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.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

7 Fun Ways to celebrate Valentines Day Allergy free this year!

Celebrating Valentine's Day with someone who's allergic can be challenge.  Here are a few tips to help you have a fun allergy free Valentines Day.  You'll be spreading love, not allergies!

1. Eat Chocolate!
Want to surprise your loved one with chocolate? Go for a dark one! Dark chocolate is filled with flavanoids, strong anti-oxidant chemicals that help to reduce inflammation. Dark chocolate is milk free making it a perfect gift if your loved one is allergic.
2. Play!
When you have a partner, you have an instant playmate. Take advantage of it and organize a game of indoor tennis, hit the gym, take a dance class, or go for a romantic walk. More and more evidence points to the role of exercise in keeping not only your body fit, but your immune system functioning at it's peak performance.
3. Relax!
Thinking of doing something special for loved one? Try a massage. Use mineral oil to prevent an allergic reaction if your partner has sensitive skin.  Physical affection helps to decrease cortisol levels, a key hormone that leads to inflammation.

4. Kiss!
 Did you know that food proteins can be transferred in the saliva causing an unwanted allergic reaction. To prevent a kiss from being dangerous, avoid foods that might trigger a reaction in your partner.  If there's no food allergies, then go ahead and give your loved one a kiss. It's can be the perfect allergy free gift.
5. Give Flowers!
Roses, tulips daffodils and orchids are some of the least allergenic flowers. Stay away from daisies, goldenrod, sunflowers, chamomile, and chrysanthemums.  They are among the worst. 
6. Cook!
Cook a meal filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. You’ll know exactly what the ingredients are in the meal.  Use a rainbow of different ingredients and colors to include key vitamins like C, D, E, A, and Zinc that are vital for you immune systems function. Here are tips on Allergy Free meals

7. Quit!
Do you smoke? Tobacco smoke is linked with increases in upper respiratory illnesses, asthma exacerbations, and ear infections. Make quitting your ultimate gift for your loved ones! Need tips?  Quit Here! NYS Smoke Free

Above all else, have fun this Valentine’s day with your partner and show those around you how much you love and appreciate them!
Need more ideas?  Visit Gramercy Allergy And Asthma or book an appointment here.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

How Do You Know If You Have Allergy, Asthma or Eczema?

Allergies, asthma and eczema (skin allergy) affect millions of people and many don't even know they have allergy.  What are signs?  A stuffy nose when you sleep at night, constantly blowing your nose,  always being itchy or a nighttime cough are just a few of the symptoms that indicate you might have allergies, asthma, and/or eczema.

Here are some other questions to ask yourself to help determine if you have allergy.

1) Do you cough or have trouble breathing when you walk, do simple chores or go outside in the cold?

2) Do you avoid exercise or taking part in sports like jogging, soccer, swimming or aerobics because you have trouble breathing or cough?

3) Do you have trouble sleeping through the night because of a dry cough or shortness of breath?

4) Do pets, dust or pollen make your breathing more difficult?

5) Do you dread the change of season because you know you'll get a cold and/or sinus infection?

6) Do your eyes itch, get red or puffy?

7) Does a cold often go into your chest and leave a lingering dry cough?

8) Do you get frequent rashes or are always itchy?

9) Do you have sneezing attacks?

10)  Does tobacco smoke or strong odors make you cough?

If you answered yes to more than 2 questions, you  are likely have allergy.  See an allergist to get tested and determine exactly what is triggering your symptoms and how you can avoid it.  Allergies are treatable.

Need help?  Visit our website www.gramercyallergy.com or click here to schedule an appointment.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Why Are My Lips Itchy and Dry?

Cold temperatures and harsh winds can bring about dry itchy skin and peeling lips.  Lip balm usage is on the uptick this holiday season.  More are looking for protection and treatment for delicate skin, covering lips so they look their best at holiday parties and date nights.

For some, the entire answer to why their lips peel and itch isn't just the extreme weather.  Is it possible that an allergy can make your lips peel and itch?  Of course!

