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.

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Friday, May 6, 2016

Five Fast Facts About Asthma And Allergies in New York

1) 1 in 5 Americans Suffer from Allergies and Asthma.  That's ALOT of New Yorkers!
Symptoms of allergies and signs you should get help are:
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Runny Nose
  • Waking from Sleep From your Symptoms
  • Missing school, work or social engagements because your symptoms are out of control
2) New York City is not just a concrete jungle. Allergies and Asthma in New York are on the Rise!

Ranking 31 out of 100 New York is the most challenging city's to live with allergies and asthma This is up from 41 from last year according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's "Spring Allergy Capitals Rankings".  What's the worst city?  Jackson, Mississippi.

3) What's the Top Cause for Children Missing School in New York? - Asthma.
13 million days of school are missed each year according to the Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.

How can you get your child's asthma under control?  Gramercy Allergy and Asthma is here to help.  Schedule an appointment to help identify triggers, causes of flare ups and how to manage your allergy and asthma symptoms in New York before they become severe.  Set up an asthma action plan and put it to use.  Having a plan can keep you and your family out of the emergency department.

4) Did you know that 1 in 13 children have a food allergy.  That's nearly 2 children in every classroom. Every 3 minutes someone has a reaction to food.  The number of children with food allergies has increased by 50%  from 2007-2011 and there is no clear answer as why.

New York is painting the town teal this weekend and is leading the way in the #TealTakeover!  

Sunday May 8 marks the beginning of Food Allergy Awareness Week.   There are lots of exciting events happening this May to honor Food Allergy Awareness Week! The Empire State Building will shine in teal from sunset on Sunday, May 8, to 2 a.m. on Monday, May 9! Nearly a dozen other buildings across the country will be lighting up in teal, and there are planned online gatherings, so check our calendar and mark yours!  

Take a shot of the Empire State Building and tweet it #TealTakeover to show your support for those with food allergies.

5) Did you know that 1 in 11 children have asthma and 1 in 12 Adults have Asthma?  
Sadly  every day 9 people die from asthma attacks every day.   There are race, gender and economic disparities in the people who have asthma.

  • Women are more likely to have asthma then men.
  • In children, boys are more likely to have asthma then girls
  • Multi-race and blacks are more likely to have asthma then caucasians
  • Adults making less then $75,000 per year are more likely to have asthma.  

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

Pledge to your self 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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Thursday, May 5, 2016

May Is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month!

Did you know that Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) declared May to be asthma and allergy awareness month.? 

Asthma affects over 24 million Americans and 330 millionpeople worldwide have asthma; that’s 7.4% of adults and 8.6% of children, or 1in 14 people, according to the CDC.  Symptoms of asthma and allergies peak around this time. Asthma is a condition in which the airways from the nose and mouth to the lungs become inflamed and sensitive to substances. Asthma occurs in bouts known as asthma attacks. The airways swell and narrow, causing difficulty breathing. In severe cases, asthma can be fatal.
How Do You Know You Have Asthma?

Symptoms of asthma include
·        Trouble breathing (shortness of breath or rapid breathing)
·        Recurrent coughing
·        Wheezing
·        Tightness in the chest
·        A night time cough that wakes you from sleep
·        If you’re worried you may have asthma see your doctor or allergist.

What triggers asthma?
  •  Allergens: Asthma caused by allergies is called allergic asthma. When the immune system thinks a foreign substance (for example, inhaled pollen) is harmful, it will release immunoglobulin E (IgE) which leads to inflammation of the airways and an asthma attack. Common allergens include pollens (like tree, grass, and weeds), animals, mice, roaches, and dust mites.  Make sure to get a skin or blood test at your allergy doctor to find out what you’re allergic to!
  • Irritants: Have you noticed symptoms of asthma whenever you are using cleaning products, tobacco smoke, or strong odors? Irritating particles in the air, such as from smoke, pollution, or strong odors, can exacerbate already inflamed and sensitive airways. These irritants are not allergens but can trigger a severe attack.
  • Exercise: have you ever noticed symptoms of asthma whenever you are physically active? During exercise, people will breathe through their mouths instead of their noses. Because the nose warms and moisturizes air, air that enters through the mouth is cooler and dryer. If the air is already dry and cool outside, it can trigger narrowing of the airways (called bronchoconstriction). Talk to your allergy doctor to help manage exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.
  •   Respiratory illnesses: do you have a persistent lingering cough from a cold or flu? Asthma may be caused by infection of your respiratory system. This is the most common cause of asthma in children.

