Sunday, April 16, 2017

How Do Allergies Cause Headaches?

More sunshine, warmer weather and spring pollen bring about longer happier days and the anticipation of springtime fun.  But for the unlucky, pollens can often trigger many other unwanted feelings of poorly controlled allergy symptoms.

During the spring, many of my patients complain to me about headaches.  They feel pain and pressure across their foreheads, around their eyes, and in their cheeks.  Symptoms vary with the weather and are often worse after it rains or a drop in temperature.  For the unlucky, these symptoms may trigger a migraine headache and cause them to miss work or a social engagement.

How Do you Know if Allergies are Causing your Headaches? 

  • Do you feel pressure over your cheeks and forehead?  
  • This may correlate to your sinuses, hollow air spaces in your face.  Sinuses function to increase the area for exchange of air and mucous.  Sinuses produce mucous that can drain into your nose and into the back of your nose.
  • When this area becomes inflamed from allergies, it blocks the normal openings  preventing mucous to back up and cause pain.  
  • Is your nose stuffy?
  • Do you have an associated mucous dripping down the back of your throat?
  • Does only one of your sinuses hurt?
  • Do you have pain radiating to your teeth?
  • Are your headaches seasonal?  

What are Signs of Sinus Headaches Caused by Allergies?
  • Chronic pain and tenderness over the cheeks, forehead, and area between or behind the eyes.
  • Stuffy nose, sneezing, ear pain or pressure, ear fullness, or facial swelling
  • Loss of smell
  • Post nasal drip
  • Triggers of seasonal variation, for example, a headache you get every spring, fall, or with exposure to cleaning.
  • Have other diseases triggered by allergies like asthma, eczema, or allergies in your nose or eyes?  Allergic diseases tend to run together.  If you're an "allergic" person, then allergies in your sinuses might be triggering your allergies.
  • Suspect you're an allergic person, but aren't sure?  Take this easy quiz How Do I Know If I Have Allergies?
What Can you do If You Suspect Allergies are Causing Your Headaches?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then uncontrolled nasal allergies may be one of the triggers of your headaches.

Unsure, get tested to see if and what your are sensitive too.  Knowing your sensitivities can help you take medication preventively  before headaches are triggered.  
Airborn allergens such as pollen are an important trigger of allergic sinusitis.   These are often misdiagnosed as sinus infections, and the treatment can be drastically different.

How Can You Treat Sinus Headaches?
  • If you suffer from headaches, see your primary doctor for a complete evaluation.
  • Suspect you have headaches triggered by uncontrolled allergies?  See an allergist to get tested to identify potential allergic triggers.
  • An allergist will be able to help formulate a specific plan that will include:
    • avoidance measures, 
    • direct medications and 
    • possibly offer allergy shots (a way to desensitize you to your allergic triggers)
  • Want more information on headaches?  Learn more at Allergies and Headaches or The National Headache Foundation.
Have more specific questions for me?  Schedule an appointment here

Dr. Jennifer Collins  is double board certified in allergy and immunology and internal medicine.  She's provided medical care for over a decade in New York City.  Gramercy Allergy is New York City's Premier Allergy practice. Learn more about us at gramercyallergy.com

Or at @gramercyallergy.com

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Valentine's Day and Allergies: How to bring love back into your life!

Recently, I was out with a friend and she asked "Why did I go into allergy?"  I quickly answered,
"Because it brings love back into my patients lives."  She was a bit stunned by my answer and I had to explain.

When I ask my patients what brought them in, they often tell me they are tired of their allergies getting in the way of things they love doing.  They are motivated to find an answer and a solution to the problem so they can get back to doing the things they love.

Typically this time of the year, I write a blog post on how to avoid allergic triggers for your loved one with allergies.  Make sure those chocolates don't have nuts or use caution with products with fragrance I'll advise.

But this year, I wanted to think about Valentine's Day a bit differently.  Some don't have a lover to share the day.  Does that mean you have to deprive yourself of love of life and yourself?  I hope not!   I want to challenge you to think about the things you love but are avoiding because of your allergies.  This Valentine's day I'm hoping to empower you to bring love that you might be avoiding back into you life.

