As we continue to see the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we feel it is important to share with you what AllergySA is doing to help slow the spread while continuing to provide critical care to our patients.
Dr. Lukena Karkhanis and AllergySA were featured on the front page the San Antonio Express-News on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 as one of the first clinics in San Antonio to offer the newly approved peanut allergy drug, named Palforzia.
“This will definitely be a game-changer, and it decreases their chances of a severe reaction,” said Dr. Lukena Karkhanis of AllergySA, who treats Claire and dozens of other South Texas children with peanut allergies.
To see if Palforzia is right for your peanut allergic child, call AllergySA at 210-616-0882 to schedule an appointment.
“[A peanut allergy] restricts where they can vacation, it restricts where they can travel, it restricts what they can participate in terms of extracurricular activities, where the parent will not be there at all times. I think Palforzia will be a big game changer there,” Karkhanis said.
To find out if Palforzia is the right treatment for your peanut allergic child, contact AllergySA at 210-616-0882 to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified allergists.
With flu season just around the corner comes the very common question: “Can I get a flu shot if I am allergic to eggs?” Most types of influenza vaccine contain a very small amount of egg protein causing people to second guess the safety of flu shots if they are allergic to eggs. Contrary to what most think, research has shown that the administration of the flu vaccine is safe for those with egg allergies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests avoiding flu shots only if you have had a severe allergic reaction to the flu vaccine itself. If you’ve had a mild or severe allergic reaction to eggs, the CDC advises the following:
- If eggs cause only hives you can safely get the flu vaccine appropriate for your age and health status anywhere.
- If eggs cause swelling, trouble breathing, lightheadedness, recurrent vomiting, or if you’ve had to use an emergency intervention (like your Epi-Pen®), you can get a flu shot, but it must be in a medical setting supervised by a provider who can recognize and manage severe allergic reactions.
If you’ve had a reaction to eggs in the past, talk to your doctor. They may choose to give you the vaccine in their office or send you to an allergist.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, a large number of research studies published over the last several years have proved that thousands of egg-allergic children, including those with a severe life-threatening reaction to eating eggs, have received injectable influenza vaccine as a single dose without a reaction. The flu is responsible for the hospitalization of more than 21,100 children under the age of five annually, yet the CDC says nowhere near enough children are vaccinated every year. According to their statistics, only 55 percent of children ages 5 to 17 get the vaccination.
For more information, or to get your flu shot in our office, speak with a medical assistant during your next office or allergy shot visit.
Distribution has been halted for generic Ranitidine after an announcement that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating medications containing ranitidine that may have a possible link to cancer.
This generic medication is taken by millions to help with gastrointestinal disorders and discomfort. The manufacturer stated that this is a “precautionary distribution stop” as they complete an internal investigation and the FDA continues its own research to determine if the low levels of the ingredient pose a risk to patients.
If you or a family member has been prescribed this generic medication, here are some key points to know about this issue:
- Brand-name Zantac is not included in the distribution halt. Those currently on the generic version can purchase the brand-name over-the-counter medication.
- Pediatric patients on liquid ranitidine do not need to switch. The halt only involves the capsule/tablet version
. Thisis currently a distribution halt, not a recall. The manufacturer is taking precautionary measures as investigations continue and more information will be released as it becomes available.
The primary reason for fall allergies in the United States is ragweed pollen. A ragweed plant only lives one season, but it is very powerful. A single plant can produce up to 1 billion pollen grains. These grains are very lightweight and float easily through the air. Allergies occur when the body’s immune system treats an allergen, such as ragweed, like a foreign invader. This starts a chemical reaction that produces and sends histamine throughout the bloodstream causing allergy symptoms.
Symptoms of ragweed allergy are similar to those of other pollen allergies including:
• Runny nose
• Nasal congestion • Headaches
• Irritated eyes • Itchy throat
The best way to control your allergy is to minimize contact with the pollen. There is no cure for ragweed allergy but it can be managed. Receiving the correct diagnosis is the first step in managing your symptoms. An allergist will give you a physical exam, ask about your health history and perform allergy testing to determine exactly what you are and are not allergic to.
Remember that pollen can go into your home via your clothes, your hair or your pet — so change your clothes after being outside for long periods, shower before going to bed and wash your hands after petting an animal that has been outside. Also, keep your windows closed at all times, both at home and in the car.
People who experience ragweed allergies are also often sensitive to certain foods. This is because some plants can contain pollen that is similar to ragweed. This condition is known as oral allergy syndrome. Some foods that may cause symptoms in a person with a ragweed allergy include bananas, cantaloupes, chamomile tea, cucumber, honey that contains pollen, sunflower seeds, or zucchini.
