Springtime is Allergy Season

The calendar tells us that Spring is here. Soon the flowers will start to bloom, trees will start to blossom and lawns will be waking up from the long winter.  We will also be spending  more time outdoors. With the beginning of Spring comes allergy season and all the discomfort some of us experience. It is estimated that 30 percent of Americans suffer from allergies.
With the new technology and equipment that is available at Jamaica Hospital, testing of a small sample of blood serum IgE, can determine if a person is allergic to any of the hundreds of known allergens. This quick testing will help to determine what course of treatment to begin.  Another advantage of this testing is that it can be ordered by any physician, as opposed to traditional testing ordered and performed by an allergist.  A correct diagnosis leads to a more accurate treatment plan.
Historically, allergy testing was performed by specialists in the field of Allergy and Immunology. Often times this involved performing skin tests and then monitoring the results. Now this whole process can be performed by a physician through a simple blood serum test and Jamaica Hospital is now one of the few hospitals in New York City that is offering this new and exciting technology.
Often times, allergy symptoms are similar to other health conditions such as colds and sinus infections. Allergies typically do not cause fever but they can cause itchiness, eye discomfort and a runny nose. It is important to determine the causes of these symptom before treating the symptoms. People tend to purchase over the counter medications over the counter to treat their symptoms, but they may not be treating the correct cause of their discomfort.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital to discuss having  allergies, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Winter Cold or Allergy?

The winter months can be challenging to your health. The drop in temperatures often results in symptoms that could be either a winter cold or allergies.

While many of the symptoms of colds and allergies are similar, the causes of each are very different.

Colds are contagious and they are contracted when a person is exposed to an individual infected with a cold virus.  Our body’s immune system will launch a counter attack against the virus. This response usually brings on the classic symptoms, such as a runny nose or cough.

An allergic reaction is caused by an overactive immune system that mistakes harmless things, such as mold or dust mites and attacks them. To combat what it thinks are germs, your body releases chemicals called histamines as a defense. The release of these histamines can cause a swelling of the nasal passages and result in coughing and sneezing. While many of the symptoms are similar, the easiest way to determine if you have a cold or are suffering from allergies is the duration of your condition. While most colds last from three to 14 days, allergies can last for months as long as the person is in contact with the allergen. Other differences are:

  • An allergic reaction will begin immediately after exposure to an allergen while cold symptoms usually take approximately three days to appear after exposure
  • A cold virus can sometimes cause fever and body aches while allergies never do
  • An allergic reaction can often result in itchy, watery eyes, which a cold rarely produces this type of reaction
  • Allergies are not contagious.

Once a determination between cold or allergy is made, the appropriate treatment can be applied.

There is no cure for a cold, but there are medications that can help alleviate the symptoms. Cough syrups, pain relievers, decongestant sprays, or multi-symptom cold relief medicines can all be used to help, but should only be taken after consulting your doctor, especially if you are taking other medications or if you have other underlying health conditions. Drinking plenty of liquids also speeds up the recovery process.

To treat allergies, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter antihistamine to block the reaction to the allergens. There are many forms of antihistamines and some may cause drowsiness so be sure to look for the non-drowsy formula or only take them at night. Decongestants may also be suggested to relieve nasal congestion and avoid an infection.

If you are not sure if you have a cold or allergies, please speak with your doctor. If you do not have a doctor, Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center can help. To make an appointment, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Fall Allergies

Ever ask yourself, “Why are my allergies kicking up, it’s not spring or summer?”  The answer may be that if you are a warmer weather allergy sufferer, you will most likely be sensitive to allergens in the fall too.

While the fall season signals the beginning of cooler temperatures, it can be especially difficult for those who are sensitive to mold and ragweed pollen. If you are one of these people, symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, congestion and headaches can reoccur leaving you feeling miserable.

There are several things you can do to find relief. If symptoms are mild, try the following suggestions which may provide temporary relief:

  • Closing windows and doors at night or whenever ragweed counts are high
  • Trying over the counter remedies such as decongestants or antihistamines
  • Rinsing your eyes with a saline solution
  • Trying nasal irrigation
  • Taking steamy showers
  • Wearing a mask while doing yard work
  • Washing clothes and linens frequently
  • Using air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters
  • Keeping indoor air dry by using a dehumidifier
  • Thoroughly washing your face and hair when you get home

If your symptoms are continuous and affect your ability to carry out routine activities, you should speak with an allergist.  Your allergist will be able to help you identify what triggers your seasonal allergies and provide the best course of treatment to offer relief or stop symptoms.