Few recognize the impact of uncontrolled allergies.  Poorly controlled allergies and asthma can prevent you from doing the things you love because of uncontrolled symptoms.  They cause social embarrassment.  How difficult is it to date when you have food allergies?   Poorly controlled asthma can make it difficult to run that race you've always dreamed of completing.   Do you limit your dating options to those without animals because your scared it will trigger a sneezing fit?  Do you dream of having a dog, but don't adopt one because it triggers your asthma?  Are you tired of not being able to wear makeup because it causes you an allergic reaction?  Are you dreading spring because of the migraines you know the pollen will trigger?   Are you embarrassed by your uncontrolled eczema?

Are you avoiding things that bring you love and happiness because of your allergies?  Use Valentines Day as a spring board to take back control of your life.  If any of this sounds familiar  schedule an appointment with Gramercy Allergy.

As an allergist and immunologist, some of my proudest achievements include helping patients with animal allergies go to vet school or get married to that person with a cat.  

Don't let your uncontrolled allergies prevent you from doing the things that bring you happiness and love.  

How can you take control?

1) Get tested by an allergist.  Knowing what you are allergic to is the first step in being aggressive with your allergies.
2) Work with your allergist to set up a plan of reasonable avoidance measures and use of the correct medications.  There are so many over the counter medications for allergies available.  Speak with a doctor before starting medications to make sure you are taking the correct ones.
3) Think about getting allergy shots.  This is a way of changing your immune system to create tolerance to the natural things that make you sick.  Allergy shots, or immunotherapy, has been around since the early 1900's and is a proven treatment for allergic disease.  It's one of the few disease modifying treatments available- AND IT WORKS! Patients often tell me that completing allergy shots is life changing.  

Beyond all, don't let your allergies get in the way of you living and loving your life to it's fullest.  Use Valentines Day to bring love into your life!

 Gramercy Allergy and Asthma is here to help.  Need specific advice and want to schedule an appointment? Dr. Jennifer Collins is affiliated with NYU Langone and Mount Sinai Hospitals.   Gramercy Allergy is New York City's premier allergy office offering full allergy and immunological evaluations.  

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What is Cold Induced Asthma?

Over the past few days, New Yorkers have been enjoying springtime weather, but plunging temperatures this weekend may trigger asthma symptoms.  These past few weeks many patients have been coming in with symptoms of uncontrolled asthma triggered by the terrific changes in temperature New York is experiencing.  Many don't realize that that nagging cough they have when going outside, or mild chest tightness is a sign of cold induced asthma.

Asthma, chronic inflammation of the the airways and lungs, is commonly triggered by cold temperatures.    With over 1.1 million New Yorkers suffering from asthma, I thought it might be a good idea to give you some tips on preventing an asthma attack.  What is cold-induced asthma?

Here are 5 tips for preventing an asthma attack when the temperature drops!
1) Use a scarf.

  • Warming air before it enters your lungs can help prevent an asthma attack.
2) Breath via your nose.

  •  Your nose is specially designed to air before it enters into your lungs.

3) Keep well hydrated.

  •  Drinking plenty of water will keep your lungs hydrated from the inside out.  When your lungs are dehydrated you're more likely to have an asthma attack.

4)  Use your inhaler.

  • Use your albuterol inhaler (rescue inhaler) 15-30 minutes before going outside if your asthma is commonly triggered by cold weather.
5) Keep your inhaler warm.

  • Keeping your inhaler in an inside pocket near your body will keep the medicine warm.  Warming the medicine will prevent for a cold spray of medicine into your lungs.
Symptoms of asthma are cough, chest tightness, shortness of breath and wheezing. If you experience any of these and can't get them under control, contact your doctor or the emergency room.

Want to schedule an appointment ?  We accept most insurances and are conveniently located near Union Square and Madison Square Park.

