An anticipated study finds that feeding infants peanuts in the first year of life may prevent allergies in later childhood. Allergy expert Dr. Clifford Bassett discusses.
Pet allergies refer to the body’s allergic reaction to animal proteins that may be present in the saliva, skin cells or urine. In most cases, this kind of allergy is triggered by exposure to pet dander. Generally, any animal with fur like dogs, horses, cats and rodents can cause an allergic reaction. There are several treatments available, including immunotherapy (allergy shots or drops) to help those who are pet allergic live happily with their pets.
Symptoms of pet allergies
Pet allergies present several symptoms that include the following:
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery or red eyes
- Postnasal drip
- Itchy nose, throat and roof of mouth
- Nasal congestion
- Facial pressure and pain
- Swollen, blue colored skin under the eyes
Although rare, you may also experience chest pain or tightness, difficulty breathing, audible wheezing or whistling when exhaling and trouble sleeping due to shortness of breath due to allergic asthma. Some individuals may also experience skin symptoms including eczema, itchy skin and red patches.
Risk Factors for Pet Allergies
While any person can experience pet allergies, people who have asthma are more likely to experience this allergy. However, some studies have found that children exposed to pets at an early age often have better resistance to allergies as well as upper respiratory diseases than those who are not exposed to pets in the first two years of life.
Pet Allergy Diagnosis and Tests
Allergists often diagnose pet allergies based using a skin test that consists of purified allergen extracts as well as extracts that have animal protein placed on the skin usually at the forearm or upper back. Skin testing takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes. The doctor makes observations on any signs of a reaction. Some of the most common signs include redness and itchy bumps. A blood test may also be performed for specific antibodies that cause allergies as well as establish your sensitivity to the allergen.
Treatment and Management
The best way to control pet allergies is by avoiding contact with the allergy-causing animals. Pet allergies can be treated by medications that include antihistamines, corticosteroids, decongestants, cromolyn sodium and leukotriene modifiers.
Other treatments that may be recommended for allergies arising from contact with pets include nasal irrigation to help flush out mucus and immunotherapy (allergy shots or sublingual drops). In summary, pet allergies can be serious if not managed or treated therefore ensure you see a doctor for appropriate medication and precautionary measures.
Valentines Day is upon us. This time of the year we all look forward to cuddling with the one we love. But there could be something standing in the way of that romantic rendezvous: allergies. Millions of Americans suffer from a myriad of allergic conditions, such as food, seasonal and/or skin allergies.
Being allergic to love may seem counterintuitive, but according to a recent study published in Allergy and Asthma Proceedings, allergy sufferers reported more problems with sleep and sexual activity than other groups. In fact, 83 percent of people with allergic rhinitis (inflamed or irritated nasal passages) reported that their condition affected sexual activities. Think about it: If you can’t breathe, your nose is running, and your eyes are itchy, you most likely don’t feel very sexy.
Here are some things that may lead to an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals on Valentine’s Day:
Makeup: Who doesn’t want to look their best for that special someone? For those who don’t regularly wear makeup, but plan to on V-Day, keep in mind that many facial cosmetics, lipsticks and eye shadows can contain nut oils and fragrances which can affect those with food allergies. If you’re allergic to nut oils, you could find yourself fighting puffy eyelids or a little bumpy rash on your face. Ladies, be warned: men can also experience a skin reaction to the facial products you wear.
Dark chocolate and oysters: Many think that dark chocolate and oysters have the most natural aphrodisiacs in them. But many might not realize that shellfish is the number one food for allergies in adults. Many chocolates often contain nuts, another highly allergic food – make sure to ask your waiter about this if dining out for that special evening.
Flowers: The fragrance of a rose, star Jasmine, narcissus, gardenia, Lily of the Valley, citrus and eucalyptus trees are the most common flowers and plants whose fragrances can make people sneeze. If you’re sensitive, you may want to keep away from these plants.
Kissing: Nothing would be less romantic than breaking out in an allergic reaction when kissing the one you love. Possible allergic reactions to kissing include traces of trigger foods in your partner’s mouth. If your partner has eaten peanuts even four hours before kissing – and you are allergic to peanuts – you could be in serious danger. In fact, allergens can linger in a partner’s saliva up to a full day following ingestion, irrespective of tooth brushing or other interventions. Some common allergic outbreaks to kissing include: lip-swelling, throat-swelling, rash, hives, itching and/or wheezing.
Skin contact: If your honey is using a fragrance, cosmetic, metal or or even a shaving cream that you’re allergic to, you could be in trouble. Some even have allergic reactions to lingerie! Skin allergies include redness or irritation as well as hives and swelling of the skin. At least one recent study concluded that the majority of people will take into account the condition of one’s skins when making a decision on whether to date someone. However, we can pinpoint whether you are sensitive to various skin allergens via simple in-office patch tests and make suggestions about preferred, less allergy-prone products.
Massage oils: Before you decide to spoil your partner with a massage, make sure you buy allergy-free massage oil. If you buy the wrong kind of oil, you could find your special someone with a rash. Make sure the massage oil you use does not contain any fragrances or nut oils, and you should be good to go.
Sex: Love-making may inadvertently expose a person sensitive to chemicals found in spermicides, lubricants and/or latex condoms. Many couples might utilize a latex condom as a popular contraceptive technique that can provoke a localized or generalized allergic reaction if you are truly sensitive to latex rubber.