What should you do If You Suspect You Have Asthma?
·        See your doctor or allergy specialist.  Gramercy Allergy and Asthma, New York City’s premier Allergy office is here to help!  You can schedule an appointment here.
·        Get Tested.  Know what your triggers are.

Over the month of May, Gramercy Allergy and Asthma, will be writing about topics specific to asthma so stay tuned to learn more about asthma.

We'll be including interesting facts about asthma, asthma and the gender gap, and ways to treat difficult asthma.

Want to get more involved?

Share the Asthma and Allergy Foundations Allergy Awareness ribbon on your Facebook page or visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of Amercias webpage for more information.
Want more specific advice on treating asthma in New York?  Visit our website http://www.gramercyallergy.com or click here to schedule an appointment online.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What Are Hives?

What Are Hives?

Hives, or urticaria, are itchy red bumps that often feel like your body is under attack. Approximately 20% of people will have an episode of hives at some point in their life.   There are many causes but all result from the release of a chemical in your skin called histamine.  The presence of free histamine in the skin causes welt like marks (hives) that are intensely itchy.  Sometimes there are specific triggers and other times, hives appear randomly leaving you covered with itchy red marks.  These attacks leave patients feeling helpless, itchy and desperate to find a cause and solution. 

What can you do if you have hives?  The first step is to try to identify the cause and learn what your triggers are.  Gramercy Allergy and Asthma  is here to help! Gramercy Allergy and Asthma  is a referral center for difficult to treat hives in NYC.  We’ve see all types of causes of hives and can help you get them under control.

What Are The Types of Hives?
1) Acute Hives
  • Last for less than 6 weeks in duration
  • Can be caused by allergic reactions like foods, food additives, medications, sunlight, bug bites, medications, infections or other medical problems like thyroid disease
  • Look like welts, redness and flushing in the skin.  Are often associated with burning, itching and heat.

2) Chronic Hives

  •  Are similar to acute hives, but last for more than 6 weeks in duration
  •  Occur daily to several times per week
  •  There's often no identifiable trigger of the hive and they occur randomly over the entire body.
  •  For some, hives are triggered by infection, thyroid disease, inflammation in the body,                exercise, sunlight, auto-immune disease, cold temperatures, vibration and other non-specific triggers like food preservatives and dye.

What should you do if you have hives
  • See your allergist.  They will help you to identify the cause, and establish treatment for you.
  • You should expect them to take a detailed history of potential causes, possibly test you for triggers, and check your blood for other potential causes.
  • There are medications that can help stop hives including antihistamines, leukotriene blockers and for some medications like omalizumab, anti-bodies to the IgE trigger of hives.  
Want Gramercy Allergy's help in treating your hives?  Gramercy Allergy is a referral center for difficult to treat hives and we are here to help.

Want more information on hives?  http://acaai.org/allergies/types/skin-allergies/hives-urticaria

Click here to schedule an appointment or visit our website gramercyallergy.com.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What's New In Skin Allergy in NYC?

I just returned from the American Contact Dermatitis Society 27th Annual Meeting  in Washington DC. This entire day was focused on new and emerging trends in skin allergy including hot topics in contact dermatitis. I was surrounded by experts from around the world in contact dermatitis- we shared patient stories and brainstormed about difficult cases.  I learned so much and am excited to bring back this information to you my patients in NYC.