The Division of Allergy and Immunology at Jamaica Hospital focuses on the diagnosis and long-term treatment of allergic and immunologic conditions. To schedule an appointment with an allergist, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

A New Way of Testing for Allergies

It is estimated that 30 percent of Americans suffer from allergies. Historically, allergy testing was performed by specialists in the field of Allergy and Immunology. Often times this involved performing skin tests and then monitoring the results. Now this whole process can be performed by a physician through a simple blood serum test and Jamaica Hospital is now one of the few hospitals in New York that is offering this new and exciting technology.
Often times, allergy symptoms are similar to other health conditions such as colds and sinus infections. Allergies typically do not cause fever but they can cause itchiness, eye discomfort and a runny nose. It is important to determine what the cause of these symptoms is before treating the symptoms. People tend to purchase medications over the counter to treat their symptoms, but they may not be treating the correct cause of their discomfort.
With the new technology and equipment that is available at Jamaica Hospital, testing of a small sample of blood serum IgE, can determine if a person is allergic to any of the hundreds of known allergens. This quick testing will help to determine wat course of treatment should be started on. Another advantage of this testing is that it can be ordered by any physician. A correct diagnosis leads to a more accurate treatment plan.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital to discuss having  allergies, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What’s Bugging You?

Summer usually means picnics and family reunions, but it also means a reunion with insects that can wreak havoc on outdoor activities. Follow these tips to minimize the potential for bug bites and bee stings.

When outdoors – especially in wooded areas – wear long sleeves, pants, and socks to help protect your skin from insect bites. Be aware that insects may be drawn to scented soaps and perfumes. Also, cover food and drain or dump standing water, which attracts most insects.

Mosquito bites can be more than just annoying and itchy, they can also make you really sick. Using insect repellent is the best way to protect yourself and your family, especially when traveling overseas. Repellent is the best way to prevent diseases like Zika that are primarily spread by mosquitoes.

Treating Bites and Bee Stings

If a sting occurs, remove the stinger as soon as possible by scraping the area with your fingernail or something with a flat surface, such as a credit card. For bee and wasp stings and non-poisonous spider bites, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water and apply ice to reduce swelling. Continue to wash two or three times daily until the skin has healed.

Severe Reactions

If you are stung in the mouth, seek medical attention immediately. Severe swelling occurs quickly in oral mucous membranes and can block airways, making breathing difficult or impossible.

If you have a severe reaction to a bug bite, go to the nearest hospital Emergency Room or call 911. Otherwise Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center is available to help, to schedule an appointment, please call 718-206-7001.

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All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What Is OAS?

Peaches, melons, corn, cherries and cucumbers are hands down some of the seasonal fruits and vegetables that we look forward to eating during summer. While these summertime favorites are enjoyable for most, others may experience itchiness of the mouth or other discomforts after consuming them. This reaction may be due to a condition known as oral allergy syndrome (OAS).

According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, OAS is defined as “a form of contact allergy reaction that occurs upon contact of the mouth and throat with raw fruits or vegetables.”   This happens because your body is unable to tell the difference between proteins in these foods and pollen. “The immune system recognizes the pollen and similar proteins in the food and directs an allergic response to it,” states the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.  Therefore if a person is allergic to pollen there is a chance they can develop OAS.

Most cases of OAS are attributed to an allergy to birch pollen. Those who are allergic to birch pollen may experience symptoms when eating fruits or vegetables such as cherries, zucchini, peaches and plums.  Allergies to other types of pollen from grass or ragweed may trigger a reaction when consuming produce such as melons, cucumbers or bananas.

Symptoms of OAS are typically mild and last for only a few minutes; they may include:

  • Itching
  • Tingling
  • Redness
  • Mild swelling of the lips or tongue
  • Irritation of the throat and gums

In most cases these symptoms do not need treatment as they resolve in minutes.  Avoidance of trigger foods is highly recommended; however, if you must have a fruit or vegetable, consider peeling or cooking it to potentially lessen the reaction.  These recommendations may not work for everyone because each person’s tolerance is different.

OAS is diagnosed by an allergy specialist who will conduct an evaluation.  The specialist may recommend skin testing to pollens or other allergens that may be causing your symptoms.  It is also possible that your allergy specialist will ask you to eat certain foods while observing your reaction; this is called a food challenge.

It is important to keep in mind that OAS is a cross reaction to pollen rather than an allergic reaction to the actual fruit itself. The symptoms of a true food allergy can be more severe and can lead to anaphylaxis. The following symptoms should not be ignored and receive medical attention immediately:

  • Vomiting or stomach cramps
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hives
  • Shock
  • Tightness of the throat or trouble swallowing
  • Dizziness

The Division of Allergy and Immunology at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center focuses on the diagnosis and long-term treatment of allergic and immunologic conditions. To speak with an Allergy Specialist at Jamaica Hospital about OAS or food allergies, please call 718-206-6742

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Dark Circles Under the Eyes

young woman applied concealer on her eye circles

Having dark circles under your eyes is not uncommon but they can be frustrating for those who have them.  There are many ways adults and children can develop dark circles under their eyes.

