Katy Location

705 S. Fry Rd., Suite 115
Katy, TX 77450
Phone: 281.647.9204


West Houston Location

12121 Richmond, Suite 217
Houston, TX 77082
Phone: 832.243.1850

Educational Materials

Bronchial Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects over 20 million Americans (AAAAI.org). Asthma is due to inflammation of the airways in your lungs. Inflammation causes narrowing of the airways which can make it difficult to move air in and out of your lungs and lead to symptoms such as coughing, breathlessness, wheezing, or chest tightness. Respiratory infections, inhaled allergens, non-allergic factors, and exercise can trigger your asthma. An allergist will take a detailed history to help determine triggers for your asthma and may recommend tests to determine if your symptoms are triggered by allergies. Pulmonary function testing (Spirometry) as well as exhaled Nitric Oxide tests (FeNO) are commonly used to assess a patient’s symptoms. Treatment of asthma includes avoidance of specific triggers, medications and immune modulation. It is very important to know which medications are to be used on an as needed basis and which are required as daily, controller medications. For many, asthma is a chronic illness similar to hypertension, diabetes, heart disease. As such, asthma treatment with daily controller medications should never be stopped without first addressing this with your allergy/asthma specialist. Immune modulation can help to improve your asthma. Untreated asthma can lead to long term complications. Your allergy/asthma specialist can individualize specific treatment plans based on your history and test results.

Sinusitis

Sinusitis refers to inflammation of the sinuses that are located around the nose. The paranasal sinuses are air filled spaces that communicate with the nose. The new term rhinosinusitis is used to indicate that inflammation of the sinuses is very much related to inflammation of the nasal passages. Allergens, pollutants, viral infection, bacterial infections and fungal infections are some of the triggers that lead to symptoms. It is often difficult to distinguish between an infected versus inflamed sinus cavity. Symptoms can include sinus pressure, sinus headache, difficulty smelling or tasting, mucus discharge from the nose, post nasal drip, coughing or worsening of asthma. An allergist can perform various studies to help determine if allergies are contributing to your sinus symptoms. Treatment modalities can include something as simple as saline rinses to immune modulation or surgery.

Rhinitis

Rhinitis refers to swelling or inflammation of tissue in the nasal passages. Symptoms of rhinitis include nasal congestion, “stuffiness”, sneezing, runny nose, and nasal itchiness. Rhinitis can be due to allergic factors, non-allergic factors or a combination of both. Allergic Rhinitis affects approximately 20% of the population. Non allergic factors can include pollutants, perfumes, cigarette smoke, and fumes. It is important to determine which factors are playing the greatest role so the proper treatments can be initiated. A board certified allergist can perform tests (including skin tests) that can differentiate between various stimuli. Treatment often includes avoidance of the things that cause your symptoms. Medications are prescribed to target the specific symptoms that the patient experiences. Allergen immunotherapy, more commonly referred to as “allergy shots,” mayalso be an option for patients diagnosed with allergic rhinitis. Allergen immunotherapy is designed to modify your immune response to help your body protect itself from harmful stimuli. Specific types of immune therapy will be addressed by your allergist.

Skin Allergies

An allergic response by the skin to a potential allergen may manifest itself in many ways. Signs may include itchiness, redness, or swelling of theskin. Several disease states have been linked to skin allergy including atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and urticaria. Some conditions, such as atopic dermatitis, start during early infancy. Others can manifest themselves at any time in life. To determine if an allergic factor is playing a role, contact your allergist who will take a detailed history and, if needed, perform testing.

Atopic Dermatitis: Seen during early infancy and can be associated with nasal allergy and asthma later in life. The rash can occur in the “creases” such as back of legs, arms, ankles, wrists. There can be an association with food allergy and contact allergy (dust mite).

Contact Dermatitis: Occurs with direct exposure of the skin to a potential allergen. The reaction may not occur for 24 to 48 hours after exposure and, thus, is sometimes difficult to diagnose. Examples of offending agents include poison ivy, nickel and household products. Testing to some of these agents is available. Treatment includes avoidance of potential allergens and use of anti-inflammatory and anti-itch agents.

Urticaria (hives): May occur in almost 20 percent of the US population at some point in their lives. Often, the symptoms are mild and resolve quickly. However, some can be recurrent and/or chronic. Urticaria can be from an allergic response from exposure to external stimuli. However, non-allergic factors can also play a role such as thyroid disease, infections, and stress. Your allergist will take a very detailed history to try and determine the cause of your hives. Testing may include skin tests, blood tests and x-rays to determine possible stimuli. Treatment of hives will include eliminating the offending trigger, if possible, as well as medications.

