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Ask An Allergist


Posted by kevvyg on Tuesday, April 29, 2014
As the latest addition in our Ask an Allergist series, we tackle the development of a pet allergy as well as the tricky question of whether or not you can be allergic to dust but not dust mites. If you have any questions that are allergy or asthma related, drop us a line, and we'll pass them along to Dr. Mardiney.

Unfortunately, Sometimes You Can Become Allergic to a Beloved PetDeveloping an Allergy to a New Pet?

Can someone develop and allergy to something they're close to?  Specifically, MY pet.  Can allergies be that specific?

- submitted by Tim B. in St. Louis

Allergy is a genetic disorder that involves reactivity to specific allergens such as dust mite, pollens, and animals to name a few. Unfortunately, allergies can turn on at any time for unknown reasons. It is very common to see a pet owner develop allergy to their pet over time. Relocation of their animal or treatment with medication and possible allergy shots is often necessary.

Am I Allergic to Dust or Dust Mites?

Is it possible to be allergic to dust but not dust mites?  I am on immunotherapy for several different allergens, one was dust.  Recently, the FDA has taken away the dust serum and is saying that dust mite serum is the same thing?  I was retested for dust mites and didn't have an immediate reaction, but did within 24 hours, a red itchy bump the size of a dime that lasted for several days.  The allergy nurse said it was irrelevant because I didn't react right away within 20 minutes.  My problem is being symptomatic to dust again since it has been eliminated from my weekly shots.  I've been on shots going on two years.  Would appreciate any insight or suggestions!

- submitted by J. Sullivan

Yes!!! You can be allergic to house dust and not dust mite. House dust is a mixture of many substances including shed human skin, mold, animal hair and dander, fibers, and dust mite and its excrement. The amount of each can vary from home to home. The significance of Late Phase skin test Allergic to House Dust or Dust Mites? Dust on Window Blind responses to an airborne allergen such as dust mite has long been controversial. Despite the lack of conclusive data, many allergists consider a delayed response to be significant. This is based on the known fact that the allergic response is made up of an early phase [immediate up to 30 minutes] followed by a more prolonged late phase reaction. The late phase typically occurs 4-8 hours after exposure but can occur even later in some circumstances. Based on this data it can be extrapolated that a delayed response up to 24 hours could be relevant.

Every allergist has their own style and protocol as to what they may remove from serum after a retest. Typically I do not remove an allergen that has shown significant reactivity on previous testing.

Finally, If you seem to be more clinically sensitive to dust.... it may be necessary for your allergist to review your allergy serum makeup and increase the individual components (such as dust mite, mold etc.) that you may have lost with the removal of house dust from your serum.

Dr. Matthew Mardiney, MDDo you have questions you would like answered? Submit them to us via the FAQ form on every product page, email them using blog@achooallergy.com, send them to us via our live chat or send us something via snail mail. The most relevant and intriguing we'll select to be answered.

To see all of our Dr. Mardiney's Answered FAQ's or to view allergy questions answered by Dr. Frank.

Author: Kevin Gilmore

Pet Allergy Solutions
Dust Mite Solutions

Posted by kevvyg on Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Dr. Matthew Mardiney, MDWe are constantly trying to bring you the most up-to-date and relevant information available. To help in doing so, we've begunn partnering with board certified doctors to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about allergies and asthma.

With our first set of questions, I'd like to introduce Dr. Matthew Mardiney, MD.

Travel Allergy Tips?

How can I keep my allergies in check when traveling to countries where I might be exposed to trees/plants that I've never encountered before?

- submitted by TravelBug

Traveling out of the country or even other parts of our country can be challenging for people who suffer from environmental allergies. There is no easy way to predict how a foreign allergen will impact the allergic individual. Factors that can impact include previous exposure, the amount, and duration of exposure. Often allergy sufferers who have not have had previous exposure will be less affected by a new environment.

The keys to travel success are to ensure that your baseline allergic condition is being maximally treated and controlled prior to your travels and to have a treatment plan going forward. Being prepared to travel means knowing the predominant allergen that you will be exposed to {endemic pollens, animal dander, mold, etc.} and having backup measures to initiate if symptoms escalate. This includes avoidance measures (as best as possible) and additional medications such as antihistamines and/or decongestants for symptomatic control if needed. In extreme cases traveling with a low dose oral steroid and/or a rescue inhaler may be warranted based on the person's allergic history.