Chemicals we use on our face and hands is a common cause of itchy, dry and irritated lips. This condition is called lip contact dermatitis.  Often people think they just have "dry" lips and continue using the products that are actually the source of the problem.  Chemicals in lipsticks, lip balms and nail polish are common sources of the irritations to lips.

What causes lip contact dermatitis?
  •  Inflammation and irritation of the lips caused by common chemicals in make-up , toothpaste, lipstick/balm, facial wash, and products we use our hands.
  • Repeated application of chemicals causes allergic sensitization
  • Common chemicals that cause lip contact dermatitis include:
    • shellac- commonly found in lipsticks/lip balms
    • fragrance- commonly found in most personal care products, gum, mouthwash and toothpaste
    • nickel- contamination in some make-up or transferred from lip product container
    • sunscreen
    • varnish found in nail polish
    • preservatives- commonly found in all personal care items.
  • Irritants from toothpaste, lip balms and licking lips can also cause a non-allergic dermatitis 
What is the treatment for lip contact dermatitis?
  • Identification of the chemical allergy and avoidance will cure the dermatitis.
  • Evaluation by an allergist will help determine if the irritation, infection or is caused by an chemical allergy or a irritant reaction.  
  • Patch testing for common chemicals used in the personal care products will help determine what to avoid.
Need more help?  Call the office or schedule appointment here.

Monday, November 17, 2014

How To Deal With Food Allergies When You're A Guest At Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  There's always space at the table for unexpected friends or family members to join in a huge communal feast.  If you have food allergies, getting the invite to go a  new home is scary.  You have to confide in your friends information about your health and potentially something that can make you very sick.  Having food allergies shouldn't stop you from enjoying the generosity of others.

Here are 5 easy tips to deal with food allergies at Thanksgiving:

1) Communicate
  • Give your host ample time to make substitutions to the menu by telling them clearly your allergies. Bring it up one time and then avoid constant reminders about your allergy
  • Find out what the menu will be and if they are planning on cooking with something that causes a food allergy
2) Offer to help
  • Offer to bring the salad, stuffing or dessert.  This are foods that often have multiple ingredients that can be difficult to identify.
  • If your allergy is especially difficult to avoid, then offer to bring food for yourself.
  • There are easy substitutions for milk, eggs, and nuts available.  
    • Milk- any of the milk substitutes (coconut milk, rice milk, soy milk, almond milk, oat milk etc) can be used 1:1 in any recipe.
    • Eggs- applesauce and banana's are great substitutes for cookies and cakes.
    • Nuts- keep them on the side, or make 2 dishes 1 with and 1 without.
    • Here's a great website for more information Cooking with Food Allergies
3)  Educate yourself
  • Sit down with your allergist and put together a specific plan on what to do if there's an accidental ingestion.
  • Consider foods that might have hidden ingredients (cocktails, baked goods, stuffing, mashed potato etc..)
4) Be prepared
  • Be sure to have an epinephrine auto-injector in your bag along with an anti-histamine.
  • Consult with your allergist about recipes and ideas on how to approach the situation.
  • Know where the closest hospital is in case there is an accidental ingestion.
5) Enjoy yourself
  • Trust those around you to take your allergy seriously.  
  • Don't let your food allergies spoil the holidays. 
  • Here's to your good health and those around you 
Need more specific help?  Please call the office or click here to schedule an appointment

Friday, November 7, 2014

What's New in Skin Allergies? D-Day for Skin Deep Allergies

Being itchy and scratchy all over is one of the worst things to experience.  Symptoms interfere with sleep, work, and your life.  Scratching can leave your skin scarred and damaged.   Many of my patients come to me with difficult to treat rashes.  They've gone from doctor to doctor and treated with topical steroids without anyone finding the cause of the itch.