Ragweed allergies can be treated with antihistamines and other allergy medications. Your allergist/immunologist can provide a long-term treatment plan which can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms caused by allergic rhinitis. Schedule an appointment with one of AllergySA’s experienced medical staff by calling 210-616-0882 and allow us to assist you in detecting any allergies you may be suffering from.
As the summer comes to an end, preparing for school is the number one priority for parents
Asthma is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes, the passageways that allow air to enter and leave your lungs. Two types of asthma to be aware of during the school year are allergic and non-allergic. Allergic asthma is triggered by exposure to an allergen, such as mold, pollens or pet dander. While non-allergic asthma is brought on by factors such as stress, exercise, illness, extreme weather, irritants in the air and certain medications. Allergists are specially trained to help take control of your child’s asthma, identify what triggers their symptoms and build a plan to help avoid and manage those triggers. They will also prescribe controller and rescue medications to have at home and school and may recommend immunotherapy injections (allergy shots) to help manage allergic asthma flare ups.
Here are some things you can do to make sure your child has a safe and healthy school year:
- Make an appointment with your child’s allergist to get up to date prescriptions and a new Asthma Action Plan for the school year.
- Tour the school to identify potential asthma triggers such
as:dust mites, mold, chalk dust, and animal dander.
- Talk with your child’s teacher, school nurse and other school personnel, such as sports coaches, about your child’s condition and treatment plan.
If you are unsure if your child has asthma, here are some signs to look for:
- a regular cough
- struggling to catch your breath
- a whistling/wheezing sound when you breathe
Your allergist can evaluate whether your child’s symptoms are a sign of asthma. By visiting acertified allergist, you can expect an accurate diagnosis, a treatment plan that works and educational information to help you manage your child’s asthma and help them feel better throughout the school year. Schedule an appointment now with one of AllergySA’s experienced physicians by calling 210-616-0882.
It is back to school season and with that comes big responsibilities getting your student ready for the year ahead. For those with food allergies, preparing for the fall season means going the extra mile to have a safe and healthy school year. To do this, knowing exactly what foods your child is allergic to is a must and having an emergency plan is a necessity. Before the school year starts, it is crucial to have a one-on-one conversation with your child’s teacher (and school nurse if possible) regarding all food allergies and reactions your child may have. Teachers can help prevent a food allergy reaction in the classroom by following these tips:
− Keep food outside of the classroom. If this is not possible, all food should be handled with caution to assure safety.
− Have an allergy-free lunch table so that students with food allergies can feel comfortable while being in the same room with different types of foods.
− Encourage hand washing by all students and staff before and after handling or consuming any type of food.
It is also important for your child’s teacher to understand the symptoms of a food allergy reaction. Reviewing these signs will help the teacher recognize when a reaction occurs and the severity.
Mild to moderate symptoms of a food allergy may include one or more of the following:
− Redness of the skin, particularly around the mouth or eyes
− Hives (reddish, swollen, itchy areas around the mouth)
− Itchy mouth or ear canal
− Nausea or vomiting
− Stomach pain
− Nasal congestion or a runny nose
− Dry Cough
− Odd taste in
Severe symptoms may include one or more of the following:
− Swelling of the lips, tongue, and/or throat that blocks breathing
− Trouble swallowing
− Shortness of breath
− Loss of consciousness
− Chest pain
− Turning blue
− Sense of impending doom
Having a Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan on file will help school staff know exactly what steps to take depending on the severity of the reaction. Mild to moderate symptoms are often treated with antihistamines and monitoring that symptom severity is not increasing.
Severe symptoms may be a sign of the life-threatening condition known as anaphylaxis. This type of reaction requires immediate treatment with
The only way to know if your child has a food allergy is to visit a board-certified allergist. Proper diagnosis of a food allergy or food intolerance is the first step to managing this condition. Schedule an appointment this summer with one of AllergySA’s experienced medical staff by calling 210-616-0882 and allow us to assist you in detecting any allergies your child may be suffering from.
We are officially halfway through summer which means a sting from a bee, hornet, wasp, or fire ant is more likely to occur while enjoying outdoor activities. In this blog, we’ll explore what to look out for if you do get stung and how to treat it. It is important to keep in mind that you can still experience a mild reaction when stung but it doesn’t always mean you are allergic. Knowing the difference, along with the symptoms of an allergic reaction, is imperative to determine what steps to take next.
