The Allergy and Asthma Clinic Monthly Newsletters
Wildfire Season is Upon Us
During the fall, we often see many patient’s asthma and allergy symptoms flare as a result of the wildfires, even from fires as far north as Oregon. Remember that prevention and awareness are key in managing any medical condition, including allergies and asthma.
Back to School Tips
We hope that the summer break has provided you and your children well-deserved time to play in the sand, breathe in fresh air and more importantly, spend time with loved ones. Many schools are now back to “in-classroom” teaching, which shows that we may be getting some semblance of “normal”. Starting school is an exciting time for children and parents, but it can also be a time of anxiety, especially for those with allergies and asthma.
Allergies, Heat and Humidity
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s forecast for summer calls for “a whole lot of heat without much rain to provide relief”. Many of us have noticed that so far, this year has proven to be a much warmer year as compared to previous years. It has been predicted that most of the United States is expected to have higher than normal temperatures, especially during the months of June through August. It is not a surprise that the warmer weather and the below average rainfall will further worsen the drought, affecting most of the western states. To make matters worse, air pollution is worse on hot summer days . Heat waves are occurring more frequently, are more severe and are lasting for longer periods of time. For the patient with allergies and asthma, exposure to higher temperatures, as well as humidity, can make them feel worse. Unfortunately, climate change is again party to blame.
According to a recent survey conducted by a travel site, approximately 53% of Americans plan to travel over the summer months, especially given the high vaccination rates for COVID. In fact, many of the respondents say that the desire to again travel was a major motivator for getting vaccinated.
If you decide to travel during the upcoming summer, make sure you travel smart to maximize the chance of keeping your allergy and asthma symptoms from flaring.
Allergies and Genetics
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, in 2018, 5.2 million of children had hay fever, 9.2 million children had skin allergies and 5.6 million had food allergies. With the rise in the prevalence of allergies, prevention has been key to help manage these conditions. Children who have allergies often frequently follow a pattern, progressing through a series of allergic conditions, known as the “allergic march”. For example, some children may initially develop eczema or food allergies and although these conditions may improve over time, the child then often develops hay fever and sometimes, asthma.
Asthma-What You Need to Know
There are approximately more than 25 million Americans who have been diagnosed with asthma, which by definition is a condition in which airways in the lungs narrow and swell, causing symptoms of breathing difficulties, shortness of breath, cough and wheezing. Asthma can occur at any age, and can range from mild or moderate to severe. Once a diagnosis has been made, it is important to educate yourself as much as possible, since asthma is a chronic condition.
Food Allergy Updates from the American College of Allergy, Allergy and Immunology (ACAAI)
Study shows 30% of moms got conflicting advice on eating the same food their infant is allergic to.
Many new mothers with infants want very much to breastfeed as it is the gold standard for early nutrition. What to do when you find out your young child has a food allergy, and you are breastfeeding? A new study in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), found that more than 28% of the women were given no guidance on whether they could eat the same food their breastfeeding child was allergic to. “We found that guidance from healthcare practitioners for breastfeeding mothers in this situation was inconsistent,” says pediatrician and internist Hannah Wangberg, MD, ACAAI member and lead author of the study. “Of the 133 mothers who completed the survey, 47% were advised to continue breastfeeding without dietary restriction and 17% were advised to avoid eating the food(s) their child was allergic to while breastfeeding. A minority of the mothers (12%) reported their child experienced an allergic reaction to breast milk.”
Pollen Counts Are on the Rise
According to the National Weather Service, this year’s rainy season was considered the 9th wettest year. In addition, it was the most rain we have had since 1994. However, with this much needed rain, it is predicted that we are going to have very high pollen counts this spring. In fact, pollen.com has already detected significant levels of tree pollen in the air.
