Family Allergy Asthma & Sinus Care is located in Charlotte, NC, (Pineville), Enjoy our Educational Blog:

1/18/2014: Are allergies just a problem with the nose?
If you answered “No,” then you probably have allergies or know someone who does.  Allergic rhinitis has been designated the “Rodney Dangerfield” of medical diagnoses…it gets NO RESPECT!  Many people (including health insurance companies) feel it is just a nuisance that can be treated with tissues and Over-the-Counter (OTC) antihistamines.  Allergies affect the quality of life of many people and up to 30% of the population is affected.

Allergic rhinitis has been linked to many other diagnoses/issues:

  • Asthma: nearly 1/3 of patients with allergic rhinitis have asthma and over 60% of patients with asthma have allergies.
  • Eye symptoms:  many persons have allergic conjunctivitis with itchy, red, swollen, watery eyes.  Frequently, these symptoms can be more annoying than the nasal symptoms!
  • Ear symptoms: Otitis media (ear infections), serous otitis (fluid behind the ear drums), and eustachian tube dysfunction (that plugged up feeling in the ears) can all be associated with allergies.  The inflammation of the nose impacts on the function of the eustachian tube.
  • Food allergy: pollen proteins cross react with fresh fruits, vegetables or nuts and cause itching in the mouth, throat known as Pollen-Food Allergy Syndrome (formerly called Oral Allergy Syndrome).
  • Sinus problems:  When the inflammation from allergies leads to swelling and copious mucus in the nose, this can lead to problems with sinus drainage and development of a sinus infection from bacteria (now called rhinosinusitis).
  • Sleep-Disordered breathing: this means difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and/or achieving a deep, regenerative sleep.  Nasal congestion leading to snoring, periodic arousals from sleep and even sleep apnea may contribute.  Sleep deprivation is miserable!
  • Dental and facial abnormalities:  Chronic mouth breathing due to nasal congestion can lead to changes in the dental and facial bone structure in children.  This can lead to “adenoid facies.”

Goals for allergic rhinitis control:

  • Minimal or no symptoms
  • Rare need for antihistamines
  • No symptom progression
  • Minimal or no side effects from medication
  • High sleep quality
  • Good nasal air flow and sense of smell
  • High daily performance (school or work)
  • Other conditions controlled:  asthma, eye symptoms, ear and sinus infections
  • Good overall quality of life

At Family Allergy Asthma & Sinus Care, if your allergies are affecting your quality of life and you are not meeting the goals for control of allergies, call us at 704-817-2022.  Let us take care of you!

1/11/2015:Taming the Cold: Reclaim the Winter for Children with Asthma
Winter has arrived!  That brings 2 challenges to children with asthma.  First, they spend more time indoors where allergens and irritants (fireplaces) may trigger their symptoms.  Second, the cold dry air outside can trigger asthma, especially while playing or exercising. 

How to prepare for the cold when you have asthma?

  • Control your child’s asthma first. (Asthma is not controlled if symptoms or albuterol use exceed twice a day during the day or twice a month at night).  If it is not controlled, see an allergist (asthma specialist) to provide a written plan.
  • Wear a scarf or cold weather mask that covers the nose and mouth.
  • Warm up in the same temperature you will be exercising in.
  • Use your quick-relief inhaler (albuterol or lev-albuterol) before going outside.
  • Make sure the inhaler has not expired and is not empty.
  • Shake the cannister well and “prime” with 3 puffs if the inhaler has not been used in the last 2 weeks.
  • Protect the inhaler from freezing:  less medication is released in very cold temperatures.
  • If asthma symptoms occur while exercising, stop and rest!
  • Follow the written Asthma Action Plan provided by your doctor.
  • Exercise indoors:  if the asthma is not controlled or there has been a recent cold or flu play it safe and stay indoors until the asthma is controlled.

At Family Allergy Asthma & Sinus Care, we encourage our patients of all ages to get out and enjoy those winter sports!  For more information or an evaluation for asthma, contact us at 704-817-2022.  Don’t be left out in the cold!

Is stress making my allergies worse? YES
Stress, anxiety, and depression are known to flare up asthma and eczema.  The relationship between stress and allergies, the third component of the atopic triad, is not as well understood.

Stress and Allergy Flares

In a study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, researchers evaluated the relationship between self-reported allergy flares, emotional stress, depression, mood, and salivary cortisol (a biomarker for stress). The two groups being compared were people with allergy flares and people without allergy flares. People recorded stress levels, mood, and allergy symptoms in a daily diary for 4 weeks.

A strong correlation was found between persistent emotional stress and allergy flares! A correlation was also found between allergy flares and negative mood.  Acute stress, depression, and salivary cortisol were not associated with allergy flares. One limitation to the study was the directionality of the correlation.  Stress and negative mood did not necessarily cause allergy flares. Alternatively, allergy flares could have led to increased stress and negative mood. More studies are needed to confirm cause and effect. To read the abstract go to: http://www.annallergy.org/article/S1081-1206(13)00492-4/abstract

Stress and Food Allergies

Food allergies are becoming more prevalent, especially in children. Increasing prevalence has led to more research about the causes of food allergies. Animal studies have reported a link between psychosocial stress exposure and food allergies, however human studies are lacking.

There are several possible mechanisms for the link between acute or chronic stress and food allergies.  Increased stress may lead to increased release of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which leads to changes in how the intestinal barrier functions and how the passage of food antigen enters through the  intestinal lining.  Other possible mechanisms are the effect of stress on mast cells (allergy cells) in the gut and stress resulting in gut inflammation. Stress may play a significant role in food allergies, but human studies are still needed to determine the exact relationship. To read the abstract go to:  http://www.annallergy.org/article/S1081-1206(13)00561-9/fulltext

Stress and Heart Disease linked through an allergic process:

The relationship between stress and IgE-mediated responses are not limited to just allergies. A more serious complication of stress is the activation of coronary mast cells resulting in coronary artery inflammation and coronary artery disease. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24428962

What does this all mean?

Understanding the link between stress and allergies will provide doctors and patients with an additional treatment approaches to their allergies (and perhaps heart disease).  Relaxation and meditation to relieve stress may also lead to better asthma, eczema, and allergy control.

At Family Allergy Asthma & Sinus Care, we want you to relax this upcoming year!  Cheers to 2015...It may help your asthma, eczema and allergies. So, get out there and yoga!

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Does your nose bleed when you use your nasal spray?

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These educational information does not take the place of your physician's advice.


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