Don’t Let Allergies Control Your Life

Allergies are a very common condition in Texas and the rest of the United States. For a large percentage of people who have allergies, this condition is much more of an inconvenience than it is a serious cause for concern. That's why it can be difficult for some people to understand just how significant certain cases of allergies can be. If you are someone who does struggle with severe allergies, you know from personal experience just how much of a burden this condition can put on your daily life.


What is the Definition of Severe Allergies?


Severe allergies can be caused by many different substances. That's why the definition of this condition doesn't focus on specific allergens. Instead, the general definition for severe allergies is when someone has a condition with allergic symptoms which are serious enough to interrupt that person's life. For example, if someone has allergic symptoms that require them to take days off of work, that individual would be diagnosed with severe allergies. Another common example is people who are so allergic to pollen that they can't go outside on days when the count is high.


Are Severe Allergies Limited to One Type of Allergen?


Pollen, mold, dust mites and animal dander are the allergens that most commonly cause people to have severe allergic reactions. Although it is possible to only be highly allergic to one of those allergens, it's actually more common for people to have multiple allergies that fall into the severe category. If you've experienced severe allergic reactions but aren't sure what triggered them,allergy testing is the best way to find out.


Once you know exactly what you’re allergic to, you will have an easier time taking preventive measures to minimize the likelihood of experiencing any significant reactions. While there’s no way to cure allergies, being aware of what triggers your worst symptoms means that you won’t have to live with uncertainty.


Instead, you’ll know when you need to be aware of your surroundings. For example, if you discover that you’re allergic to cat dander, you’ll want to avoid going inside of homes where you know one or more cats live.


Tips for Eliminating Allergens in Your Own Home


In addition to being aware of other environments where you may encounter allergens, you can also take steps to eliminate as many relevant allergens as possible from your own home. This is especially important during winter or any other period when you may spend a significant amount of time indoors.


For dust mites, sticking to a consistent weekly schedule of washing bedding in hot water will drastically cut down on them. Adding a dehumidifier to your home is also a worthwhile investment. Keeping windows shut will minimize the amount of pollen that’s able to come inside throughout the year, while mold is best managed by being diligent with bathroom cleaning.


By learning as much as possible about your allergies and then taking preventative action against your triggers, you can maximize your quality of life and minimize the role that allergies play in it.

Is There a Link Between Allergies and Asthma?

Allergies and asthma are both conditions that can make people feel less than ideal. However, it's not the only thing they have in common. Even though it can be challenging enough to deal with just one of these conditions, the reality is that they often occur together. In fact, some substances that cause allergic reactions can also trigger specific asthma symptoms. The most common symptoms that are triggered in this type of scenario are chest tightness, wheezing and shortness of breath.


When a substance like pet dander, dust mites or pollen triggers asthma symptoms, the condition is actually referred to as allergic asthma. While those substances are the most common triggers of allergic asthma, there are cases where food or skin allergies result in some degree of an asthma attack.


Understanding How An Allergic Reaction Can Result in Asthma


Even though the link between these two conditions may seem strange at first, it makes more sense once you have a little more information about exactly what happens when an allergic response is triggered within the body. This type of response occurs when proteins in the immune system attack a substance like tree pollen. Although this specific substance is harmless, the immune system mistakenly identifies it as something that presents a threat.


When antibodies bind to an allergen, the immune system releases chemicals. Those chemicals are what cause the types of symptoms that so many people experience as a result of their allergies. Skin reactions, itchy eyes, runny nose and nasal congestion are all symptoms that can be triggered during this process. The link between allergies and asthma comes from the fact that for some people, the same process that causes reactions to be triggered occurs in an individual's airways and lungs.


Different Treatments for Allergies and Asthma


Another question that often comes up in regards to this topic is if the treatments for both conditions are different or the same. The answer to that question actually depends on all the specific details of an individual situation. There are numerous treatments that are designed to help with allergies, as well as many others that specifically target asthma. While there isn't a huge amount of overlap between these two types of treatment, there are a few that may be able to help with both conditions.


A Leukotriene modifier, allergy shots and Anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) therapy are three types of treatments that have the potential to help with both allergies and asthma. As with any type of medical treatment, the only way to know if a certain option is right for you is to be fully evaluated by an experienced medical professional. It’s also common for people with either severe allergic or asthma reactions to receive additional medication for managing their symptoms.


If you have any additional questions about allergies, asthma or both of these conditions, the best way to get answers and find out which treatment options are best for your specific situation is to schedule an appointment with one of ourFamily Practitioners.


Winter Allergies - Are You At Risk?

Many people assume that when the cold temperatures of winter arrive, they will be able to enjoy a break from their allergies. While that may be true for people who suffer from pollen allergies, it's not the case for all allergy sufferers. For individuals who are allergic to things like dust mites or mold, winter can actually cause their symptoms to get worse.