About Me

Jennifer Collins, MD, brings over a decade of experience practicing medicine, conducting research and teaching to Gramercy Allergy & Asthma. She is a thought leader in the field of allergy, asthma and immunology and has been nominated three years in a row to New York’s List of Rising Stars.  Her focus is centered on problem solving to identify realistic and timely solutions to your needs. Continued dedication to learning through academic national conferences and lectures keeps her abreast of the latest cutting edge treatments.  It’s Dr. Collins’s pleasure to bring all of this knowledge to Gramercy Allergy & Asthma to provide comprehensive care for all of your allergy, asthma and immunological needs.
Core to her approach is taking a detailed history to capture your symptoms, identifying the cause of your problem and providing a fast solution. She is an expert in: allergies of the eyes, nose throat, and skin, asthma, chronic sinusitis, nasal polyps, hives, skin rashes, eczema, eosinophilia, drug allergy, aspirin allergy and desensitization, and immunological problems.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

How Does the Infant #Microbiome Affect Allergy?

It seems everyone is trying to repopulate their intestines with "good bacteria" and to eat natural sources of probiotics like kambucha and kimchi.  Catch phrases with the term "microbiome" are in the news and magazines.  More and more of my patients are asking me about the influence of microbiomes (bacteria that naturally populate our body and live with us without harming us) on their health and more importantly on their allergies.  More of the conferences I attend have entire lectures focused on the microbiome.  I recently attended Advances in Autoimmunity at NYU Langone this was an exciting half day lecture series  with speakers from across the country entirely dedicated to talking about the role of bacteria and our immune system.  

Recent studies by researchers at the Henry Ford Health system point to variations in bacteria levels and varieties of bacteria as one of the factors influencing why some children get asthma and allergies and other's don't. They recently reported their findings in Nature Medicine in September.  They showed that variations and low leves of just four kinds of bacteria—Bifidobacteria, Lactobacillus, Faecalibacterium, and Akkermansi led to increased risk of asthma and allergies in children followed by the study to age 4. 

Studying gut bacteria since 2003, researchers at Henry Ford Health System, have been attempting to figure out why some children get asthma and allergies while others don't.   "We have been working for over a decade, trying to figure out why some children get asthma and allergies and some don't," said co-senior author Christine Cole Johnson, PhD, MPH.   There findings are provide more evidence of the role of the microbiome and the development of allergies.  

But were does the microbiome initially come from and does it really affect the development of allergies and other diseases?  

Birth and the MicrobiomeThe microbiome is initially formed at birth and infants are immediately populated with bacteria within a few minutes.  Infants are naturally populated with bacteria at birth from bacteria from their mother through a vaginal delivery.  But what if you have a C-section?  In a small study of 18 babies in Puerto Rico conducted by Maria Dmoniguez - Bello she showed that swabbing  babies delivered via c-section with the mom's vaginal fluids can offer the same benefit as being delivered vaginally.  The first three years of life are key in influencing bacteria that will be with us for the rest of our lives.

Breast Feeding and the Microbiome.  Breast feeding is another important way of transfering mom's bacteria to a new born.  Breast milk contains bacteria Weisella, Leuconostoc, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Lactococcus; these bacteria are important in populating the infant gut. But it's not just the type of bacteria that breast milk supports, but the variety of bacteria. Our immune system loves diversity and this diversity appears to help teach our immune systems to function normally.   Breast milk is highly complex that contains compounds that help nourish these important bacteria. 

 Dog exposure and Infants: Gramercy Allergy loves dogs and here's another reason why- they are important for populating our immune system.  Living with a dog is another important way that infants are populated with bacteria.  These bacteria help "teach" infants what are safe and dangerous signals.  Multiple studies show us that the variations, types and numbers of bacteria living in infant guts affect the development of disease and allergies.  Other ways to influence the microbiome are living with a dog,  "Humans have co-evolved with microbes and as a result we rely on their genomes for certain critical functions. We believe this is particularly true during the earliest stages of human development," Lynch, one of the authors working with Dr. Cole at the  Henry Ford Health System, said. "But lifestyles have changed dramatically over the past several decades: We've significantly reduced our exposure to these environmental microbes our bodies rely on. Having a dog tracks the external environment into the home may be just one way to improve the breadth of microbes babies are exposed to in very early life."  says Lynch. 

