Thursday, August 6, 2015

August is National Immunization Month- Why Should You Get Immunized?

August is National Immunization Month- Why Should You Get Immunized?

The month of August brings reminders and memories of back to school, meeting your fist college roommate or trying out for sports teams.  It’s also a great month to check in with your physician to make sure your vaccines are up to date.  The CDC has labeled August as National Immunization Awareness Month to raise the importance of vaccination not just in childhood, but through our entire lives.

Vaccination is one of the great victories in medicine in prevention of disease.   In 1000 AD, the Chinese and Turks began the practice of inoculation with small pox to prevent disease.  Edward Jenner didn’t bring vaccination to small pox into practice until 1796.  Since, we’ve expanded our ability to protect infants, teens and adults against many preventable diseases that before were serious and often led to death. 

Despite these advances, every year, thousands of children and adults in the US needlessly are sick and suffer and are hospitalized from diseases that could be prevented by vaccination.

What are A Few Reasons Why Vaccines Are So Important?
·       They help protect children, teens and adults against many serious and sometimes deadly diseases.
·       Vaccination to protect against 15 diseases is available in the United States.
·       Through this program many diseases such as measles, mumps rubella, influenza, and small pox that used to wreak havoc on communities have now been brought under control. 
·       They help prevent disease such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, human papilloma virus, influenza, shingles, pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria, hepatitis, and whooping cough

Despite knowing this we aren't doing a great job vaccinating adults.

According to CDC data, in 2013:
·       Only 17% of adults 19 years or older had received the tetanus and whooping cough vaccine (Tdap)
·       Only 24% of adults 60 years or older had received shingles (herpes zoster) vaccination. – National Health Interview Survey 2013
·       Only 21% of adults 19 to 64 years at high risk had received pneumococcal vaccination. – National Health Interview Survey 2013
·       Only 42% of adults 18 years or older received a flu vaccine during 2013-2014
vaccination. – National Health Interview Survey 2013

·       The importance of vaccination ends in childhood
o   Adults should continue to receive vaccinations depending on their health age, and occupation throughout their life
o   Common vaccines for adults include: influenza, pneumonia (Pneumovax), shingles, hepatis B, and whooping cough.  Speak with your doctor to make sure yours are up to date.
o   Check out the CDC's Vaccine Scheduele for Adults to see what vaccines you should have received
·       I’m Egg Allergic and Can’t Get the Flu Vaccine
o   Speak with your allergist regarding specific advice regarding vaccination for flu and egg allergy.

·       Vaccination is dangerous and can lead to disease
o   Vaccines are thoroughly tested before licensing and carefully monitored even after they are licensed to ensure that they are very safe
o   Side effects from vaccines are usually mild and temporary.
o   Some people may have allergic reactions to certain vaccines, but serious and long-term side effects are rare.

·       Vaccination will weaken my immune system
o   Vaccination will not weaken your immune system.  Vaccines act like germs to stimulate the immune system against the virus or bacteria so it will mount a response and offer protection against disease.  Vaccines strengthen your body’s response against these illnesses.

·       Vaccination can cause autism

o   No.  Vaccination does not cause autism.

o   Numerous studies have found no link between vaccination and autism.  In 2004, a groundbreaking study from the Institute of medicine found that thimerosal (a preservative in vaccines) does not cause autism.

Have specific questions about vaccine and the importance of them?  Speak with your doctor to get accurate information or look at the CDC’s website.

If you need vaccines, have questions regarding allergy to vaccines, or have questions about vaccines, contact us and we'll help! Want more specific advice on vaccination with one of New York’s Top Allergist?  Visit our website http://www.gramercyallergy.com or click here to schedule an appointment online.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How Can You Conquer Exercise Induced Asthma?

The benefits of exercising outside are many.   Conquering a hill or moving against the wind can intensifies a workout.   Not only is the workout harder, but recent studies suggest that exercising outdoors over indoors boosts their mood and overall well being. The simple act of taking a walk outside increased participates self esteem, and energy while decreasing depression, anger and tension.
For many though, exercising outdoors and exercise in general is a potential trigger for asthma.  This is called exercise induced asthma.

