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Allergy and asthma sufferers have many questions about their condition. Off course no two patients are exactly the same, and frequently the disease process as well as the environment are constantly changing. Below are some of the common presenting complaints or questions that we encounter at our practice.
- Why are the medications that worked for years no longer effective at controlling my allergy symptoms?
Likely causes include:
- The patient's usual allergies, for example to pollens, have become more severe over the years.
- Development of a new allergy, such as to a pet.
- Complications from chronic allergies, such as sinus obstruction or polyps.
- My asthma symptoms appear to progressively worsen and I have to use my rescue inhaler more frequently to relieve these symptoms
Likely causes include:
- As asthma is a disease of chronic lung inflammation, the patient may need to be placed on maintenance anti-inflammatory controller medication to provide sustained control and to prevent accelerated loss of lung function.
- The inflammation in the lung is triggered by one or more allergies.
- Other co-existing medical conditions such as gastric acid reflux or sinusitis are keeping the asthma uncontrolled.
- I have to clear my throat constantly and have this nagging low-grade nonproductive cough?
Post-nasal drip and cough is a common complaint by patients with allergies and chronic sinusitis.
- Can I keep my pet if I or my child has become allergic to it?
While avoidance is always the best treatment, in most instances this is not possible, as people are emotionally attached to their animals. Medications with or without a program of desensitization (allergy shots) can greatly reduce or even eliminate the allergy symptoms.
- I break-out into hives almost daily. What could I be allergic to?
In the majority of cases, chronic hives, also known as chronic urticaria, are not caused by specific food or environmental allergies. Sometimes medications, such as aspirin, can be the cause. Immune evaluation through blood testing, rather than extensive allergy testing, would be indicated initially in chronic urticaria cases.
- My child had an anaphylactic reaction to cashews. Does she need to be tested for allergy to other nuts?
Yes, testing for other nut allergies is strongly recommended, as cross-reactivity between different members of a particular food group or family frequently exist.
- We seem to be getting sick frequently. And these infections appear to take much longer to clear, even with medication.
Recurrent and chronic infections, especially respiratory, can be a sign of an antibody deficiency. Immune evaluation through blood testing is therefore needed to identify the type and severity of the deficiency.