Pacifiers and the Microbiome:  Other ways an infant's gut is populated is by  sucking on a pacifier to clean it rather than washing it off (Hesselmar, et al. "Pacifier Cleaning Practices and Risk of Allergy Development. Pediatrics, 2013), and avoidance of antibiotics in the first 2 years of life.  Researchers think that sucking the pacifier rather then cleaning it may transfer of harmless bacteria from their mouth to the child.  These Swedish children had less eczema.  

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Ways to combat Fall Allergies

The allure of fall can be mesmerizing.  Cooler temperatures, breathtaking landscapes, and the warmth of cozy sweaters bring us out into nature for hiking, pumpkin picking, and Halloween parties.  It seems everywhere you look there is a celebration of the last days of the year before winter takes hold. For many fall is a time of severe allergies and asthma.

Rapidly changing temperatures can trigger asthma attacks.  Mold spores from rapidly decaying leaves and late fall weed pollens trigger itchy watery eyes, and nasal symptoms.  Seasonal baked goods are sources of hidden food allergens for many.

What are some tips for you to help prevent allergy symptoms this Fall in New York City so you can enjoy the season to the fullest?

1) Carry a scarf. Wrapping a scarf around your neck and mouth is an easy way to help prevent an asthma attack.  It also provides protection against airborn allergens such as ragweed, mold spores, and fall weed pollens.  The scarf also helps to warm and humidify dry cold air.

2) Keep your rescue asthma pumps handy.
Fall is a time of rapidly changing temperatures and wind gusts.  Changing temperatures can trigger an asthma attack for many.  Wind gusts can bring up pollen and mold spores bringing about an asthma attack.  Asthma symptoms of cough, chest tightness, SOB and wheezing can can be prevented by using a rescue inhaler before symptoms start.  Make sure you inhaler isn't expired!

3) Know what you're allergic too.  Knowing you triggers is an easy way to prevent an allergy attack.  Many with allergies this time of the year think they are coming down with recurrent colds and sinus infections.  Once they learn that they have allergies and the environment is making them sick, they can take preventative measures to stop allergies in their track.  See your allergist to get updated testing. Not sure if you have allergies?  Take the Allergy Symptom Test.

4) Monitor for Food Allergies
Autumn is the being of a heavy social calendar for most.  Invitations to Halloween parties, Friends-giving, housewarmings and fall weddings fill calendars.  Don't be the guest at your next event that needs to call 911 because they've had an anaphylactic reaction to a hidden food ingredient.  Make sure you inspect Halloween candy before it's eaten for nuts, seeds and dyes, tell your hosts of your food allergies so they can plan ahead and even offer to bring your own food before going out.  Take this opportunity to inspect your epinephrine's expiration date. Review your anaphylaxis plan before heading out for the end of the years social scene.

5) Prevent Asthma Symptoms Before Exercising
Many of my patients are running fall races this season.  They complain of having to stop secondary to asthma symptoms and aren't able to exercise their hardest.  Uncontrolled symptoms of asthma slows them down and they are looking for tips to prevent symptoms.  Here are a few tips to prevent symptoms before they strike.

  • Breathe thru your nose.  Your nose will help warm and humidify cold air.  
  • Run with a mask or scarf
  • Cool down after exercise.
  • Use your rescue inhaler 


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fall Wedding Tips For Allergy Sufferers


Most people think of spring and summer as wedding season, but the fall is now the most popular time to get married.  October  (17%) and September (15%) respectively are the two months with the most weddings according to the Knot's Real Weddings survey of over 18,000 respondents.  Who could blame these autumn brides- the weather is perfect and the gorgeous trees provide the perfect scenery for any ceremony.

Runny noses, hives, itchy watery eyes and coughing have no place at your wedding.  High pollen counts from fall weeds and ragweed can trigger asthma and allergic eyes and noses, increased stress may bring about unnecessary hives, and new make up products may cause you to have a rash.   You want to focus on all the happiness at hand, not being itchy and scratchy! What should you do if you have fall allergies and are getting married in New York?  Here are some tips to help prevent allergy symptoms at your New York fall wedding.