The reason that certain types of allergies can actually get worse during the winter is due to people spending more time indoors. When it's cold outside and you're inside your home, your furnace is going to run on a continuous basis to keep you warm. As hot air circulates to warm your home, it can include mold spores and dust. Breathing air with those substances in it can be a direct trigger for your allergies.


How to Tell If You're Suffering from Winter Allergies


Dust mites and mold are the two most common causes of winter allergies. Dust mites are often found in bedding and mattresses. When these microscopic creatures die, they leave their remains and droppings behind. Then if those things get into the air, they can start triggering symptoms of allergies.


Mold thrives in areas that are humid and damp. That's why mold is commonly found in bathrooms and basements. However, since mold spores can become airborne and spread anywhere in a home, other rooms can be allergy triggers as well. On the subject of what causes winter allergies, it's also worth mentioning pets. Even though pets aren’t as prevalent of a cause as dust mites or mold, a protein found in pet saliva, urine and dander can lead to allergy symptoms.


On the subject of winter allergy symptoms, one of the most common questions people have is whether they're suffering from winter allergies, a cold or the flu. While these conditions do share many of the same symptoms, there are a few key differences. It’s very uncommon for cold symptoms to last for more than ten days. And unlike allergies, flu symptoms often include pains, aches and fever.


Symptoms that do often indicate winter allergies are watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, dark circles under the eyes and coughing.


Identifying and Treating Winter Allergies


If you have reason to believe that you're allergic to things like dust mites or mold, our allergy testing services can help provide you with conclusive answers. Once you know for sure if you do have winter allergies and exactly what you’re allergic to, you can take steps to minimize and manage your symptoms.


Antihistamines and decongestants are often used to help with symptoms of winter allergies. Allergy shots may be used in more severe cases. Additionally, there are quite a few environmental changes you can make to reduce allergy flare-ups during the winter. Using a dehumidifier, HEPA filter and washing bedding weekly in hot water are all steps you can take to significantly cut down the amount of dust mites and mold spores that are present in your home.


Now that Fall has arrived you may be wondering what is making your allergies so bad?

For most of us it is the Ragweed. Ragweed starts releasing pollen as early as August when the days are hot and the nights are just barely cool and it can last for months. One single Ragweed plant can release one billion pollen grains per season and it can travel around 350 miles in the wind.


Ragweed can be found from inside the cracks in your sidewalk to in the gutter on the roof of some homes and buildings. In cold areas the first frost occurs about the time Ragweed pollination is ending. In regions down South, ragweed can pollinate throughout the winter.


Some of the other weeds that are probably adding to your misery are lambs quarters, pigweed, curly dock, goldenrod, sagebrush and sheep sorrel.


Another allergen that is probably messing with you is Mold. Mold can be found in moist grass, on wet leaves, in soil, compost piles and can easily send spores into the wind. They are common airborne allergens because they are light and very tiny. So tiny and light you are breathing them in and dont know it.


How do I protect myself? Well, we know that windy days are particularly bad when it comes to fall allergies. Wind pollinated plants like Ragweed have special flowers that produce large amounts of pollen that is easily released into the wind. Large amounts of this pollen are produced in the early morning hours and people that suffer from fall allergies have a hard time in the morning.


Here are some things that you can do to help ease the suffering.


  • Avoid yard work if you are a bad sufferer

  • If you must work in the yard wear a face mask

  • Use a clothes dryer instead of air drying laundry

  • Shower frequently removing pollen from your skin



If you do all of these things but still have a very hard time with your allergies then you should consider seeing a doctor to get tested to see what exactly is causing your misery. There are treatments that may be just perfect for you.

Allergy Testing: When Should You Get Tested?

It has been estimated that about 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. Some experience severe allergic reactions to numerous triggers, but others may only experience mild symptoms from time to time. If you suspect you might be suffering from allergies, you may want to consider getting tested, but before you do get an allergy test, there are some important things you need to know so you don’t waste your time or money. 

First things first, if you aren’t experiencing symptoms or haven’t had a medical evaluation that indicates you may have an allergy, you probably shouldn’t get tested just yet. Why not?

The truth is that a random allergy test usually isn’t all that helpful. These days, you’ll see grocery stores and drugstores offering free allergy screenings. You can even buy your own take-home allergy test so you can give yourself a screening at home if you want. Sounds great, right? The problem is that random allergy testing often complicates things. 

A random test could detect certain allergic responses in you that you don’t actually experience in real life. So, in other words, a random allergy test may tell you you’re allergic to something that you don’t actually experience any real allergic reaction to in daily life, so the information isn’t all that helpful. This could lead you to make changes in your lifestyle that aren’t even necessary or helpful, stressing you out and just making matters worse.