 Did you know on an average day we are exposed to over 128 chemical in our personal care items (shampoo, cosmetics, deodorants, etc)?  These rashes are called allergic contact dermatitis.  Over 14.5 million people have chemical allergy & many of these are children!  I love trying to find the cause of why my patients are itching- it is one of my favorite puzzles to solve.   Anyone who's read my blog in the past knows I often write about these allergies- shellac allergy, formaldehyde resin allergy, and; methyldibromo glutaronitrile

Chemicals like preservatives and additives in our products trigger difficult to treat rashes like lip, eye lid, and foot rash.   I do extensive chemical & environmental allergy testing in my office in the hopes of identifying the trigger for the itch.  This is a huge win in any of my patients care.  Avoidance of the offending chemicals can lead to complete resolution of the rash- without medications.  Common chemicals that cause contact dermatitis include fragrance, cocamidopropyl, formaldehyde, nickel and so many more.  

Today, I attended D-Day for Skin Deep Allergies and Patch Testing a full day conference put on by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Atlanta, Georgia.  The room was filled with over 100 other Allergists/Immunologist just as excited as I am about finding the cause of a rash.  
I'm spending the entire weekend in Atlanta at the College's meeting and will bring my expanded knowledge base back to New York to help my patients.  
  • Why do my lips itch?
  • What's the cause of my foot rash?
  • How much nickel can I eat if I'm nickel allergic?
  • What's the cause of eye lid rashes?
  • Why am I itchy all over?  
Stay tuned- I'll be writing more on these and other topics I learn at the American College of Allergy Asthma, and Immunology's 2014 conference!

Need help with a difficult to treat rash?  Suspect you have contact dermatitis?  Call the office 212-679-3574 or click Gramercy Allergy & Asthma to schedule an appointment.

Monday, November 3, 2014

How to Prevent Colds this Winter....

This time of the year temperatures are all over the place.  The drop in temperature also brings out activities of cold virus.  Colds cause for significant disruption to our lives, work, and social interactions.

Everyone's goal during cough and cold season is to keep healthy. As an immunologist, I'm often asked about natural ways to prevent viruses from taking hold and to reduce the time of a cold.

Here are my 5 top tips.  I hope they keep you cold free this year!
1) Wash your hands! 
  • You've heard it before and you'll hear it again.  Frequent hand washing is the number one way you can prevent colds.  Your hands bring germs and viruses to your nose, mouth and eyes where they gain entry and cause illness. Keeping your hands germ free will help keep you germ free.  Wash or use portable hand disinfectants after riding the subways, before eating, after shaking hands, or anything you think of it.  Aim for 20 seconds at least with warm soapy water. 
2) Eat a rainbow of foods each day!
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seed and lean proteins will ensure you are getting enough essential vitamins and nutrients to keep your immune system working at maximum potential!   Critical vitamins involved in the immune reaction are Vitamin A (think anything orange like pumpkin and squash), Vitamin C (oranges and grapefruits), Vitamin D (the sun!),  Vitamin E  (nuts and sunflower seeds) and Zinc (oysters & chickpeas). Vitamins, anti-oxidants and bacteria are natural ways to maintain this balance. 

3)  Keep your fluids up!
  • Water helps keep your skin and outer mucosal functioning at it's best.  These surfaces are the first line defense against germs and viruses. 
  • Shoot for 4-5 8 ounces of water per day.  Live in a dry apartment?  Drink at least an 1-2 glasses more.
4) Maintain regular exercise and sleep program!
  • Did you know that regular exercise helps boost the activity of critical immune cells in fighting off germs and viruses? 
  • Even if you're getting sick low intensity exercise will reduce the time of the illness.
  • Sleep is when your body repairs and rejuvenates itself.  As we enter the holiday season, increased parties and plans often infringe on our time for sleep, but shoot for 7-8 hours a night to keep your body in it's best form. 
5) Disinfect Germ Magnets!
  • The phone- Your home, office and personal phone are way stations for viruses.  They can survive on them for a few hours to days.
  • Remote controls- touched by everyone in the family, but least cleaned.  During cold season, try and wipe off at least once a day.
  • Keep boards and computers- we sit at them for hours a day sneezing and breathing on them.  Make sure to wipe them off several times a week to keep yourself healthy
  • The bathroom- yuck...faucets and door knobs are touched by everyone in the house and office.  This is the perfect place to pick up viruses.  Make sure faucets and knobs are getting disinfected frequently.   
Hopefully these tips will keep you cold free this season!

Need more personalized care?  Call the office or  schedule an appointment here.