Some of the more common factors that contribute to dark circles are lack of sleep or too much sleep, an iron deficiency, stress, allergies or nasal congestion.

Dark circles under the eyes caused by the more common factors can often be resolved by using over the counter remedies.

If you are getting adequate sleep, have a healthy diet, take vitamin supplements and dark circles still persist, you may have a condition called hyperpigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation is caused by an excessive amount of melanin in your system causing dark patches to develop on the skin.  These patches often form under the eyes.

Some additional causes of hyperpigmentation are:

  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Scarring
  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Acne
  • Burns
  • Skin pigmentation abnormalities (Thin skin under the eye showing veins)

Since hyperpigmentation does not fade on its own and in some cases can be permanent, you may want to seek the advice of a dermatologist.

To schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, call 718-206-6742.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The History of Allergies

Young girl in autumn park blowing nose. Standing in park in warm clothing.Though allergic reactions have been documented in ancient Greek and Roman history, the modern era of the study of allergies really began in the 1800’s when hay fever was described by Dr. John Bostock in 1819. This continues to be one of the most common allergic reactions, affecting approximately 15 million people in the United States.

In 1869 the first skin test for allergies was described when a scientist placed pollen into a small cut in the skin and watched for a reaction.

The concept of immunotherapy, which is building up the immune system through the administration of injections to help people cope with their allergies, was introduced in 1914.

Antihistamines, medications that would help the body respond better to allergic reactions became more widely used in the late 1930’s.  They helped by lessening the body’s reaction to allergens.

In 1948 corticosteroids were first used to treat asthma and allergic reactions. They worked on reducing the inflammation that would be caused by the allergens.

The discovery of mast cells in 1953 helped to identify what caused allergies to set off the immune response of the body. In 1963 IgE antibodies were discovered and this further helped to identify what set into motion the chain reaction within the body leading to the release of histamine and allergic reactions.

Professor Samuelson won the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in the early 1980’s for his work with leukotrines which cause asthma allergy and inflammatory responses to foreign substances.

In present day, there are several methods used to test for allergies and various treatment options are available to minimize a person’s reactions to allergens. These developments have been made possible due to research and discoveries over the years.

If you would like to be tested for allergies or discuss the best course of treatment, please call Jamaica Hospital at 718-206-6742

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Sinusitis

A sinus infection develops as the result of fluid filling the spaces in the head that surround the cavities of the nose and the eyes. These sinuses are normally filled with air but when they fill with fluid they can become blocked and  there is the possibility that bacteria can grow there and become infected. An infection in the sinuses is called sinusitis. A sinus infection can be caused by a cold, allergies, hay fever, a deviated septum and nasal polyps.
Sinus infection symptoms include:
• Pressure or pain around the face and eyes
• Headache
• Blockage in your nose
• Congestion
• Post nasal drip
• Fever or cough
• Thick yellow foul smelling discharge from your nose
• Reduced sense of smell
• Fatigue
• Ear pain
Relief for a sinus infection can come from antibiotics, steam, hot showers, decongestants, and antihistamines.
If you experience any of the symptoms of a sinus infection you should be seen by your physician who will recommend a course of treatment. If you would like to see a physician at Jamaica Hospital please call 718-206-7001.

Sinusitis

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Seasonal Allergies Tips and Treatments

517019433-virus-sneeze-300x200While spring signals the beginning of beautiful weather and warmer days for many; it also marks the beginning of allergy symptoms for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. If you are one of these people, symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, congestion and headaches can leave you feeling miserable.

Dr. Lisa Roth, allergist and immunologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center advises, “There are several things you can do to find relief. If symptoms are mild, try the following suggestions which may provide temporary relief:

  • Closing windows and doors at night or whenever pollen counts are high
  • Trying over the counter remedies such as decongestants or antihistamines
  • Rinsing your eyes with a saline solution
  • Trying nasal irrigation
  • Taking steamy showers
  • Wearing a mask while doing yard work
  • Washing clothes and linens frequently
  • Using air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters
  • Keeping indoor air dry by using a dehumidifier
  • Thoroughly washing your face and hair when you get home

If your symptoms are continuous and affect your ability to carry out routine activities- you should speak with an allergist.  Your allergist will be able to help you identify what triggers your seasonal allergies and provide the best course of treatment to offer relief or stop symptoms.

Treatment options may include prescription medication to control symptoms or immunotherapy.  “Allergy immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, is a form of long-term treatment for allergic disorders that decreases symptoms for many people by modulating the immune system in a beneficial way. Allergy shots decrease sensitivity to allergens providing lasting relief of allergy symptoms,” explains Dr. Roth. Allergy shots are highly effective and can help alleviate many symptoms.

The Division of Allergy and Immunology at Jamaica Hospital focuses on the diagnosis and long-term treatment of allergic and immunologic conditions. To schedule an appointment with an allergist such as Dr. Lisa Roth, please call 718-206-6742.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.