ditch the dishwasher yet.

* Published at 'Fewer allergies among children in dishwasher-free homes"

Friday, August 28, 2015

Pediatric Allergy Advice about Baby Allergies

Is your precious bundle of joy fussy, sneezy, oozing with mucus, or covered in a miserable rash? These signs may not be a cold or flu, but baby allergies, a possible cause of long-term issues if not handled quickly and properly.
A common condition
Fifty million Americans suffer allergies, which emerge during infancy or childhood and rank number one among children’s chronic disease. Unlike colds and flus, which are seasonal, allergies may be present any time of the year. Symptoms may even be ongoing if the allergens which are effecting the baby are indoors.
Caused by an over reactive immune system, common signs of baby allergies include:
* Nasal congestion.
Mouth breathing can result in fitful sleep and daytime fatigue. More than a nuisance, if not addressed, mouth breathing can also lead to malformation of the facial bones and teeth.
* Ear infections.
Ear infections are painful, and fluid buildup can decrease hearing, hindering speech development.
* Skin problems. Many rashes are related to baby allergies, including…
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema). A red, scaly, sometimes oozing rash common on baby’s cheeks, torso, arms, and legs. 
  • Contact dermatitis. Caused by a skin reaction to soap, detergent, clothing materials, poison ivy, or any other item that has come in contact with baby’s body, resulting in a sensitivity rash.
  • Hives. Intensely itchy, raised red welts.
*Stomach sensitivities
Not only from food allergies, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and nausea may also result from sinus drainage and the swallowing of phlegm, which can irritate baby’s stomach. If other causes have been ruled out and baby is still fussy, baby allergies may be the culprit.
* Behavioral issues
Eating, sleeping, and mood disorders could be the result of baby allergies.
* Food allergies
Especially sensitive babies may have reactions to foods breastfeeding mothers eat. When introducing solids to baby, food introduction should be done gradually, one food at a time, separated by a week or more, in order to identify potential baby allergies.
Your sweetheart doesn’t have to suffer
A consultation withDr. Habib or Dr. Alasaly may help you determine if your baby has allergies and if allergy testing is necessary.
An ounce of prevention…
Minimize baby’s exposure to allergens until the offending sources can be determined and addressed.
  • Breastfeed your baby for first 4 months.
  • Introduce new foods wisely but try to expose your baby to most of the solid foods in the 2nd 6 months of life to help in the development of tolerance.
  • Don’t withhold commonly allergenic foods (milk, eggs, fish, nuts).
  • Clean regularly to keep dust, pollen, and mold under control.
  • Use dust-mite proof bedding covers.
  • Reduce pet dander with weekly bathing.
  • Keep pets out of baby’s room.
  • Put away feather pillows.
  •  Use hypoallergenic laundry detergent.
  • Avoid carpeting, especially in baby’s room.
  • Never allow smoking in your home.
Unsure if baby allergies are what’s troubling your tender little treasure? Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates can help. Contact us to schedule a consultation today!