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.

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.

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.

Are Allergy Shots an Option for You?

Do you suffer with seasonal allergies and over the counter medications have not helped? Allergy shots may be an option when all other treatment methods have failed.

Allergy test

Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, are injections given at regular intervals to allergy sufferers over three to five years to stop or reduce the symptoms associated with an allergy attack. Each shot contains a tiny amount of the allergens that trigger an attack; just enough to spark the immune system, but not enough to cause a reaction. Over time, doctors will increase the amount of allergens as your system builds up a tolerance to them and becomes desensitized to their effects.

Allergy shots should be considered if medications to treat your allergies are ineffective, if allergy medications poorly interact with other medications you are taking, if allergy medications cause bothersome side effects, or if you want to reduce the long-term use of allergy medications.

Allergy shots can be used to treat reactions to:

• Seasonal allergens, such as pollens released by trees, grass, and weeds
• Indoor allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, and mold
• Insect strings from bees, wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets

Unfortunately, allergy shots cannot treat food allergies.

Before you can even consider receiving an allergy shot your doctor must perform a skin test to determine what you are allergic to. During a skin test, a small amount of multiple allergens are scratched into your skin and the area (usually the back) is observed for 15 minutes. Redness or swelling will occur on whatever substances you are allergic to.

Once identified, allergy shots are injected regularly during two different phases of treatment.

• The build-up phase –Typically shots are given one to three times a week over three to six months. During the buildup phase, the allergen dose is gradually increased with each shot.
• The maintenance – This phase generally continues for three to five years or longer with maintenance injections administered approximately once a month.

You will need to remain in the doctor’s office for 30 minutes after each shot, in case you have a reaction, which can include local redness or swelling, sneezing, or nasal congestion. In rare cases, allergy shots can result in low blood pressure or difficulty breathing.

Allergy symptoms won’t stop overnight. They usually improve during the first year of treatment, but the most noticeable improvement often happens during the second year. By the third year, most people are desensitized to the allergens contained in the shots — and no longer have significant allergic reactions to those substances. After a few years of successful treatment, some people don’t have significant allergy problems even after allergy shots are stopped. Other people need ongoing shots to keep symptoms under control.

Speak with your doctor to determine if allergy shots are an option for you. If you do not have a doctor, Jamaica Hospital has an allergy clinic. For more information or to schedule 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.