Finally, Individualizing a treatment plan with your Allergist or PCP is always a good idea before traveling. Remember the phrase "Fail to prepare...prepare to fail"

Keeping Your Child Active with Asthma?

Any advice on how to keep my asthmatic son active but safe during the spring and summer?

- submitted by Marietta, OH Mom

Every asthmatic is different but typically the summer and particularly the spring can be challenging. Our goal is always shooting for maximum control where the asthmatic patient essentially normalizes and can do anything a non-asthmatic can do. Typically this Playing & Exercise with Asthmacan be obtained to some degree with preventative allergy and asthma treatment.

If your child does have pollen sensitivity in the spring and summer it's best to do most activity outside in the early morning or late afternoon when pollen counts are down and temperatures are cooler. Be aware of the air quality and limit outside activities during poor air quality days. If your child struggles with allergy and asthma despite these measures, a reassessment of their maintenance allergy and asthma treatment is indicated and consideration for allergen desensitization "shots" should be discussed with your local allergist.

Do you have questions you would like answered? Submit them to us via the FAQ form on every product page, email them using blog@achooallergy.com, send them to us via our live chat or send us something via snail mail. The most relevant and intriguing we'll select to be answered.

Author: Kevin Gilmore

Posted by kevvyg on Monday, February 24, 2014
Newest Ask an Allergist - Dr. Matthew MardineyAs February draws to a close, we'd like to look forward to the inevitable March of Spring. (Sorry, it's Saturday, so bad puns ahoy!) But as some of us are hopefully saying goodbye to winter weather, icy roads, and snow days, we'd like to introduce everyone to our newest contributor to our Ask an Allergist segment, Dr. Matthew Mardiney. Originally from Maryland, Dr. Mardiney has been practicing medicine, with a focus on allergies, asthma and immunology, for nearly fifteen years. So if you have questions about allergies, asthma, eczema, chemical sensitivities or other related medical issues, submit them via the blog comments, email (blog@achooallergy.com), call, chat, FAQ submission or snail mail them and yours could be answered and featured by Dr. Mardiney in Ask the Allergist!

To read past Ask an Allergist questions and answers.

Oh, and just a reminder, there is only ONE week left of our Annual White Sale! Take advantage while you can on discounted allergy bedding, organic cotton bedding and other healthy bedding products.

Author: K. Gilmore

Posted by kevvyg on Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Dr. Lichtenberger, MDAs our most recent installment of Ask An Allergist, our partner, Dr. Frank Lichtenberger, answers questions about latex allergies as well as morning time coughing and sneezing for smokers. Take a look, and if you have questions you'd like us to answer, send them along via email, chat, FAQ submission, or phone.

Latex Allergies and Natural Rubber Products

Balloons make it difficult for me to breathe. If natural rubber is latex, and I have latex sensitivities are latex-free products safe for me to use? - submitted by Latex Allergic

Latex allergy is one of the most severe allergies that can affect people. Some people have allergies to only the latex gloves that used to be very common in medical practices. Unfortunately there are a few people with severe latex allergies that can react to hardened, or cured/ammoniated latex. People with this severe of an allergy have a difficult time with all forms of latex, even the thick processed gloves used for cleaning. If balloons make it difficult for you to breathe, I highly recommend formal evaluation from a local Allergy or Pulmonary specialist to determine if you have brochospasm. I cannot provide more specific recommendations, given the complexity of the issue.
- Dr. Frank

Morning Congestion and Sneezing, Allergies?  Smoking?

I've smoked for several years now, and have never really thought that I had allergies, but recently I've noticed a little congestion in the morning that goes away pretty quickly. Additionally, I notice that ever since I can remember, I get up and during the first hour, I sneeze like 3-6 times. It's one after Balloons Are Common Problems For Latex Allergiesanother after another, then it's gone. Could that allergies? Or something else? - submitted by Sneezy

First thing, and above all else, you must quit smoking.