One exciting new development for my patients with contact dermatitis is the introduction of the American Contact Dermatitis Society's new app for CAMP.   It's a free and easy way of using your product list in stores.

If I've created a safe product list for you, put your search codes (found in the upper left hand corner) and you're set to go.  A word of caution, as products formularies are updated, the list won't automatically update.  This app is easy to use and you can create favorite lists of your "safe" products.  I  know you'll find this helpful and a welcome addition to your safe list.

Some of the topics discussed were: 
Emerging sensitizers in contact dermatitis
The role of the skins microbiome in the development of contact dermatitis
Phenylenediamine allergy
Patch testing in pediatric patients
Food patch testing

Announcing the Contact Allergen of 2016!Announcing the Contact Allergen of the Year

There they announced the 2016 contact allergen of the year- Gold Sulfate.   More on this from the blog coming soon.  These contact allergens are important sensitizers in our personal care products. One in four people are sensitized to commonly used products like shampoos, soaps, make ups and lotions.

Past winners have included:

I also learned that VMW hypoallergenics is introducing a Superskin-starts-here Set for people recently diagnosed with contact dermatitis.  This is designed to get you started with sample size products to reduce the possibility of irritation.@VMVinNYC

I'm brought back all of this information back to the practice and am excited to help those with skin allergy.

Schedule an appointment if you need help with your difficult to treat skin with our office.  Schedule an appointment here


Sunday, March 13, 2016

What's the Best Way to Tackle Springtime Allergies in NYC?


Warmer temperatures in New York this weekend has everyone day dreaming about NYC spring! Longer days, more sunlight and being outside with friends and family bring about smiles and spring fever.  We shed winter coats and sweaters in place of smiles, light scarfs and lots of outside activities.  But for one out of seven people, spring pollen hovering in the air trigger asthma  and allergy. 

What can you do this year to put yourself on the attack mode against pollen so you can enjoy NYC spring?

Don't let the pollen get you down! Here are 5 tips to springtime allergies in NYC.

Get Tested

Knowing what you’re allergic to and what triggers your symptoms is the first step to avoiding the offending pollen.  Skin testing is an office procedure where small amounts of various allergens are put on your skin (typically arm/back). Reactions take place typically within 30-45 minutes, but some can have a delayed reaction up to 8-10 hours later.  A local reaction will tell you what is causing your reaction.  There are many non-medical ways of avoiding allergens and your allergist will create a specific plan for you based on your testing results.


Follow the Pollen Counts

Check the weather report daily?  Then take a peak at what's happening with the pollen in your are.  Pollen.com and weather.com are some of my favorites for keeping tabs on local levels.  Be advised, tree pollen in NYC is already on the rise!

Start Medications Early
Overwhelmed by the number and variety of over the counter allergy medication in the drug store?  Your not alone!  Your allergist will help you create a plan of when to start medications, and which medications work quickly. They'll help to insure you aren't taking more than you need to control your symptoms and that you are aware of the side effects.  Taking allergy medications early and as directed can prevent you from developing severe symptoms that can interfere with your work, school and life.  

Rock Your Shades
Always pack and use sunglasses this spring in NYC.  Glasses help protect your eyes from airborne pollens and dust.  This will help stop itchy watery eyes without the use of medications.

Amp up Your Moisturization Regimen
Your skin is your first line defense against pollen.  Keeping  skin well moisturized can help prevent pollen from triggering an eczema flare. If you have pollen induced eczema, make sure you turn down the water temperatures in your shower and wash your face after spending time outdoors.


Change Your Routine
Showering at night will help wash away airborne tree pollens off your hair so you aren’t carrying them into your bed at night.  Tree pollens are highest in the morning.  Change your exercise routine from morning to evening to help naturally decrease your exposure to tree pollen.

Visit Gramercy Allergy for more specific advice on how to tackle spring pollen!

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.