There are tests available to confirm a hypersensitivity to latex rubber protein. There are also alternative types of condoms that do not contain latex.
Oh, honey! A recent study finds although true allergy to honey is not common, several individuals actually had generalized, potentially life-threatening allergic reactions after ingesting honey, fresh or store bought. In fact fast, safe, in-office allergy skin tests confirmed “honey allergy”, as the likely cause. In fact, many seasonal allergy sufferers believe eating locally grown honey can actually help fight pesky allergy symptoms, unfortunately the data does not bear this out.
The bottom line is there are a variety of potential allergy pitfalls lurking anytime of the year, especially on Valentine’s Day. So it is especially important to have a dialogue with your partner about his or her allergy triggers. It’s always better to play it safe by understanding your partner’s allergies so those pesky allergies don’t get in the way of enjoying Valentine’s Day and every other day of the year!
This information is presented for education purposes only and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or management of your own individual condition.
Ebola, Water Quality and Allergies are among the top 10 environmental health stories of 2014.“We’ve had record warm days, and as of result of that, greater healthier plants pollinating, record pollen counts and so forth,” he said of 2014. It also makes reactive plants, such as poison ivy, grow faster and become more toxic, he added. Read Dr. Bassett’s take on allergies here.
In this helpful Fox News article, Dr. Bassett breaks down the 9 Ways To Have Allergy-Free Holidays. You should be sure to read it carefully and more importantly, take action on these tips to ensure the minimization of allergy triggers for you and family and friends who come to visit! Read the article.
Food allergies can either be mild or serious and occur when the immune system considers proteins present in food as a threat. There are certain foods that are associated with most food allergies, although food allergies can be caused by just about any food. Some of these “high allergy” foods include eggs, milk, peanuts, fish, crustaceans, shellfish and tree nuts (like brazil nuts, walnuts, pistachios and almonds) as well as others. In infants, food allergies can manifest in the form of eczema.
Symptoms of Food Allergies
Allergic reactions generally occur two hours or more after ingesting a particular food. Some of the common symptoms of an allergic reaction to food include:
- Raised itchy red rash (hives or urticaria)
- Abdominal pain
- A hoarse voice
- Itchy sensation inside ears, throat and mouth.
- Swelling of the face particularly the area around the lips, eyes, tongue, lips as well as roof of the mouth.
- Nasal congestion
There is no cure for food allergies and avoidance of the offending foods are recommended. In most instances, patients suffering from food allergies should carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of a reaction or accidental ingestion. This is crucial during an allergic emergency.
Ultimately, the best strategy for food allergies is to eliminate the foods you are allergic to. In order to confirm food allergies, you should consult with an allergist who is trained to evaluate and treat all kinds of allergies, including food allergies. He or she will test you and counsel you on the foods you will need to avoid.
A Manhattan allergist will help you identify the substances around the city that you are allergic to as he or she has done specialized training in the evaluation and treatment of all types of allergies and also in evaluation and treatment of asthma. Effective control and treatment of asthma requires skill, patience and planning. Allergists will develop a treatment plan that will address your specific condition with the aim of improving your quality of life. The challenge for many people is choosing the best allergist in the city, yet this is a crucial starting point.
Why See an Allergist
Some of the reasons to see an Allergist include:
- To have allergy tests performed to determine the nature of allergens responsible for you allergic reaction.
- To have allergy shots (or drops) administered to enable the body to tolerate the allergens they are allergic to.
- When you are in need of prescription medicine for the treatment of both allergies and asthma.
- When you would like to take preventive measures against factors that trigger the allergies.
What to Look for in Manhattan’s Allergists
If you have found yourself in this dilemma, consider the following tips when choosing your Manhattan Allergist:
- Ensure that the allergist you choose is board certified by checking online to see if they are certified by The American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI). This certification is a guarantee that they have gone through the requisite training and passed the specialty exam. Most doctors hang their board certificates in their offices. Ultimately, do not depend on the allergists flashy websites alone.
- Diversity and experience. Ensure that your choice of Manhattan allergist is experienced in the area of immunology and allergy.
- Convenience is key. Choose a location that is easy to access whenever the need arises. In addition, the doctor should also be reachable by phone or through their website.
Questions to Ask Your Manhattan Allergist
The allergist will examine you and ask questions regarding your medical and family history generally and with regard to allergies and asthma prior to creating a treatment plan. Some questions that may arise with regard to your allergy evaluation are as follows:
- What tests will be done to determine your allergies?
- What should you expect from the treatment and after how long should you expect to see the results?
- Is there anything that you can change in your lifestyle, diet or environment to prevent the allergy symptoms?
- What are the side effects associated with the prescription medicine that you will be taking?
- How severe are your allergies or asthma?
- How long will the treatment last?
Overall, a Manhattan allergist will not only diagnose your allergies and prescribe the appropriate medication but will also advise you how to minimize the occurrence of your allergies. Treatment may also include allergy shots, which stimulate your immune system, to adjust to the offending allergens and relieve your allergies on a long term basis.
Gluten-free diets are all the rage, but for thousands of Americans with celiac disease, the need for internal well-being is far more than a weight loss gimmick. Yet diagnosis of celiac disease is notoriously hard to pin down. We discuss why.
The Q&A videos filmed with Dr. Bassett in Dr. Oz’s studio greenroom in September during his recent appearance filmed on dairy allergies are now live on Sharecare.