Keeping Allergy and Asthma Symptoms Under Control in the New Year
New Year’s resolutions can feel overwhelming, and guilt-inducing if you can’t keep them. “The best way to tackle health challenges is in small bits, and that goes for allergy and asthma control,” says allergist Mark Corbett, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “The last few years have been hard on everyone, but you still want to figure out ways to improve your health routine. Making small, manageable adjustments is a great start to getting on a healthier path and seeing improvements in controlling allergy and asthma flares.”
Here are five New Year’s resolutions from ACAAI those who suffer from allergies or asthma may want to consider.
The Holidays Are Upon Us!
As the number of COVID vaccinations have increased in our community, many of us have been able to spend much needed time with our loved ones and the upcoming holiday season is sure to bring welcomed festive reunions and gatherings.
Benefits of Exercise
As we know, exercise has a number of benefits, including promoting weight loss, reducing the risk of heart disease and other health conditions, improving mental health, boosting energy and promoting better sleep at night. However, for some, especially those with exercise-induced asthma, exercise can prove to be difficult.
Why You Should Still Get A Flu Vaccine
As we noted on last month’s newsletter, the COVID-19 pandemic and related preventative measures (masking, social distancing, school closure and reduced traveling), resulted in a decrease in the incidence of flu infections in 2020. Health agencies are hopeful that this will continue to be the case, but one of the many things we have learned about the pandemic is the need to be diligent about keeping up with proven health practices and following recommended health guidelines. With that said, several health agencies, including the CDC, recommend getting the flu vaccine to reduce the chance of contracting the flu.
Influenza (flu) is a potentially serious infection and although every flu season is different, it is estimated that millions of people get the flu every year.
Allergies, Cold/Flu or COVID- How To Make Sense of It All
Although we as a community have come a long way as compared to a year ago, COVID continues to impact our daily lives. As vaccination efforts ramp up, we can only hope that we can eventually put the pandemic behind us. However, in the meantime, several companies have reinstated “going back to the office policies” and “in-person” school has resumed. It is only natural to feel anxious about these steps to normalcy, but for many, these changes can be overwhelming, partly because of the overlap between allergies and respiratory illnesses.
Climate change linked to longer allergy season in Bay Area, Stanford study finds
According to a recent study conducted by Stanford University, pollen and mold spores in the Bay Area are elevated for about an additional 2 months as compared to previous years. It was concluded that changes in temperatures and rainfall are responsible for the prolonged allergy season, which is not what allergy sufferers want to hear.
Keeping Our Children Well While at Summer Camp
“Parents of kids with allergies and asthma have lots to think about this summer as they consider summer camp,” says allergist Luz Fonacier, MD, President of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “The CDC has issued guidelines for keeping campers and staff protected from COVID-19. At the same time, camps still need to make sure measures are in place in case a camper has an allergic reaction or an asthma flare.”
Getting Back Your Asthma Groove – June Newsletter 2021
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, “Many experts believe that lifestyle changes associated with diet and activity are leading to rising rates of chronic diseases”, which unfortunately, includes asthma. Let’s face it, many of us have probably had some “COVID weight gain”, but now that we are slowly resuming some sense of normalcy, it is time to get our health back in order. However, before doing so, it is important to take some very important steps to help make sure you minimize the chance of developing increased asthma symptoms. It is also important to note that allergies and asthma sometimes occur together and usually, the triggers for allergies (such as pollen, dust mite and animal dander) can also cause asthma symptoms.
Spring is Here!
Spring brings new life and as some of the COVID restrictions have been lifted, we are all starting to venture out beyond our homes and resume some activities, including being outdoors. The recent rains have brought us greenery and colorful flowers, but for the allergy sufferer, this beauty also means pollen is in the air.
How Poorly Controlled Allergies Can Affect Our Sleep
It is a known fact that poorly controlled allergies can affect the outcome of recuperative sleep. Allergy symptoms that can affect a good night’s sleep include persistent nasal congestion, post nasal drip, cough, chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath and generalized itching, hives and skin rashes.