Paroxysms of sneezing (the rapid-fire sneezing you are describing) tend to come from a short circuit in the nerves that go to the nose/pharynx. When there is inflammation (yes, it could be from allergies) these nerves are highly excited and can go into a repeat fire process that can last up to several hours. I have seen some people that have even developed neck pain from these. So, to answer your question, many things can cause nasal inflammation, allergies, viruses, particulates......smoke....., and finding out what is causing your inflammation will help you stop sneezing.
- Dr. Frank

Do you have questions you would like answered? Submit them to us via the FAQ form on every product page, email them using blog@achooallergy.com, send them to us via our live chat or send us something via snail mail. We'll submit the most relevant and intriguing to be answered by a featured allergist.

Check out All Allergy FAQ's or read up on Dr. Frank's Bio.

Author: Kevin Gilmore

Posted by kevvyg on Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Dr. Lichtenberger, MDAs our second installment of Ask An Allergist, we answer questions about food desensitization, avoiding asthma triggers and bird dander allergies. Take a look, and if you have questions you'd like us to answer, send them along via the methods listed below.

Desenitization to Deal with Dairy Allergies?

What could an allergist could do to help me other than confirm what I already know? Specifically, is there any way to desensitize my body's responses to dairy so that I can enjoy products like cheese and ice cream again. - submitted by Milk Allergic

Cow's milk allergy is one of the more difficult allergies to deal with. If you see a board-certified Allergist, they would be able to help define what level of reactivity you have to these food products, and if you may have allergic sensitivity to other foods. In addition, there are many different ways the immune system can react to food protein that produces a rash, and an allergist could help determine whether it is an IgE mediated process or not. Also, an allergist could help define the exact molecule in milk protein that you are reacting to, i.e. alpha-lactalbumin, etc. which could point towards cross-sensitivity to beef, chicken, etc.

We know have several methods of food desensitization, but only for IgE reactions. Cow's milk is one of the foods for which there are established protocols. Not every allergist does food desensitization as it is a very new technique. Some allergists do desensitizations to hen's egg and peanut as well.
- Dr. Frank

Is There Anything More Than Avoidance When it Comes to Fragrance and Smoke?

Inhalants, such as, perfume, smoke, and chemicals, cause my asthma to get much worse. Are there any treatments that work? Simple avoidance makes me feel like a captive. - submitted by Jan & Larry

There are quite a few people out there that suffer from those types of triggers called "oxidants" and "volatile organic compounds" (VOCs). Oxidants are released when things burn, or by electrical equipment - or when stuff burns, and VOCs are petroleum based molecules which can directly or indirectly activate your body's nerves or allergy receptors. Many people with asthma can identify these things are triggers, and it usually means that their asthma is not well controlled and they have a lot of active inflammation in the lungs. the key to reducing the asthma triggers is to get the active inflammation under control as best you can.

Many products on this website can help you clean the air in your home, I would recommend a system that reduces VOCs as well as the standard smoke and dust.
- Dr. Frank

Am I Allergic to My Cockatoo?

My nose runs when I am in the parrot room. Is there a test to see if I am allergic to my Umbrella Cockatoo? - submitted by Cockatoo Blues

True bird-feather allergy is quite rare, and most allergists do not have that in their testing equipment. We commonly see people who think they are allergic to feather pillows, and 75% of the time it is actually just dust mite matter that has built up in the pillow. People with true feather allergy tend to be reactive to a cross-reactive allergen (gal d 5) which is chicken serum albumin and report symptoms with ingestion of egg yolk and chicken meat. Even in exotic bird fanciers, the majority of fanciers that report symptoms are actually allergic to feather mites, Diplaegidia columbae, a cousin of the common dust mite.

The cockatoo is of the order Psittaciformes(Parrots) and there is a blood test called a Parrot Feather specific IgE, which can determine if you are allergic to it or not. However if you already know you develop symptoms when you walk into the room, you should think about wearing an N95 mask to protect your nose, mouth, and lungs. Depending on the diet, some bird droppings will release ammonia as a by product of nitrogen metabolism, and this can be seriously irritating to the nose and throat.
- Dr. Frank

Do you have questions you would like answered? Submit them to us via the FAQ form on every product page, email them using blog@achooallergy.com, send them to us via our live chat or send us something via snail mail. We'll submit the most relevant and intriguing to be answered by a featured allergist.

Author: Kevin Gilmore

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