Experts say recent rainfall worsening seasonal allergies

If you live on the east coast and you’ve been suffering from seasonal allergies more than usual, it’s likely the recent rainfall is to blame. According to an Dr. Dane McBride, an allergy specialist at the Asthma and Allergy Center in Roanoke, drier seasons usually make for calmer allergies. But mold and other allergens like ragweed have flourished in the recent wet conditions.

 

McBride said mold is unlike other allergens because it can grow in warm, damp spaces inside your home. Allergy season typically begins in mid-August and ends in late October when temperatures drop. You also want to prevent mold growth in leaky areas like the kitchen and bathroom.

 

Source: www.wsls.com

It’s National Penicillin Allergy Day!

Today, September 28, 2018 is recognized by several states and health organizations as the second-annual National Penicillin Allergy Day, a national awareness day to help spread the word and educate the community on penicillin allergies and testing. This date holds significance in the medical industry and antibiotic community as the date Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, the world’s first antibiotic, in 1928.

Penicillin allergy is one of the most frequently reported allergies; however, nine out of 10 patients reporting a penicillin allergy are not truly allergic, which can lead to higher use of broad-spectrum antibiotics and an increased risk of adverse events for patients. Inaccurately labeling patients as penicillin allergic is, therefore, recognized as a significant public health problem—and it is important for patients and providers to know the facts about penicillin allergies to help combat the rise of antibiotic resistance.

“We are eager to continue spreading critical awareness around penicillin allergies with the second annual National Penicillin Allergy Day,” said Jorge Alderete, President ALK, Inc. “Together we can assist communities in educating patients, healthcare providers and others on the importance of proper diagnosis, the facts about penicillin allergy prevalence, and the risks associated with an unverified diagnosis. With proper diagnosis and hospital antibiotic stewardship efforts, health providers and patients can reduce the use of alternative antibiotics. These alternative antibiotics, when used unnecessarily, can lead to higher treatment costs and stronger antibiotic drug resistance.”

Several national organizations have joined efforts to help educate and bring awareness to penicillin allergy and the importance of testing.

“It’s vital that doctors understand the importance of confirming penicillin allergy, but it’s even more critical that those who carry the label be tested by an allergist or other healthcare provider trained in allergy testing to be sure,” said allergist Bradley Chipps, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “An allergist or other healthcare provider can work with a patient to find out if they are truly allergic and determine the best medications available for treatment. Patients who are found not allergic will be able to use medications that are safer, often more effective, and less expensive.”

“Many studies establish that the majority of individuals labeled as penicillin allergic actually are not truly allergic to penicillin (and other members of this family of antibiotics). There are proven methods to rule out penicillin allergy and doing so in these individuals would allow optimizing the choice of antibiotics among those who are demonstrated not to be allergic. This day is a great way to spread the word, help ensure that patients have access to the safest possible antibiotic and work to address the increasing emergence of antibiotic resistance,” said Dr. Robert Wood, MD FAAAAI, President of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

 

 

https://www.tullahomanews.com/news/business/nationalpenicillinallergyday-increases-awareness-of-penicillin-allergy-for-second-year/article_d76f25fa-cbfc-548f-8cda-6632f90ad26a.html

 

Why Can’t I Sleep? Answers to Your Most Common Sleep Problems

Everyone has a restless night once in a while, but you shouldn’t be tossing and turning more often than not. If you are, there’s probably something else going on. From bad habits to health problems, here are nine common causes of sleep problems and what you can do about them.

1. You’re stressed (or depressed)

Does your mind start racing with anxiety the second your head hits the pillow? Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for sleep problems caused by stress and depression. In addition to seeking mental health support, learn coping strategies to help you sleep, like meditating or writing thoughts down in a journal.

2. You’re uncomfortable

Whether it’s a lumpy mattress, a flat pillow, too-warm sheets, or your own aches and pains, nighttime discomfort wreaks havoc on sleep quality. Upgrade your mattress and bedding, taking your sleep position into account as you shop. If you have chronic pain, research effective management strategies.