1) Increased stress, new make up products and outdoor venues often trigger itchy red skin and rashes.

  • Pack an over the counter anti itch spray, like benadryl, and a tube of hydrocortisone cream in your make up bag just in case you get bitten by a mosquito or have hive. 
  • Put anti-itch spray in the bathroom for guests to use if it's an outside venue and mosquitoes are still biting. 
  • If you have a history of reactions to makeups, check with your allergist before hand to make sure they won't cause a reaction on your wedding day.  

2) Cough, cough cough....high pollen counts from ragweed and fall weed pollen, mold spores from decaying leaves, and cooler temperatures often trigger asthma.   
  • If you suffer from asthma and are getting married schedule an appointment with your allergist before your big day.  They'll help you put a plan together to prevent symptoms.
  • Don't only look at the weather forcast, but check pollen and mold spores level forecast for your big day.  Sites like www.pollen.com will give you an accurate forecast of any area in the country.  
  • Make sure your inhalers are not expired and you know how to use them.  Fast acting asthma inhalers like albuterol can leave you jittery if you don't have a proper technique.  
  • Use your albuterol inhaler 30 minutes before your ceremony
3) Achoo, Achoo ACHOO.... !  Airborn pollen can trigger your nose to have an allergic reaction.
  • Suffer from allergies in your nose?  Don't forget to take an anti-histamine on the day of your wedding.  Worried that it will make you sleepy?  Try taking 1/2 the dose before your wedding to see if symptoms subside and your not left drowsy. 
  • Pack tissues.  Have a few extras for guests- they are perfect for those who get weepy and sneezy at a wedding! 
4) Are those tears of joy or.... from allergies ? 
  • Many who suffer from allergic eyes are often asked if they are crying!  Let the only tears coming from your eyes be ones of happiness and joy on your wedding day.  
  • Speak with your allergist about the best prescription eye drop for you to use.  Many will stop the symptoms of irritated and itchy eyes for 24 hours.
  • Attending an outdoor wedding this fall? Don't forget your shades!  Sunglasses aren't only for protecting your eyes from the sun, but help keep airborne fall pollen and mold spores away from your eyes.
5) Have food allergies?  Don't forget your epinephrine and benadryl!

  • Wedding food is a common place where people have accidental exposure to foods.  Milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, shellfish, and sesame are often hidden ingredients in the salad or on the buffet line.
  • Make sure you tell your host of your food allergy and mention it to your server before digging in.  
  • Watch for cross contamination.  Want more tips on how to monitor for cross contamination?  Check out FARE's website
  • Above all, if you're worried about a possible allergen in your food, skip the course.  You don't want to have severe reaction and not be able to get to medical attention quickly (or draw attention away from the bride and groom.
Hopefully these tips will help keep you and your guests comfortable during your fall wedding!  Need specific advice on dealing with your allergies and New York wedding?  Please contact us for an appointment.  Gramercy Allergy is New York's premier allergy office and offers expert allergy advice in New York regardless of the problem.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How to Go Back To School With Allergies and Asthma Successfully?

September brings new backpacks, schools, friend and teachers.  It's also a great time  for parents with children with asthma this is a time to revisit your child's asthma action plan.  Changes in the weather from summer to fall also triggers new pollen's to be released.  In NYC, September is ragweed and fall pollen season.  Decaying leaves also trigger mold spores to be high.  These are all potential triggers for asthma and allergy attacks.

How can you go back to school successfully with allergies and asthma?

1) Make an appointment with your allergist.  A board certified allergist will help identify what's triggering symptoms.  Gramercy Allergy and Asthma will help put together an asthma and allergy action plan to keep you child healthy as they start the school year.  Our goal for you- no missed school days this year from uncontrolled asthma and allergies.

2) Get reevaluated yearly.    Allergies change throughout the course of a life.  Food, environmental and chemical sensitivities can come and go.  Food allergies should be evaluated on a regular basis.  make sure your epinephrine and other medications are up to date and you remember how to use them.