Did you know?
  • About 12-15% of athletes  will have exercise induced asthma.
  • Allergic and non-allergic triggers of exercise induced asthma can trigger symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing.  
  • Persons with exercise induced asthma often don't have regular asthma and often only have symptoms during exercise.  

How Do You Know If You Have Exercise Induced Asthma?  
Ask yourself a few simple questions.  If you answer yes, then speak with your Allergist about being screened.  
  • Do you have cough, chest tightness or SOB associated only with exercise?
  • Does going outside on a cold day trigger a cough?
  • Are you sensitive to cold temperatures and dry air? 
  • Does air pollutants (tobacco smoke car pollution, and air quality issues) trigger symptoms?
How Are you Diagnosed with Exercise Induced Asthma?
  • See your allergist for a complete health history and testing.
  • Have a breathing test (Spirometry) done
  • A follow up test after exercise may be performed.
What Can You Do to Prevent Exercise Induced Asthma?
  • Warm up slowly to humidify the air in your lungs
  • Make sure you add a cool down period into your routine
  • Check pollen and air quality levels prior to heading out
  • Speak with your Allergist about setting up an individualized plan to prevent symptoms and keep you performing at your best!
Want more specific advice on exercise induced asthma with New York’s Top Allergist?  Visit our website http://www.gramercyallergy.com or click here to schedule an appointment online.

Want more information on Exercise Induced Asthma?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why do I have Itchy Water Blisters on My Hands and Feet?

Summer and warm weather bring oh so much fun!  Everyone wants to catch up, vacation and spend as much time outside as possible.  For some though, the warm weather causes the recurrence of itchy water filled blisters appearing on their hands and feet.  These blisters look like grains of tapioca coming out of the skin.  The itch can be intense! And can cause many sleep disturbance, social embarrassment and disruption.  Symptoms start with intense burning and itching on the hands and feet.  Scratching will cause the appearance of water blisters underneath the skin.  Skin can be red and wet appearing.  Symptoms without treatment last about 3-4 weeks and then reoccur. 

What Are These Itchy Water Filled Blisters?
·       For most these water filled blisters are caused by a form of eczema called dyshidrotic eczema.
·       Other causes may be from fungal infection and other autoimmune diseases and should be evaluated by an allergist or other physician.

 Taken from http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1122527-overview

Taken from http://images.medicinenet.com/images/slideshow/eczema-atopic-dermatitis-s13-photo-of-dyshidrotic-eczema.jpg

Who's Affected by Dyshidrotic Eczema?
·       About 50% of persons with dyshidrotic eczema will have a history of other allergic diseases like eczema, and allergies in the nose, eyes, or/or asthma
·       It affects men and women equally.
·       First episodes typically start anywhere from the 20’s to 40’s and reoccur each spring/summer
What Causes Dyshidrotic Eczema?
·       Causes are varied:
o   dysfunction of the sweat gland on the hands and feet
o   chemical allergy to metals (nickel allergy, cobalt allergy), and products like Balsam of Peru, preservatives and sunscreens we use just during the warmer months
o   Exposure to sun can trigger the onset of symptoms.
o   Stress can also bring out blisters.

Is There Treatment for Dyshidrotic Eczema?
·        Treatment depends on the cause of symptoms.
o   Evaluation for chemical allergy and/or other environmental triggers should be done by an Allergist
o   Evaluation for possible food allergy by an Allergist
o   Evaluation for potential fungal and/or bacterial infection
·        Avoidance of offending agent is key in prevent.  Topical use of corticosteroids, topical antibiotics, and/or UV light therapy may be helpful in prevention. 

Do you need help with your dyshidrotic eczema?  Please book book an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Collins for specific advice

Want more information? Check out the  National Eczema Association

Monday, June 22, 2015

Insect Allergy- What You Need to Know.