3. You can’t breathe

If you have asthma, allergies, COPD, or another respiratory condition, reduce nighttime coughing, wheezing, and breathlessness by making your bedroom an allergen-free zone. Keep pets out, install dust-proof covers over mattresses and pillows, and wash bedding regularly (the American Cleaning Institute recommends weekly for sheets and monthly for blankets) to banish allergens from your sleeping surface. Next, turn your attention to the air. Contaminants enter your bedroom through air ducts and windows, but you don’t want to cut off air circulation completely. Consider buying an compact air purifier, which helps remove pollutants, and be sure to regularly replace your air filter.

4. Your sleep schedule is erratic

A consistent sleep schedule regulates your circadian rhythm, the internal clock that tells your body when it’s time to feel sleepy and when it’s time to be alert. A sleep schedule also ensures you set aside enough time for sleep each night — seven to nine hours for adults.

5. You have a sleep disorder

From restless leg syndrome to sleep apnea, there are a variety of sleep disorders that impact a person’s ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and achieve deep, restful sleep. If you’ve optimized your sleep habits and still lay in bed awake at night or feel fatigued throughout the day, schedule a sleep study.

6. You’re too sedentary

If you expend little energy throughout the day, it’s not surprising if you don’t feel tired at night. And unfortunately, this is a common tale: As USA Today reports, only 23 percent of Americans get the recommended amount of exercise. If you’re staying up late because you don’t feel tired, work more physical activity into your days.

7. You can’t put down your phone

Your sleep schedule isn’t the only thing affecting your circadian rhythm. Looking at screens on smartphones, tablets, computers, TVs, and other devices stops you from feeling sleepy. While this is handy when you need to pull all-nighters in college, using devices late into the night isn’t a healthy habit to get into. Stop using electronics an hour before bedtime and banish electronics from the bedroom.

8. You’re perimenopausal

For a variety of reasons, sleep problems are common in perimenopause and menopause. For most women, adopting good sleep hygiene is the best management strategy for menopause-related sleep issues. However, some women may benefit from hormone replacement therapy.

9. Your medications are keeping you up

Several prescription and over-the-counter medications interfere with sleep. These include steroids, antidepressants, stimulants, thyroid medication, beta agonists, and asthma medication. Certain over-the-counter medications like some pain relievers and cold medicines contain caffeine that disrupts sleep; others, such as sleeping pills, create a dependence that prevent you from falling asleep without them.

 

Sleep is essential for good health. If one of these sleep problems sounds like you, it’s important to do something about it. Whether that means changing your habits, seeing your doctor, or redoing your bedroom, take action to fix your sleep today.

 

Guest Author Bio:  Julia Merrill is on a mission. She wants to use information to close the gap between medical providers and their patients. She started BefriendYourDoc.org to do just that. The site offers an abundance of information from tips on finding the right medical care to help with dealing with insurance companies to general health and wellness advice and more.

 

 

 

Image via Unsplash

 

Great News for Patients-Extended Expiration Dates for Select Lots of EpiPen 0.3 mg Auto-Injectors

On Aug. 21, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced to extend the expiration dates of specific lots of EpiPen 0.3 mg Auto-Injectors and its authorized generic version. Patients should have confidence in using the products from these particular lots as Pfizer works to stabilize supply, which is anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Pfizer and Mylan’s recommendation to extend the expiration dates of specific lots, and the FDA’s decision were based on a careful review of data provided by Pfizer. We believe the extension of the expiration date will temporarily address patients’ access to and use of EpiPen 0.3 mg Auto-Injectors, and its authorized generic, particularly during back-to-school season as demand increases.

The affected lots, which have current expiration dates between April 2018 and December 2018, are listed in tables in the expandable sections below and can also be found on FDA’s website. The extension of the expiration dates does not apply to EpiPen Jr (epinephrine injection, USP) 0.15 mg Auto-Injectors and its authorized generic version. Patients should continue to adhere to the manufacturer’s expiry date labeled on EpiPen Jr 0.15 mg and Epinephrine Injection, USP Auto-Injectors 0.15 products.

https://www.epipen.com/en/about-epipen-and-generic/supply-information

Does Everyone Need Eight Hours of Sleep?

Everyone wants to know—how much sleep to I really need? While everyone might not need exactly eight hours, the average adult does need seven to nine. Without that important time for the body to rest, recharge, and heal, mental and physical capacities start to suffer. The good news is there are many habits and behaviors that can be developed to increase both sleep quality and amount.