Let’s face it, if your nose is congested, or mucus is constantly dripping down the back of your throat, sleep can be disrupted, leading a myriad of subsequent problems, including daytime sleepiness, fatigue and even cognitive impairment. Nasal allergies are directly linked to nasal congestion, but fortunately, there are effective treatments available, both OTC and prescription, which can help provide relief.
February Newsletter 2021
By now, some members of our community have been fortunate to have received one of the COVID vaccinations made available for the general public. While this development is cause for hope and optimism, we need to continue to practice vigilance during this time—including continuing to wear masks and following the CDC guidelines to stay safe.
2021 Frequently Asked Questions About the Covid Vaccine
Many of our patients have relayed a number of concerns regarding the COVID 19 vaccinations which have been approved by the FDA. This year has been difficult, to say the least, but the vaccine offers us a shimmer of hope in getting this pandemic under control and allowing us to resume our “normal” lives. Currently, the CDC has given emergency authorizations for two vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna.
2020 Taking care of our mental and physical health as the COVID-19 pandemic continues
It’s important to know about coping strategies that help reduce stress and promote mental well-being during this time. Here are a few practical ways to help you destress and take charge of your mental health.
Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate, is it really dairy-free?
With Halloween and Thanksgiving right around the corner, food allergies come to mind at The Allergy & Asthma Clinic. We would like to share an announcement made today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding the results of a sampling of domestically manufactured dark chocolate bars and dark chocolate chips labeled as “dairy free” or with similar claims. The FDA conducted the sampling to better understand the extent to which these products contain potentially hazardous levels of milk for consumers with an allergy to milk.
Get your 2020 Flu Shot early this year
Getting your flu shot this year is one of the most important things you can do for your health and others’—especially in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wearing a Mask if you have Asthma
As we all continue to live with the COVID-19 pandemic, requirements for face coverings continue to expand, some patients with asthma may have questions about wearing masks in public. Here is what we know.
Summertime Fun During The Covid Pandemic
Many of us are spending more time taking long walks, hiking and biking since our normal summertime rituals, such as baseball games, beach parties, barbecues and camping with friends and extended family are off the table. Being outdoors is great for your health, but it has its challenges, such as unavoidable bug bites or insect stings. For some contact with plant life can also be a problem. Swimming in chlorinated pools can also cause eczema flares. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent and treat these nuisances so you can enjoy all that summertime has to offer.
Moving Forward June Newsletter 2020
MOVING FORWARD……Over the last couple of weeks, government agencies have started to gradually allow the reopening of business establishments. Although strategically devised, the move towards “normalcy” can still be daunting. Reopening California requires all of us to move forward together by continuing to practice what we have learned over the past few months– the importance of social distancing, wearing a mask when in public and being diligent about prevention hygiene.
COVID-19 After the Pandemic for Patients with Allergies and Asthma
As we have all learned, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted our country’s healthcare system, economy, numerous aspects of our country’s infrastructure and our own lives. Over the next few weeks, we are hopeful that the COVID-19 infection will be contained. During this time, we encourage our patients to take proactive steps to make sure they are doing everything possible to stay healthy.
Video Visits with an Allergy and Asthma Clinic Health Care Provider are Available Now!
We now offer you secure video visits. Video visits can be a convenient way to have a live video telehealth visit and is appropriate for many types of appointments; including follow-up visits, sick visits, review of current medications, new allergy and/or asthma symptoms.
First Drug to treat and reduce the risk of Children’s Peanut Allergies Approved by the FDA
Peanut allergy is a condition in which the body’s immune system mistakenly identifies even small amounts of peanut as harmful. Allergic reactions to peanut are unpredictable in occurrence and in how they present, with some individuals experiencing severe reactions from exposure to even trace amounts. Physical symptoms can develop within seconds of exposure and may include skin reactions (e.g., hives, redness or swelling), digestive discomfort, or more dangerous reactions, such as constriction of the throat and airways, and loss of adequate blood flow to vital organs of the body. Antihistamines and epinephrine can be used to treat allergic reactions, but severe reactions can be fatal even with appropriate, prompt treatment.