Wednesday, May 3, 2017

How to Beat Springtime Eczema in NYC? #1in5


Sprintime 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. High levels of tree pollen for many can trigger itchy skin changes.   Rapid changes in temperature and humidity that are classic for NYC 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
    • Tree pollen can trigger 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.  Your doctor may recommend patch testing, a way to look for chemical allergy. 

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

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

What is Thunderstorm Induced Asthma? #1in5

Did you see the lightening storm in NYC this past week?  Wow- it was amazing! The sky was filled with an amazing display of electricity and air with loud claps of thunder.   I really enjoyed watching it, but also waited for the second wave you may not know about...

The day after a thunder/lightening storm there is a  10 fold increase in asthma admissions to the emergency department!  Many patients this week are complaining of worsening asthma symptoms and may not make the connection between the nighttime storm and their asthma.

What's going on?

Many would think that the rain would "clean the air" of pollen and pollutants knocking the irritants from the air to the ground, but this is not the case.  Why do thunderstorms trigger asthma?

We don't know...

Some possible hypotheses on why thunderstorms trigger asthma are:
  • Perhaps it's a device used by nature to pollinate when there's water available for things to grow.
  • Others hypothesize that pollen grains rupture with contact from rain drops.  The pollen gets picked up by the winds occupied by the storm spreading.
  • Fungal and mold spores increase the day after a storm along with pollen counts.
  • Tree pollen spikes after a storm. 

Regardless of the reason, if you suffer from thunderstorm induced asthma, be prepared with your medications so you don't end up in the emergency room!

Here are some tips to prevent thunderstorm induced asthma:
  • Stay indoors the day after a storm
  • Have your medications on hand, make sure they aren't expired.
  • Keep your windows closed the day after the storm
  • Follow your asthma action plan
Most of all- if you are having signs/symptoms of asthma see your doctor.  Sadly, each day 9 people die from asthma.

Pollen counts continue to be very high in NYC.  Get help for your asthma and allergies in NYC with Gramercy Allergy.  Need help getting your asthma under control this spring or what other tips?  See an allergist and find relief! Gramercy Allergy and Asthma is ready to help you get control of your asthma.

Want to set up an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Collins, MD at Gramercy Allergy and Asthma?  Click here  We are located at 205 East 22nd Street, NY NY 10010