Angioedema: Characterized by episodes of swelling that occurs in isolation. This can include swelling around the eyes, lips, hands or any other body part. Swelling of the airways can cause respiratory compromise which is a life threatening condition. Your evaluation will include a very detailed history to help determine causes of your symptoms. Based on your history, testing may include blood tests, skin tests and imaging studies.

Food Allergy

An estimated 12 million Americans have food allergies. For patients who suffer from food allergies, many factors come into play. Whether testing for food allergy by skin test or blood test, the test is intended to look for a specific response. Our immune system manufactures molecules referred to as antibodies. A specific antibody, referred to as IgE , is typically responsible for the immediate reaction a patient with food allergies experiences when ingesting a food allergen. This has to be distinguished from other laboratory tests for food allergy that are not specific for this antibody.

Food allergy has to be distinguished from food intolerance. As an example, patients who cannot drink milk because it leads to stomach upset often are not able to digest lactose This is different than having a food allergy in which the body can produce an IgE antibody to milk components. In an IgE mediated reaction, food proteins will trigger an immunologic response for symptoms such as itching, hives, coughing, swelling, vomiting, GI upset, and possibly anaphylaxis. If you suspect that you are having an allergic reaction to food, a board certified allergist/immunologist can take a detailed history to determine what you may be allergic to.

Eight foods that account for 90% of food related reactions are cow’s milk, egg, wheat, soybean, tree nuts, peanuts, fish and shellfish, but it is possible to be allergic to any type of food. In 2012, 5.6% or 4.1 million children reported having food allergies in the past 12 months. Additionally, a recent study conducted in 2010, showed that peanut was the most prevalent food allergy for children, followed by milk and shellfish. While some children will outgrow their food allergies, others can develop food allergies later in life. At this time, the recommended treatment is avoidance of the offending food depending on the type of symptoms the patient is experiencing.

Below is an estimated prevalence of food allergies among the US population, based on a recent study by Food Allergy Research & Education:

  • Peanut: 0.6 -1.3 %
  • Tree nuts: 0.4 – 0.6 %
  • Fish: 0.4 %
  • Crustacean shellfish (crab, crayfish, lobster, shrimp): 1.2%
  • All seafood: 0.6 % in children and 2.8 % in adults
  • Milk and egg: based on date within and outside the U.S, 1-2% in young children and 0.2-0.4% in the general population

Oral Allergy Syndrome

The oral allergy syndrome (OAS) is a common adverse allergic reaction to the ingestion of certain raw fruits, vegetables and nuts in people with pollen allergiesThe allergens in these allergic foods are similar to the allergens in the pollens.

Some reports suggest that 25% to 50% of people with pollen allergy have the OAS and up to 75% of people with birch tree allergy have the OAS.

The most common symptoms of the OAS are itching and tingling of the mouth and throat usually within minutes of eating the raw allergic food. There can be varying degrees of swelling inside the mouth that is rarely life threatening. There is less than a 1% chance of anaphylaxis which is a life threatening allergic reaction. Your allergist will be able to inform you if you are at risk for associated anaphylaxis or not. Typically the reaction does not occur if the food is cooked or canned. For example eating raw carrots will trigger the reaction but eating cooked carrots will not. The symptoms generally last minutes and will resolve on their own as long as you immediately stop eating the allergic food.

Listed below is an updated list from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology regarding the different foods associated with pollen types that could trigger oral allergy syndrome.

Pollen type Season Foods Associated with Oral Allergy Syndrome
Birch tree Spring Apple, Apricot, Cherry, Peach, Pear, Plum, Kiwi
Carrot, Celery, Parsley
Peanut, Soybean
Almond Hazelnut
Timothy and orchard grass Spring-Summer Peach, Watermelon, Orange
White potato, tomato
Ragweed Late Summer-Fall Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Watermelon, Banana
Cucumber, white potato, Zucchini
Mugwort (mold) Fall Bell pepper, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chard, Garlic, Onion, Parsley
Aniseed, Caraway, Coriander, Fennel, Black Pepper

Latex Allergy

Common Latex Products:

Gloves, Balloons, Condoms, Diaphragms, Bandages (Adhesives), Therapy / Resistance bands, Koosh® balls, Pacifiers/Baby Bottle Nipples,Gutta, Perch/Gutta Balota (used to seal root canals), Dental dams, Orthodontic elastics, Blood pressure cuffs, Stethoscope tubing, Tourniquets, Red Rubber Catheters, Vial stoppers, Dishwashing gloves, Erasers, Rubber bands, Elastic, Spandex,Latex Mattresses

Cross Reactive Foods to latex:

High (4): Banana, Avocado, Chestnut, Kiwi

Moderate (7): Apple, Carrot, Celery, Papaya, Potato, Tomato, Melons

Low or undetermined (33): Pear, Mango, Sweet Pepper, Peach, Rye, Cayenne Pepper, Plum, Wheat, Shellfish, Cherry, Hazelnut, Sunflower Seed, Pineapple, Walnut, Citrus Fruits, Strawberry, Soybean, Coconut, Fig, Peanut, Chick Pea, Grape, Buckwheat, Castor Bean, Apricot, Dill, Lychee, Passion, Fruit, Oregano Zucchini, Nectarine, Sage, Persimmon

Skin Care

If you suffer from allergic skin conditions, a basic rule to follow when picking your skin care products is to remember that smell, texture and ingredients are very important.

  1. Smell- Avoid skin care products that have strong scents. When choosing products, select ones that are “fragrance free.” Products that claim to be “unscented” are not actually free from fragrances so read the label carefully
  2. Texture- Skin care products should be thick. Ointments tend keep your skin moisturized longer when compared to lotions. Good products tend to be harder to spread since they are thicker and leave your skin feeling greasy.
  3. Ingredients- In patients who are susceptible to allergies, stay away from applying products derived directly from food or plants such as coconut oil or grape seed oils. These can cause irritation, worsening of current symptoms or can even cause new dermatologic symptoms

Dry Skin Care

Showering

  1. Daily bath/shower with lukewarm water. Less than 10 minutes.
  2. Avoid scrubbing
  3. Pat dry skin and avoid rubbing; this strips off natural layers of protection to your sin
  4. Examples of soaps/body washes to use (no fragrance):
    • CeraVe Cleanser
    • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
    • Vanicream Cleansing Bar
    • Aveeno Advanced Care Wash
  5. Shampoo and Conditioner
    • Free and Clear
    • DHS

Moisturizers

  1. Frequent and generous moisturizing is the key to good control, should be applied 3-4 times daily; including after shower or bath
  2. Examples of products to use
    • Aquaphor Ointment
    • Cetaphil Cream, CeraVe Cream, Eucerin Cream, Aveeno Advanced Care Cream
    • Vaseline or Vanicream is good for children who complain of “stinging” with moisturizers

Detergents

  1. Tide Free, Cheer Free, All Free and Clear
  2. Fabric Softener: Bounce Free, Downy Free

Sunblock

  1. Vanicream Sensitive Skin = 30 or 60
  2. Neutrogena Sensitive Skin SPF 60+
  3. Neutrageno Pure & Free Baby SPF 60 +

Diaper Cream

  1. Vaseline Ointment

Immunodeficiencies

The immune system is responsible for protecting the body against foreign substances. After being exposed to a foreign substance, a properly functioning immune system retains memory through antibody production to deter against subsequent invasion by the same organism. If you experience recurrent pneumonia, recurrent sinusitis, recurrent ear infections, severe or unusual infections or infections that do not respond to antibiotics you may have a deficiency in one of the components of your immune system. Immune deficiencies are classified into two categories: primary and secondary immune deficiencies. A primary immune deficiency describes a defect in the production of antibodies or in functioning of the immune system. Primary immune deficiencies are usually due to either an inherited or sporadic genetic defect and thus are present at birth; however many people with primary immune deficiencies many not develop symptoms until many years later. A secondary immune deficiency refers to a disruption in the body’s ability to fight infections due to a secondary cause such as cancer, infection, or drugs that affect our immune system. An Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology specialist is trained to identify and treat immune deficiencies and can perform tests to measure the different components of your immune system and determining whether they are sufficient and functioning properly. Many primary immunodeficiencies can be treated with replacement therapy. Many symptoms of immune deficiencies can also mimic allergic diseases. An Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology specialist can help you identify the cause and subsequent treatment of your condition.

Environmental Control Measures

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