 Spending times outdoors this season is such a pleasure, but being bitten by insects can put a damper outside activities.
This is what you need to know now to protect yourself from reactions to insects.
What are signs and symptoms of an insect bite?
·       Pain, swelling and redness confined to the sting site
·       Intense itching at the site.
·       In severe cases, insect bites can cause severe allergic reactions that can result in death.
When Should You Be Worried about An Insect Sting?  
·       There are 3 types of reactions an insect can cause:  a local reaction, a large, local reaction and a systemic allergic reaction.
·       A normal local reaction will result in pain, swelling and redness confined to the sting site.
·       A large local reaction will result in swelling well beyond the sting site. For example, a sting on the forearm could cause the whole arm to swell - a condition that usually peaks two to three days after the sting and can last a week or more.
·       A systemic allergic reaction is the most serious and requires medical attention. Symptoms of a systemic allergic reaction can range from mild to severe.
·       If you’re worried at all, seek immediate medical advice.

What’s Most Likely to Bite Us?
·       Mosquitos, fleas, chiggers, and bed bugs- most likely will cause a local allergic reaction.
·       Wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and bees are the cause of the majority of insect stings- sting insects that can cause a local and/or total body allergic reaction.  About 3 out of 100 adults have severe allergy to flying insects resulting in potentially deadly reaction. 
·       Fire Ants (red or black) - extend from the southern US up into NY.  Bites from these insects typically cause a blistering reaction.
How Can you Prevent Insect Stings/Bites?
  • Always wear shoes when walking in the grass. Many bees burrow in the ground and you can unsuspectingly step into their nest.
  • Wear bug sprays like Off or Deet.  Wary of harsh chemicals?  Geraniums and citronella are natural mosquito propellants.
  • Don’t drink from open soft drink cans; stinging insects are attracted to them and may crawl inside.
  • Cover food when eating outside.
  • Don’t use sweet-smelling perfume, hairspray or deodorant.
  • Avoid wearing brightly colored clothing with flowery patterns.
  • Protect your legs, arms and body with long pants/long-sleeved shirts when working outside.
  • Use caution near bushes, attics and picnic areas. 
How can you Treat Insect Bites?
Local and large local reactions can most likely be treated with OTC anti-histamines and topical steroids.  Some large local reactions will need medical care.
Systemic allergic reactions ALWAYS require medical attention.  Lifesaving epinephrine may be administered.  If you have a reaction, seek treatment from an allergist.  They have treatment that can potentially you of your insect sting.   

Need more help or have questions?  Schedule anappointment here.

Want more information?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Can Pollen Cause Food Allergies?

Spring not only brings out beautiful flowers, but the produce in the grocery stores and farmers markets looks so delicious.  Fresh fruits and vegetables for some are cause for fear.  Biting into them causes small water filled blisters and itchy lips.

Is it Possible that Pollen Can Cause Food Allergies?  

  • Nature uses similar patterns over again as building blocks.  Patterns similar on various pollens look like proteins that are also present on fruits and vegetables.  Direct contact with these patterns say when biting into for example, a fresh apple, may cause a local reaction.  
  • This is called oral allergy syndrome or pollen-food syndrome

What are Typical Cross Reacting Pollens and Foods?

Birch Pollen:  Apples, almonds, carrot, peanut, carrot, celery, cherry, hazelnut, kiwi, peach, pear, and plum

Grass Pollen- celery, melon, oranges, peaches, and tomato

Ragweed- banana, cucumber, melons, sunflower seeds and zucchini

What Are Symptoms of Oral Allergy Syndrome?

  • Itchy mouth, scratchy throat or localized swelling of lips, tongue, or throat
  • Itchy ears
  • Symptoms localized to the area of contact
How Do you Diagnose Oral Allergy Syndrome?

  • See your allergist.  Food allergies can be dangerous and lead to life threatening events.  You want to be sure that you have oral allergy syndrome and not a true food allergy.
  • You may need epinephrine and/or other allergy medication.  Your allergist will be able to help determine a specific anaphylaxis plan.  
  • Want to be evaluated for oral allergy syndrome?  Book an appointment here.   Gramercy Allergy and Asthma is located near Union Square at 205 East 22nd Street New York, NY 10010

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Can Allergies Cause My Headaches?

