(585) 723-8710
99 Canal Landing Blvd. Suite 7
Rochester, NY 14626
(585) 637-3910
18 Graves St
Brockport, NY 14420-1206
(585) 953-3035 
229 Summit St.
Batavia, NY 14020

Patient Education

Dealing with hives and more in 
Greece, Brockport, Batavia

The team at Westside Allergy is well-equipped to help you deal with everything from hives to asthma. This page is designed for patient education purposes only, and is not considered a tool for diagnosis or treatment. In order to learn more about your unique condition, we ask that you schedule a consultation with our office. We'll be happy to make an appointment for you and get you some help for your issue. Thanks for visiting our site!

Allergies

You are not alone if you suffer from allergies. They are very common, affecting an estimated 50 million Americans, which is one in every six people in the United States. A wide array of allergens may trigger an allergic reaction in sensitive people through the air, by touch, or by ingestion. They can appear at any age, and can even disappear in childhood only to reappear in adulthood.

What are Allergies?

An allergy is an immune response or reaction to substances that are generally not harmful. Often, substances that cause reactions include:

  •     Pollen
  •     Dust mites
  •     Mold spores
  •     Pet dander
  •     Food
  •     Insect stings
  •     Medicines

It is believed that both genes and the environment contribute to your allergies.  Many people believe an allergy as merely “hay fever,” with sneezing, a runny nose, nasal stuffiness and itchy, watery eyes. However, allergies can also cause symptoms such as chronic sinus problems, postnasal drip, head congestion, chronic cough and asthma. Stomach problems and skin rashes could also be due to an allergy. 



Asthma

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that as many as 6.8 million children have asthma, which is close to 10 percent of all kids. Asthma can also surface in adulthood. The symptoms range from mild to severe, requiring close monitoring at all times. If you or your child has been diagnosed with asthma or has symptoms of this health condition, make it a priority to learn as much as possible about managing it successfully.

What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that causes difficulty in breathing. The lungs become inflamed and spasm, causing you to wheeze or cough. About half of those with asthma have what we call “allergic asthma", so an allergy evaluation is an important part of asthma care. If allergens are identified, measures can be taken to avoid them. Allergen immunotherapy can also be very beneficial to improve asthma for those with asthma triggered by allergies. At Westside Allergy we have the tools necessary to appropriately diagnose and manage your asthma. We can help you understand your condition and your triggers.

Symptoms of an asthma attack include:

  •     Shortness of breath
  •     Tightness in the chest
  •     Wheezing and gasping for air
  •     Coughing
  •     Waking up at night with cough or chest tightness

What Causes Asthma in Children?

The exact cause of childhood asthma is still somewhat of a mystery to doctors and experts, but many believe it is a hereditary condition passed down through families.  It’s important for children who are managing asthma symptoms to see an allergist. An allergist can help you understand the disease and empower you to manage it appropriately. 

Asthma Treatments

Treatment for asthma is tailored to each unique patient. Some may need daily inhalers while others may need medication only as needed. For severe allergic asthma, Xolair injections are also very beneficial. Working with your allergist to understand your asthma is also a very important part of your treatment plan.

Food allergies

Food Allergies affect up to anywhere from 1 to 3 percent of the general population. A true food allergy can lead to anaphylaxis, which is a serious allergic reaction that can affect your skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular system. Some reactions may be fatal. At Westside Allergy we offer a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and managing a true food allergy. We can help guide patients on the appropriate food avoidance practices while ensuring the best possible quality of life.

Epinephrine and avoidance are currently the main ways to manage food allergies. There are promising approaches on the horizon for “desensitization” to certain and foods and we will be sure to stay abreast of procedures and practices as they became approved by the FDA.

A food intolerance is different from a true allergic reaction. It is very difficult to diagnose a food intolerance with blood work or allergy testing. Intolerances fortunately do not lead to anaphylaxis and Epinephrine is not required in these cases. Sometimes food diaries are helpful in identifying food intolerances.

Celiac Disease is a severe allergy to gluten which can be diagnosed by a blood test or biopsy of your intestine by a gastroenterologist. This is different from a gluten intolerance which is often difficult to accurately diagnose with testing.

The most common food allergies in children are milk, egg, peanut and tree nuts. Shellfish seems to present later in life.

Milk and egg are often outgrown and an allergist can best help with assessing if this outcome is possible for you.

Prevention of Food Allergies:  

This is an increasing area of interest. There are a lot of questions regarding introduction of foods. A discussion with an allergist is the best approach before introducing foods to which you may have an allergy, as an adverse outcome may be life-threatening. 

Hives
Hives or Urticaria are a raised red rash on the skin.  They are often referred to as "welts."  They can be associated with swelling of the lips or tongue called Angioedema.  

They cause significant itching and can be very annoying.  It is important to speak with an allergist to rule out underlying causes. Unfortunately up to 90% of hive cases are what we call Idiopathic. This means no underlying cause is identified. 

A good treatment regimen to keep hives under control is required. Allergists can help come up with a good medication regimen.  Antihistamines are the first line of therapy to combat hives. Sometimes antihistamines alone don't work. An allergist will help deal with hard to control hives. 