Another issue is that the wrong kind of allergy test can cost you money. If you don’t have certain symptoms or haven’t had a medical evaluation that indicates an allergy, spending money unnecessarily on an allergy test could be wasteful.

Who Really Needs Allergy Testing?

Allergy tests do serve a very important purpose, and there are a lot of people who can benefit from them. If you’ve been experiencing allergy symptoms (e.g. sneezing, sniffling, watery eyes, etc.) and OTC drugs haven’t helped, you should see a doctor to schedule an allergy test. A medical professional will be able to better assess your symptoms and give you the right kind of allergy test to get helpful results that could play a key role in diagnosing your allergy and treating it with the greatest effectiveness.

Kaner Medical Group’s Allergy Center offers allergy screenings and therapy to help you beat your allergies once and for all. Click here for more information.

5 Allergy Myths Debunked


Are you one of the estimated 50 million Americans who suffers from allergies? For many, 2014 has been a particularly harsh allergy season. Perhaps all of the sniffling, sneezing, itchiness, and watery eyes have driven you to look online to learn more about your condition. Unfortunately, you’ve probably found there’s a lot of conflicting information about allergies out there. Today, we’re here to expose that misinformation by debunking 5 of the most popular allergy myths.

Myth #1: Locally produced honey is an all-natural way to fight allergies

Fact: While a tablespoon of local honey might satisfy your sweet tooth, don’t expect it to do anything to curb your allergies. The fact is there is no evidence that shows local honey alleviates allergies. On the contrary, a 2013 study in the Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America found that consuming honey did not provide relief for allergy symptoms.

Myth #2: It’s all in your head

Fact: Is there anything more frustrating than someone telling you that you’re imagining your allergy problem? Allergies are absolutely real. They are typically caused by genetics and our environment. However, the mind does play some role in triggering allergic reactions as stress can lead to symptoms acting out.

Myth #3: You should move to cure your allergies

Fact: You can’t outrun allergies. Studies have shown that where you live isn’t a significant contributor to whether or not you’ll suffer from allergies. While a new environment might temporarily reduce your allergy symptoms, they’ll likely come back as you react to new allergens in your new environment.

Myth #4: Allergies aren’t serious

Fact: Allergies are nothing to sneeze at (no pun intended). Not only can an allergy problem reduce your quality of life by making you miserable and even disrupting your sleep, but in severe cases, it can threaten your life. If you suspect you may have an allergy problem, seek medical attention so you can get testing and treatment if needed.

Myth #5: You’ll outgrow your allergies

Fact: While allergy symptoms do tend to decline with age, they don’t go away altogether. In fact, one recent study found that about 15% of people over the age of 60 suffer from hay fever. So, while your response to allergies might not be as strong as you age, it won’t completely disappear. 

Suffering from allergies? At Kaner Medical Group, we have an Allergy Center and team of allergists who can help you beat your allergy problems once and for all.

Visit our allergy testing page for more info.


The Most Common Allergies People Suffer From


Get this: about 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. That’s about 1 out of every 6 people who

deals with wheezing, itching, sniffing sneezing, water eyes, and other annoying symptoms of allergies.

While the list of allergens is far too long to cover, there are some very common allergens that give many of these sufferers those nasty side effects just mentioned.

 According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, some of the most common allergens include:

 • Pollen—When pollen season kicks off (as early as January in the south and April in the north), it’s an allergy sufferer’s worst nightmare. Pollen exposure can cause sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, runny nose, and a host of other awful symptoms.

• Dust mites—A dust mite is a very tiny organism that resides in dust around your house. While the symptoms of a dust mite allergy are pretty similar to those of pollen allergies, the major difference is that dust mites are prevalent all year long. They can get all over your bedding, in your mattresses, pillows, and box springs, as well as in the carpet, drapes, and even stuffed animals. Regular cleaning and washing of bedding can help control dust mite populations.

• Weeds—Come summer and fall, weed allergies are at their worst. Ragweed is the most common weed allergen, but pigweed sagebrush, and countless other weeds can cause sniffling, sneezing, and other allergy symptoms.

• Mold—It has been estimated that up to 70 percent of homes have mold hiding behind the walls. Breathing in mold can prove hazardous to your health and lead to an array of respiratory issues and allergy symptoms. Some of the symptoms you may experience with a mold allergy include congestion, coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes.

 Think You May Have An Allergy Problem?

 If you suspect you might be suffering from allergies, it’s important to seek medical counsel as soon as possible. Allergy testing can help pinpoint your allergies, and doctors can work with you to come up with a treatment plan for helping you overcome allergens.

 At Kaner Medical Group, we have an Allergy Center and team of allergists who can help you beat your allergy problems once and for all. Visit our allergy testing page for more info.