When headaches strike, most of us run through a list of typical causes and reach for some ibuprofen for quick relief.  But what if you have allergies?  Should you be reaching for allergy treatment to get headache relief instead?  

Millions of people suffer from allergies and don't even know it. Identifying headache triggers is an important tool in the prevention of headaches.  Patients commonly complain of symptoms of facial pain and pressure, eye pain, and in increase in headaches in the spring.  These are typical signs of a sinus headache.  Many have missed an obvious important environmental trigger for their pain - pollen and other environmental triggers.
How Can Allergies Cause Sinus Headaches?

Picture of the Human Sinuses

  • Sinus cavities are hollow spaces with openings to the nose allow the flow of air and mucous into the nose.
  • Cavities are located over the cheeks (maxillary sinuses), forehead (frontal sinuses), and over/between eyebrows (sphenoid and ethmoid sinuses) (See above diagram).
  • Breathing in breathing in pollen, pet dander, dust, and other allergic triggers can trigger localized inflammation in the sinus cavities
  • Allergic inflammation can trigger pain and pressure in the corresponding area face.
  • Allergic inflammation triggers localized swelling in the sinuses that disrupts normal blood flow and drainage of blood and mucous. 
  • This buildup of pressure causes pain and allergic inflammation known as allergic sinusitis.  
What are Signs of Sinus Headaches Caused by Allergies?
  • Chronic pain and tenderness over the cheeks, forehead, and area between or behind the eyes.
  • Stuffy nose, sneezing, ear pain or pressure, ear fullness, or facial swelling
  • Loss of smell
  • Post nasal drip
  • Triggers of seasonal variation, for example, a headache you get every spring, fall, or with exposure to cleaning.
  • Have other diseases triggered by allergies like asthma, eczema, or allergies in your nose or eyes?  Allergic diseases tend to run together.  If you're an "allergic" person, then allergies in your sinuses might be triggering your allergies.
  • Suspect you're an allergic person, but aren't sure?  Take this easy quiz How Do I Know If I Have Allergies?
How Can You Treat Sinus Headaches?
  • If you suffer from headaches, see your primary doctor for a complete evaluation.
  • Suspect you have headaches triggered by uncontrolled allergies?  See an allergist to get tested to identify potential allergic triggers.
  • An allergist will be able to help formulate a specific plan that will include:
    • avoidance measures, 
    • direct medications and 
    • possibly offer allergy shots (a way to desensitize you to your allergic triggers)
  • Want more information on headaches?  Learn more at Allergies and Headaches or The National Headache Foundation.
Have more specific questions for me?  Schedule an appointment here.

Monday, March 9, 2015

How Can You Be Prepared for New York's Spring Allergy Season?

How Can You Be Prepared for New York's Spring Allergy Season?

The arrival of spring is on everyone's mind after all of the snow and bitter cold temperatures we've had this past winter.  Longer days and more sunlight will soon trigger tree's to start pollinating.  Tree pollen in New York is potent and causes many to suffer from symptoms of itchy watery eyes, runny nose, sinus headaches, and cold like symptoms.

What Can You Do to Be Prepared for New York's Spring Allergy Season?

Here are 5 simple tips to keep you feeling great this spring season.

Get Tested
Knowing what you’re allergic to and what triggers your symptoms is the first step to avoiding the offending pollen.  There are many non-medical ways of avoiding allergens. 

Start Medications Early
Your allergist will help you create a plan of when to start medications, and which medications work quickly. Taking allergy medications early and as directed can prevent you from developing severe symptoms that can interfere with your work, school and life. 

Rock a Hollywood Look
Always pack and use sunglasses this spring.  Glass help protect your eyes from airborne pollens and dust.  This will help stop itchy watery eyes without the use of medications.

Change Your Routine
Showering at night will help wash away airborne tree pollens off your hair so you aren’t carrying them into your bed at night. 

Spring Board Your Exercise Routine For the Beach Season
Tree pollens are highest in the morning.  Change your exercise routine from morning to evening to help naturally decrease your exposure to tree pollen.

Want more specific advice on surviving New York’s Allergy Season?  Visit our website http://www.gramercyallergy.com or click here to schedule an appointment online.