Pediatrics

Pediatric Allergy can manifest differently than in adults. Infants with food allergies may be fussy or appear colicky.  Sometimes food allergy in very young infants may be difficult to diagnose. It is important to not overly restrict diets unnecessarily.  An allergist along with your pediatrician can help decide how to manage potential infant food allergies.  Special infant formulas or various food elimination diets in a breastfeeding mother may be discussed and recommended. 

Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis is type of food protein allergy that can manifest with severe diarrhea or bloody stool. This should be brought to medical attention immediately. 

Eczema can be a difficult childhood condition.  Some forms of eczema can be attributed to allergy while at other times it is not.  Identifying potential triggers for eczema can be very helpful in management. 

Allergic Rhinitis often does not become a big problem until around the age of 2.  However it can present at younger ages as well. 

Insect sting allergy

There are many types of insect bites and stings. An allergist can offer lifesaving treatment for severe reactions to stinging insects.

Stinging insects include honey bees, yellow jackets, white-faced hornets, yellow-faced hornets and wasps. Fire ants can also lead to severe reactions.

Most insect stings produce a local reaction that can last up to several days and they generally resolve without treatment, however in some cases, anaphylaxis and death can occur. Anapylyaxis is a systemic allergic reaction and can involve the skin, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, and lungs.

The risk of a systemic reaction (anapylaxis) in patients who experience large local reactions is no more than 5% to 10%.

Serious anaphylactic sting reactions account for at least 40 deaths each year in the United States.

It is estimated that potentially life-threatening systemic reactions occur in up to 0.4 to 0 .8 percent of adults and 3% of children.

Allergy shots to these stinging insects can be  life saving. Epinephrine is also life saving for those with an allergy.

Unfortunately large reactions to other bites can produce severe reactions but at present there are no particular tests for these. Treatment is aimed at reducing the swelling and antihistamines, and steroids can be helpful.

Frequent infections

Allergists and immunologists can help diagnose and treat potential problems with the immune system. While most  immunodeficiencies are very rare, frequent sinus and lung infections may possibly be the presentation of an immunodeficiency called Common Variable Immunodeficiency. This is when proteins in our immune system called immunoglobulins are low, or not good at
fighting infections. Specific antibody deficiency occurs when a person cannot make proteins to specific types of bacteria or viruses.

Problems with the immune system can be categorized as primary or secondary. Primary means that the cause is largely unknown or is often due to our genes. Secondary means the problem with the immune system comes about because of another disease such as diabetes or cancer.

Treatment options are available if a diagnosis is made. Replacing the immunoglobulins can help reduce the number of infections in appropriate cases.

Eosinphilic disorders

Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell. They are a marker of allergic disease and parasitic infections. There are a number of disorders that can lead to elevations of these cells. Allergies generally lead to a mild elevation.

Allergists are often asked to help figure out what is causing an increase in this type of white blood cell.

Eosinophilic esophagitis is a condition marked by increased number of eosinophils in the esophagus. These cells lead to inflammation and can cause strictures in the esophagus. The condition is often diagnosed when food gets stuck in a person’s esophagus. The diagnosis is made by a gastroenterologist who can take a biopsy of the esophagus to look at under a microscope. It is believed that food allergies and environmental allergies can be one of the triggers for this condition. Acid reflux is another important trigger. Testing for allergies is helpful. Treatment is often steroids.

Medication allergies

Medication allergies can be serious and life-threatening. Testing can often help determine whether a certain reaction was due to a medication allergy.

Recent research has indicated that up to 94% of those who thought they were allergic to penicillin actually are not. Testing is available to help diagnose true penicillin allergies.

A medication challenge where a dose of the medication is given to truly find out if a person is allergic is important in making an appropriate diagnosis.

Aspirin allergy can lead to worsening of asthma and nasal polyps. This condition is called Sampter’s Triad. A procedure to  “desensitize” a person to aspirin can decrease nasal polyp growth and asthma symptoms.

Allergists are the best resource for diagnosing and managing medication allergies.

Concerns about medication allergies can be discussed with your allergist.

Skin allergies

The skin is an important part of our immune system. Often the first sign that a child may be prone to allergies is eczema. There is something called an “Allergic March" or "Allergic Triad.” This means that having eczema may mean future allergies and asthma.

Eczema is a common and chronic condition characterized by itching and scratching followed by a red and scaly rash. It can range from mild to very severe. Treatment options depend on severity.

Topical steroids and moisture are important in management.

Sometimes allergies can trigger eczema. Testing is helpful to identify possible triggers. These triggers can be foods, animals or other environmental allergens.

Contact Dermatitis is an itchy rash that sometimes leads to blistering. It is caused by something in the environment that we come into contact with. This rash is referred to as a “delayed hypersensitivity reaction” because it may take days after contact for the rash to develop. Patch testing is required to help identify the cause. A familiar contact allergen is poison ivy.

Hives refers to an itchy raised, red rash that often looks like welts. It can be due to multiple causes. A treatment plan is necessary to keep things under control.

Eyelid dermatitis Eyelids are a delicate area and a common area for rashes to occur. Sometimes allergy or patch testing is useful in management and identifying triggers.

Metal sensitivity Many people who need orthopedic implants may have metal allergies. The allergy is usually a skin rash. Nickel is the most common metal allergy. Patch testing may be requested by your orthopedic surgeon.

Chronic body rashes an allergist can be useful for managing this condition.

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