An allergic reaction to a stinging insect may include:
• Pain and Redness
• Swelling beyond the affected area including the face, throat or tongue
• Difficulty breathing
• Stomach Cramps
• Itchiness and hives over large areas of the body
A basic way to treat a sting includes applying a cold compress, to reduce swelling and pain, along with the use of a topical ointment to relieve itching. If symptoms are worse than redness and swelling at the sight of the insect sting, it is important to seek medical attention immediately as you may be experiencing an allergic reaction.
A fire ant sting is a bit different because it usually happens by many ants at once and the risk of infection is higher. Almost everyone stung by fire ants develops an itchy hive or lump at the site of the sting, which usually goes down within 30 minutes to an hour. This is followed by a small blister within eight to 24 hours and can become infected if scratched or opened.
Insect stings can also cause symptoms that are not considered an allergic reaction called a toxic reaction or serum sickness. A toxic reaction takes place when the insect venom acts as a poison in the body and causes symptoms such as nausea, fever, swelling, and more. Serum sickness is an unusual reaction to a foreign substance in the body that can cause similar symptoms hours or days after the sting. Visiting a board-certified allergist is the best way to differentiate an allergy from one of these reactions.
Now that we have covered symptoms, here are five ways that you can prevent stings from happening while enjoying these last weeks of summer.
- Avoid wearing sandals or walking barefoot in the grass.
- Do not drink from open beverage cans. Stinging insects will crawl inside a can attracted by the sweet beverage.
- Avoid brightly colored clothing and perfume when outdoors. Many stinging insects are searching for food and could confuse you with a flower.
- Insects are most likely to sting if their homes are disturbed, so have hives and nests around your home destroyed. This activity can be dangerous, you should hire a trained professional.
- Don’t swat at a flying insect. Gently brush it aside or patiently wait for it to leave. This action might make them feel threatened.
Insect sting awareness and treatment is necessary for your wellbeing and crucial to prevent further concerns. A board-certified allergist will help you verify your diagnosis and determine the best treatment plan. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) may be one of the treatment options decided on by you and your allergist as an effective long-term plan. If you think you may be allergic to an insect sting, schedule an appointment with one of AllergySA’s experienced physicians by calling 210-616-0882. If possible, bring in the dead insect to help the doctor determine your exact allergy.
No parent wants to see their child suffer. As a parent, one of the worst fears is that one’s child will or has developed a food allergy. Whether inherited or not, food allergies are more common in children, with research showing that about 40% of children with food allergies are usually allergic to multiple foods. If you suspect that your child might have food allergies, then you need to have them tested as soon as possible by scheduling an appointment. The earlier the detection the better in improving your child’s quality of life. The three most common food allergies are milk, egg and peanut, in that order.
Symptoms of food allergies will vary from person to person, and according to which food was consumed. Some common symptoms include vomiting, upset stomach, hives, rashes, itching, and tingling lips. Severe life-threatening symptoms can sometimes occur, and if difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, or fainting is experienced, immediate medical attention needs to be sought.
Identifying food allergies can sometimes be complicated, especially if symptoms are relatively mild. Many parents experiment with elimination diets to identify specific food allergies, but this can sometimes be dangerous without a doctor’s guidance. Testing by a board-certified allergist is recommended because the process will be performed in the safety of a doctor’s office. Testing is done by obtaining blood samples or by performing skin testing. If you suspect your child has an allergy, schedule your appointment today. to see an allergist. Start a diary before the appointment and keep track of what symptoms your child experiences and what you think causes them.
Unfortunately, antihistamines like Benadryl won’t treat food allergies. When one or more food allergies have been confirmed, you need to ensure that your child avoids any contact with those particular foods. This will entail reading labels thoroughly, informing your child’s school of these specific restrictions, and teaching your child the importance of avoiding the offending foods.
Reading food labels can sometimes be confusing because food ingredients can be listed in other forms. For instance, “natural flavorings” may contain allergens, even though that particular allergen isn’t listed in the ingredients. However, more and more food manufacturers are placing allergy warnings on their labels that alert consumers that their products contain one or more common allergens. If you’re ever unsure whether or not a food contains one of your child’s allergens, it’s better to be safe and call the manufacturer.
Food allergies occur frequently in children, and if one or more allergies are identified in your child, then he or she can still live a high-quality life. As long as you ensure that the food allergens are strictly avoided at all times, your child should be healthy and happy. To make allergy avoidance even easier, manufacturers are introducing new and improved allergy-free products. This can make snacking and eating on-the-go easy, regardless of what your child might be allergic to. Our board-certified allergists are the best-qualified specialists to determine the sources of your child’s potential allergen. Schedule your appointment today.
-Lukena Karkhanis, MD
Source: FARE Food Allergy Research & Education