News!!! Spring and Allergies:Tips to Remember Emilia Patricia T. Zarco, M.D. M.Ed. Associate Professor, Health Studies Adelphi University
What is an allergy? • An allergy is an exaggerated immune response or reaction to substances called allergens that are generally not harmful.
What is Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis? • Allergic rhinitis is a collection of symptoms, predominantly in the nose and eyes, to allergens such as dust, dander and pollen.
What is hay fever? • When allergic rhinitis is caused by common outdoor allergen (airborne tree, grass and weed pollens or mold), it is called “hay fever”.
What happens when a person has allergic rhinitis? National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, USA
Signs and Symptoms • sneezing • stuffy nose • runny nose • itching in nose, roof of the mouth, throat, eyes and ear • inflammation in the nasal lining makes the nose very sensitive to irritants such as • smoke • strong odors • changes in the temperature and humidity of the air.
What To Do • An allergist/immunologist can help determine which specific allergens are triggering your illness. • He or she will take a thorough health history, and then test use to determine if you have allergies. • Certified in: • Pediatrics or • Internal Medicine and • ABAI (American Board of Allergy and Immunology)
What diagnostic tests are done to test for allergy? • Skin prick or scratch test • most common and reliable • painless: A small needle or plastic device is used to lightly prick or scratch your back or forearm with a tiny amount of allergen. • After 15-20 minute, each spot is examined • The spots where you are allergic will become red and swollen, and the others will remain normal.
What diagnostic tests are done to test for allergy? • Intradermal test • done when the skin prick or scratch test results are unclear • involves injecting a small amount of allergen under the skin using a needle. • allergy skin testing should only be performed in a medical setting, with access to emergency treatment because of risk of anaphylaxis
What diagnostic tests are done to test for allergy? • Blood Test or RAST (radioallergosorbent) Test • measures the levels of allergy antibody, IgE, produced when your blood is mixed with a series of allergens in a laboratory
What diagnostic tests are done to test for allergy? • Challenge Test • Done to confirm a food or drug allergy after a skin or blood test result is positive • swallow a very small amount of the suspected allergen until a reaction is noted • done in a clinical setting and are only performed when absolutely necessary due to risk of anaphylaxis
How to avoid pollen… • Remain indoors when the outdoor pollen levels are highest. • Sunny, and windy days • early morning • late afternoon hours • If persons with pollen allergy must work outdoors, wear a pollen and dust mask.
How to avoid pollen… • Take vacations at the height of the expected pollinating period (seashore) • Wash hair before going to bed • Use a clothes dryer • Use air cleaners. • Airconditioners • Air purifiers • Air filtering devices
How to avoid pollen… • Avoid unnecessary exposure to irritants • Dust • insect sprays • tobacco smoke • air pollution • fresh tar or paint.
How to avoid mold… • Do not walk through uncut fields or rake leaves • Keep windows and doors closed and use air conditioning • Clean moldy surfaces in the house • Fix water leaks • Use air conditioning and a dehumidifier to reduce indoor air humidity.
How to avoid house dust mites… • Put mattresses, pillows and box springs in dust-proof casings • Wash bedding weekly in water that is hotter than 130º F • Remove stuffed toys from bedrooms.
How to avoid animal dander …. • Pets should not be kept in the house. • If you have pets, keep them out of the bedroom and keep the bedroom door closed. • Do not let pets sit on furniture.