See Hay Fever
Asthma is a chronic disease involving the airways (tubes) that carry air in and out of the lungs. These airways are inflamed in people with asthma. The inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and the tubes often react to allergens or irritations. There is no cure for asthma. But with the proper diagnosis, medication and an asthma management plan, symptoms can be controlled. Asthma symptoms may include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and trouble breathing–especially early in the morning or at night. In a severe asthma attack, the airways close so much that other vital organs in the body do not get enough oxygen.
There are three basic types of inhaler devices that deliver medications:
The most common is the Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI). This uses a chemical propellant to push the medication out of the inhaler.
Nebulizers deliver fine liquid mists of medication through a tube or a “mask” that fits over the nose and mouth, using air or oxygen under pressure. Nebulizers are frequently used to treat people with asthma who cannot use an inhaler, including infants, young children and very ill people of all ages.
Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs) deliver medication without using chemical propellants, but they require a strong and fast inhalation. With inhaled medications, the medicine is delivered directly to your bronchial tubes, helping to open your airways. Also, these medicines have fewer side effects compared to others that are taken by mouth or by injection.
Atopic dermatitis (also known as, Eczema*) is a chronic or recurrent inflammatory skin disease. The word “atopic” means that there is typically a genetic tendency toward allergic disease. Atopic dermatitis usually begins in the first few years of life and is often the initial indication that a child may later develop asthma and/or allergic rhinitis (hay fever). In infants, eczema usually appears as tiny bumps on the cheeks. Older children and adults often experience rashes on the knees or elbows (often in the folds of the joints), on the backs of hands or on the scalp.
Symptoms of atopic dermatitis include:
* Patches of skin that are red or brownish
* Itchy skin, especially at night
* Dry cracked or scaly skin
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi (lung airways), resulting in persistent cough that produces considerate quantities of sputum (phlegm). Bronchitis is more common in smokers and in areas with high atmospheric pollution.
Bronchodilators (also known as beta2-agonists* ) are non-steroid medications that help open up airways by relaxing small muscles which are tight due to asthma. Some bronchodilators are rapid-acting, and some are long-acting.
Rapid-acting bronchodilators are used as “rescue” or quick–relief medications to immediately relieve asthma symptoms. Quick relief bronchodilators are also sometimes prescribed to be taken before exercise to control exercise-induced broncho constriction. This type of medication is meant to be used to treat sudden asthma symptoms. If it is necessary to use a rescue medication on a daily basis, notify your doctor as it could mean that your asthma condition is not under control.
Long-acting bronchodilators are long-term medications which are used to manage and control asthma symptoms. They are typically prescribed to be taken twice daily—even when symptoms are not present.
Contact dermatitis is a disorder caused by contact with an external substance that triggers an allergic response. The history taken by the allergy/immunology specialist is important for the diagnosis and management of the disease. Common triggers include: sunscreen; Fragrant soaps; Shaving lotions; Rubber; Certain deodorants and perfumes; Bleach; Hand sanitizers; home fragrance diffusers, preservatives and emulsifiers, hair dye, shampoos.
A special test called patch test is indicated in any patient with acute or chronic dermatitis. Patients are typically asked to wear the patch for 48 hours, keeping it dry for that period. The allergist will then ask to return twice to check on the reaction. The patch test conducted by an allergist will determine what caused the reaction so that the allergen or irritant can be avoided in the future. The patient will receive a list of what they are allergic and also a list of products that they can use.
Cough is usually described as chronic if it is present for eight weeks or more. The most common causes of chronic cough are postnasal drainage, asthma and gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), or heartburn. Any or all of these may be the cause of chronic cough, in addition to a number of other less common causes. An allergist can help diagnose the cause(s) of your chronic cough.
Allergists have particular expertise in allergic rhinitis (or hay fever) and sinus infections, which may contribute to postnasal drainage, a common cause of chronic cough. Allergists are also experts at diagnosing and treating asthma, which may be present in 25% of patients with chronic cough. Cough from asthma may be associated with wheeze, shortness of breath or chest tightness and may be worsened by colds, exercise, smoke exposure and laughter, among other things. When to see an allergist*:
* If you have a cough that lasts more than eight weeks.
* If your cough is associated with symptoms of asthma.
* If your cough is associated with nasal symptoms or tobacco use.
* If your cough is severe and affecting your quality of life.
Contact Dermatitis refers to an inflammation of the skin resulting from direct contact of a substance with the surface of the skin. Unlike atopic dermatitis*, there is not necessarily a pre-disposition to allergic disease.
Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis include:
* Red rash, bumps or a burn-like rash on the skin
* Itchy, painful or burning skin
* Blisters and draining fluid
There are two types of contact dermatitis:
* Irritant Contact Dermatitis is the most common form and is caused when substances such as solvents or other chemicals irritate the skin. The exposure produces red, often more painful than itchy, patches on the involved skin areas.
* Allergic Contact Dermatitis occurs when a substance triggers an immune response. Nickel, perfumes, dyes, rubber (latex) products, topical medications and cosmetics frequently cause allergic contact dermatitis.