Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How To have Fun on Halloween When You Have Allergies!

Haunted houses, witches, goblins and super-hero costumes  bring smiles and scares during Halloween.  It's a wonderful time of the year to allow your imagination to go wild and have fun!
For parent's of children with seasonal allergies, food allergies and asthma there are potential dangers lurking in trips to the pumpkin patch, makeup, Halloween candy, and party treats.

What are some tips so you can enjoy all the Halloween fun when you have food allergies and asthma?

1) Do your kids have food allergies?  Don't be Scared, Be Prepared!
  •  Feed your kids dinner before going trick-or-treating.  That way they won't be tempted to eat candy before you have a chance to check it for potential allergens.
  • Talk to your neighbors.  Provide them with "safe" treats specifically for your children. 
  • Throw your own Halloween party so you can "control" the types of treats provided.
  • Talk to you kids about not eating candy until you've had a chance to inspect it.
  • Make sure they have emergency medication  including auto-injectable epinephrine & a cell phone when they are trick or treating just in case there is an accidental exposure. 
2) Heading to a Pumpkin Patch, don't let asthma and allergies get in the way of the fun!
  • Make sure your children take there maintenance medication before they head out to the farm.  Hay, leaves, and mold can often trigger an attack. 
  • Bring albuterol and extra anti-histamines along with you.
  • Use scarfs to warm up cold fall air to help prevent asthma
  • Listen for warning sounds- sneezing, runny nose, and coughing are signs that a reaction is happening. 
3) Choose Wise Costumes When Your Kids have Allergies and Asthma
  • Use care with Halloween make up if your child has eczema.  Harsh chemicals and dyes can often trigger an eczema flare.
  • Masks are great a great addition to a costume, but also mask if you're child is having an allergic reaction.  They can also make it difficult to breath if your child has asthma.  Use costumes with glasses, wigs, hoods, and funny hats instead.
  • Is your child sensitive to latex?   Be sure to read the costume labels carefully to avoid potential exposure.
Want more tips?  Check out the American College of Allergies website

Want more tips- call the office 212-679-3574 for an appointment or book on line.

Most of all Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 3, 2014

What Is Propolis Allergy?

What is Propolis?
Propolis, bee glue, is an increasingly important contact allergy because of it's increased use in "natural products". Just because it's natural doesn't mean you can't have an allergic reaction to the substance.

Benefits of propolis - propolis health (3)
  • Propolis is a glue made by hone bees to build, repair and protect their hives.
  • It's made up of digested resins (natural glues), buds from trees, and bark that bees mix with bee wax.
  • It becomes a mixture of balsams and resins, waxes, essential oils, pollen and cinnamyl alcohol, vitamins A, B, C and E, flavanoids and minerals.
  • Overall, the chemical composition of propolis is highly variable depending on where the bees live and the types of trees they use to manufacture their glue.
  • It can be listed on an ingredient list as propolis, cera flava, and cera alba.
What is Propolis Used For?
  • For 1000s of years propolis has been used by humans to treat infections, wounds, and as a varnish.  It's believed to possess antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.  Given these properties, propolis is a common additive in many "natural" products.  The increased exposure to propolis has increased our sensitivity and allergic reaction to it. 

In modern times, propolis is used as:
  • Emulsifying and thickening agent in many cosmetics.
  • Food additive for coating and glazing candy and fresh fruit
  • Natural over the counter sprays for sore throats, mouth lozenges, cough syrups, ointments, lotions, drops and oral pills.
  • Anti-septic agent in many homeopathic and natural medicine
  • Varnish for violins
How Do you Know If You Are Allergic To Propolis?
  • Many people with propolis allergy will have a rash on/or around mouth (from using topical ointments with propolis), or rash at the site of application (typically face, arms and legs).
  • Propolis is used in many "natural" cosmetics and homeopathic remedies.  Exposure from these products can cause a rash at the site of application.
  • Many people with allergy to propolis are also allergic to balsam of peru, colophony, beeswax, clove oil, and tree buds
  • Bee keepers, violin makers, and persons who make handmade boots are at increased risk for developing propolis allergy.
  • If you suspect propolis allergy, see an allergist for patch testing to determine the specific cause of your rash
Need more help or have questions?  Reach out to the office at 212-679-3574 or our website gramercyallergy.com to schedule an appointment.