3) Talk to the Teacher.  If allergies for your child are triggered by indoor allergens, make sure the teachers are aware.  Food allergies in the classroom can be particularly scary for children.  Talk to them if they are having anxiety about eating with others. Food allergies in the classroom may be the cause of bullying.  Keep an open dialogue with your children regarding any issues that might arise over the the course of the year.  The FARE Teal Pumpkin project is a great way to introduce food allergies to a classroom.

4) Have a plan!  Don't let allergies and asthma prevent your child from participating in gym, after school events and play because of exercise induced symptoms.  Children with asthma should be able to participate in any activity or sport they choose with the right plan and medication.

5) Get the flu vaccine!  The flu can trigger severe asthma.  All children should be vaccinated.

Do you need more help with  treating asthma and allergies this school year?  Schedule an appointment with us.  Gramercy Allergy specializes in treatment of allergies and asthma in New York City..  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How to Beat Summertime Eczema in New York?


Summertime eczema is one of the most common complaints coming into my office this time of the year.  Kids and adults alike are itchy and scratchy all over.  Rapid changes in temperature and humidity that are classic for NYC summers can trigger an eczema flare leaving families feeling helpless, sleepy  and ITCHY.

Classic areas that eczema appears are the areas of elbows and behind knees.

What can you do to help get skin back under control and possibly even prevent an eczema flare this NYC summer?

    • Keeping skin well hydrated will help prevent an eczema flare
    • Stay hydrated with plenty of water (avoid juices and sugary beverages)
    • Bath daily in warm water and avoid strong soaps
    • Make sure skin is covered in a good moisturize when still wet
      • Pat dry leaving a layer of water on the skin that you can trap into the skin with a moisturizer
    • Have a plan to stop scratching.
    • Keep emollients like Vaseline, Crisco, Aquaphor of Vaniply in the refrigerator; the cool temperature applied directly to itchy inflamed skin will stop the itch.  Wrap inflamed areas in wet cool paper towels before applying emollients. 
    • Use topical steroids and oral anti-histamines if needed.
    • Your doctor may advise topical and/or oral antibiotics if skin becomes infected. 
    • Get into an oatmeal-Epsom salt bath
    • See an allergist to help you identify the cause and trigger of the eczema
    • Potential causes may be foods (milk, eggs, and nuts are the most common), lotions, sunscreens and detergents, and skin allergy to dust mite, summertime weeds, and animals.
    • Contact dermatitis (an allergy to chemicals in personal care products) is an often overlooked cause of eczema.  
    • Identifying other triggers can help you prevent future attacks.  

Want to read more about eczema- Check out the National Eczema Foundation 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

How to Beat Summertime Allergies in NYC?

The phrase summertime allergies may make you scratch your head, but summer is a time when many experience unexpected allergies.  They feel they are "in the clear" after making it thru the springtime pollen and ready to put their allergy medications away.  But summertime allergies in New York City are real and can be just as bothersome.

Summer brings on a host of unexpected exposures that cause many to feel itchy and scratchy.  Feeling like you're loosing the battle to summertime allergies in New York City?  Read more to find out what might be the culprit of your symptoms.

Here are the top 5 summertime allergy triggers in New York City:

1) Air pollution- let's face it, New York City is known for many wonderful things, but clean air isn't one of them.  

  • Hot humid days bring poor air quality in to the city.  Ozone, pollution and air particulate matter all contribute to poor air quality.  Sadly, patients with asthma who live in poorer neighborhoods suffer disproportionately from health issues including asthma according to a 2011 report that looked at emergency room visits socioeconomic status and air quality.  
  • Living near a road with lots of truck traffic, not having access to air conditioning, and living in a poorer neighborhood increase the likelihood that you'll be affected by air pollution in New York City.
  • Don't just check the weather report- listen to what's happening with the air quality.   Use caution when exercising outside on days when their are alerts.  Find a cooling station if you don't have access to air conditioning.  

2) Sun and Sunscreen:  

  • A necessity in the dog days of summer.  Almost all products now contain SPF from shampoo to lotion.  It's a necessity to help prevent skin aging and potential skin cancer.  
  • However, the sunscreen you use every day can cause you to have an itchy rash.  For some this is triggered only by exposure to the sun (photodermatitis) or for others it's a chemical in the sunscreen itself (contact dermatitis). 
  • Do you just get a reaction when you're in the sun?  Then you may have photodermatitis.  See your allergist to determine which sunscreens are safe for you to use.  

3) Summer Fruits and Vegetables:

4) Love to Swim in NYC?    Chlorine is next on the list.  

  • There's nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day then jumping into a cool pool.  Chlorine does not trigger an allergic response, the chemical scent/odor can trigger an asthma attack, rash, and irritant reactions in eyes, nose, and lungs that mimic allergic reactions.
  • Need a plan for swimming, but feel the chlorine is triggering your asthma?  See an allergist to determine which medications are best to control your symptoms.
5) Ouch! At the top of the list are Stinging Insects in NYC.

  • Life threatening reactions to the sting of yellow jackets, honey bees, wasps, hornets and fire ants can send you to the hospital.
  • Make sure to use protective clothing when working outside, avoid brightly colored clothing, and use caution when drinking sweet beverages at the park.
  • If you are allergic, see an allergist.  There is life saving treatment for insect allergy that works 99% of the time.
  • Carry your epi-pen at all times when outside.
  • While not deadly, mosquitoes in New York , can make many just as itchy.  Did you know there are about 51 different types of mosquitos in New York?  
    • You can reduce your exposure by using protective clothing, insect sprays such as OFF, and DEET and removing standing water from fire escapes and alley ways.
    • Citronella, Geraniums and believe it or not Victoria Secret Bombshell perfume are natural ways of fighting off mosquitoes

These are just a few tips on how to beat summertime allergies in New York City.  Looking for more specific question or treatment options?  Please see us for an appointment.  Gramercy Allergy is one of the top allergy offices in New York City.  We love to help and solve difficult cases.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Five Fast Facts About Food Allergy in New York City

Continuing our celebration of Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month, here are Five Fast Facts on Food Allergy in New York City 

Did you know that food allergies can be deadly
  •  Someone is sent to the emergency room every 3 minutes from a food allergy reaction
  •  The CDC reports more than 300,000 hospital visits from food allergy reactions in children under 18

  •          Anyone can develop food allergies at any age!
  •         But your risk is higher if you have parents who have an allergy disease
  •       You’re more likely to have food allergies if you have other allergy conditions such asthma, eczema, or hay fever

• Restricting a mother's diet during pregnancy or while breast-feeding has not been shown to help prevent the development of allergies.
• Solid foods should be introduced gradually between four to six months of age. Egg, dairy, peanut, tree nuts, fish and shellfish can be gradually introduced after less allergenic foods have been tolerated. In fact, delaying the introduction of these foods may increase your baby’s risk of developing allergies.
• Reducing exposure to some allergens, such as dust mites, may delay or prevent allergy or asthma symptoms.
• Exposure to tobacco smoke before and after birth increases your infant's risk of developing wheezing and asthma.

  • Amazingly 8 foods cause 90% of reactions.
  • Milk egg, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat fish and shellfish are the top offenders
  • But remember, any food can cause an allergic reaction.
What can you do when eating out?
  •  Very sensitive people can get an allergic reaction just from walking into a kitchen or restaurant
  • Obtain a chef card, available online, that says what your allergy is and what foods to avoid
  • Talk to the waiter and chef and stress the need for uncontaminated food preparation
  • Traveling abroad this summer with food allergies- learn how to say and write the foods you are allergic to.  Remember, not everyone knows how to read.  

 Where to eat out in New York City with Food Allergies?
Are you a New Yorker, foodie and have food alleriges?  Don't let that stop you!
Do you research on restaurants! Many restaurant will try and accommodate dietary restrictions, especially gluten allergies, but many food allergies slip through the cracks. For example, restaurants may add dairy products to a variety of foods or use peanut oil to cook.
Allergy Eats is a Yelp-like website for finding allergy-friendly restaurants:

Here’s a blogger’s list of allergy-safe restaurants in New York City: Allergic Girl Dines Out is an informative blog on where to eat out in NYC with food allergies.

Here are some of Gramercy Allergy's favorite food allergy friendly restaurants!  
 Bistango (415 3rd Ave), Nizza (630 9th Ave), Dos Caminos, BareBurger,  and Blue Smoke.

Have your favorite finds?  Please let us know so we can share- post on our facebook page or tweet at us @gramercyallergy #NYCFoodAllergyFinds

New York City is best known for its variety and breadth of food options! Don’t let food allergies in New York keep you from experiencing the best of New York City!

What can you do if your food allergies are uncontrolled?  Gramercy Allergy and Asthma is here to help.  We help New Yorkers every day with allergies and asthma.

Pledge to yourself to make May the month you take control over your allergies and asthma in New York.    

  • Get Tested!
  • Know Your Triggers!
  • Have a plan for dealing with symptoms!
  • Get Treatment!
Want more specific advice on surviving New York’s Allergy Season?  Visit our website http://www.gramercyallergy.com or click here to schedule an appointment online.

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Food Allergy Awareness Week- May 8-14

In celebration of Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month, this week we bring attention to Food Allergy.  

The Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) organization is celebrating Food Allergy Awareness Week from May 8–14. As part of this event, the Empire State Building will be illuminated in teal on Sunday, May 8th, in recognition of the color for the cause of food allergies. Catch the view from sunset on Sunday thru 2 AM on Monday.  Did you see it?  Check out #TealTakeover for pictures!

Food allergies affect some 15 million Americans and is on the rise for unknown reasons. It's a serious epidemic that can be deadly when someone eats a problem food and reacts through anaphylaxis.

What Are Symptoms Of Anaphylaxis? 
  • Symptoms occurring within minutes after exposure or ingestion of an allergen
  • difficulty breathing
  • Hives or itchy red bumps on the skin
  • Cough, wheezing, or difficulty breathing after ingestion.
  • reduced blood pressure leading to paleness, weak pulse, confusion, weakness, or fainting (called anaphylactic shock)
  • swollen lips, tongue or throat
  • a change in your voice.
  • gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, or cramping

What Causes Anaphylaxis?
  • Food allergies are the leading cause for anaphylactic shock, with the highest incidences of fatal food-induced anaphylactic shock in teenagers and young adults and those who also have asthma.
  • The most common causes are milk, egg, fish, tree nuts, shellfish, and peanuts.
  • Other causes include medications, environmental allergens, and insect stings.
  • Food allergies affects all races, ethnicities, and ages and can begin at any stage of life! Though some children can outgrow milk and egg allergies, nut and fish allergies tend to be lifelong once they first occur.
  • Talk to your allergy doctor to be tested and find out what you're allergic to!

What is the treatment for Anaphylaxis?

  • Use Epinephrine early then antihistamines.
    • If you are experiencing a food allergy, you should use Epinephrine first.
    • Because antihistamines take sometimes up to 15 minutes to start working, early use of epinephrine through injection can stop symptoms fast before they potentially turn deadly
  • Seek medical treatment.
Is there a Cure For Food Allergies?
  • There is no cure for food allergies, but we are working on it.  Exciting research in food allergy is being conducted in NYC at Mount Sinai.  They are working to desensitize individuals with food allergies.
  • Currently the only treatment is strict avoidance.   
  • Talk to your allergist in NYC to develop the best plan of you and your family.  Share your plan with your loved ones and your school.  

 What can you do if your food allergies are uncontrolled?  Gramercy Allergy and Asthma is here to help.  We help New Yorkers every day with allergies and asthma.

Pledge to yourself to make May the month you take control over your allergies and asthma in New York.    

  • Get Tested!
  • Know Your Triggers!
  • Have a plan for dealing with symptoms!
  • Get Treatment!
Want more specific advice on surviving New York’s Allergy Season?  Visit our website http://www.gramercyallergy.com or click here to schedule an appointment online.

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Facebook