Sleep plays an important role in the learning process by helping with the acquisition and consolidation of memories. During sleep, the brain strengthens neural connections to consolidate and solidify memories. If a person enters a state of sleep deprivation, which occurs when they get six hours of sleep or less, the mind begins to wander, neurons cannot work efficiently, and the coordination of information and memories begins to slow.

Memories aren’t the only area of the brain affected by sleep loss. Without enough sleep, the amygdala, the part of the brain that processes emotions, becomes over sensitive to negative thoughts and events. At the same time, activity goes down in the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that applies logic and reasoning to emotions. Irritability, anger, and aggression become much more common as the number of sleep hours go down.

Other systems slow down and decrease their efficiency during sleep loss too. The immune system, in particular, takes a hit in a couple of different ways. First, the immune system goes to work healing and rejuvenating cells while you sleep. A shortened sleep period makes it hard for the body to reach a state of health and equilibrium.

Secondly, the process through which cells create energy is linked to the timing of circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms control the sleep-wake cycle. If the circadian rhythms get disrupted, cell energy production is also disrupted resulting in fatigue. Less cell energy comes back to further disrupt the circadian rhythms, creating a vicious cycle of sleeplessness and fatigue that continue to feed one another.

To boost memory and learning, stabilize emotions, and increase energy levels, sleep has to be a priority.

 

Better Sleep Through Better Habits

Allergies can cause some issues that make getting a good night’s rest more challenging, but with consistent effort, better, more efficient sleep may only be a few good habits away. Allergens in the bedroom like dust, pet dander, and pollen present the biggest problems. Swollen airways and excess mucus can cause sleep apnea and other breathing-related sleep disorders.

Remove as many allergens from the bedroom as possible by:

  • Keeping windows closed when pollen counts are high
  • Regularly vacuuming mattresses
  • Using plastic casings for pillows and mattress
  • Washing sheets every week in water over 130 degrees and drying them in the dryer (not outside)
  • Buying allergy-free pillows

Healthy sleep habits can also improve sleep efficiency (the amount of time spent in bed versus actual time slept) and overall sleep hours. A few ways to get ahead on sleep include:

  • Getting Comfortable: A bedroom that’s kept completely dark with the temperature between 60 to 68 degrees creates optimal sleep conditions. Comfort may also come in the form of a therapeutic pillow, weighted blanket,  or breathable natural fiber sheets.
  • Be Consistent: A regular wake up time and bedtime help the body adjust the release of sleep hormones.
  • Avoid Stimulants and Electronics: Stimulants, like caffeine, block sleep hormones while electronics give off a blue light that suppresses them. Avoid both in the hours before bed.

While everyone might not need eight hours of sleep, everyone needs at least seven hours on a consistent basis. If it is a priority, both mind and body will function at their best.

 

Article provided by:

Tuck is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NBC News, NPR, Lifehacker, and Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations across the web.

Fall Allergies are on Their Way

It’s hard to believe that fall is just around the corner!  Gone soon will be baseball, summer vacations, and barbeques.  We get to look forward to football, school, and tailgate parties…and fall allergies.

“Fall can arrive with bad allergy symptoms,” says Bradley Chipps, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “Many people don’t realize if they spend time preparing now, they won’t get hit as hard with sneezing, runny noses and itchy eyes when fall allergies descend with full force. It’s a matter of planning ahead for what you know is coming based on your past experiences.”

According to the ACAAI there are four main tips to use in the fall to avoid allergy symptoms:

  1. Mild temperatures along with rain can promote plant and pollen growth, while wind accompanying rainfall can stir pollen and mold into the air, heightening symptoms for fall allergy sufferers. Because fall allergies may start earlier and last longer, it’s important to begin taking your allergy medications at least two weeks before your symptoms normally start. And don’t stop your symptom-relieving medications until pollen counts have been down for about two weeks – usually after the first frost. If you are taking allergy drops, continue taking them year-round to help prevent the onset of allergy symptoms next fall.

 

  1. Once the leaves begin to fall they gather moisture and begin to mold. Mold is an allergen that thrives in fall. In addition to leaves, mold can be found anywhere there is water – including in your backyard, in a field of uncut grass and in clogged gutters. If you are allergic to mold, the key to reducing it is moisture control.

 

  1. If your child suddenly seems to have a constant runny nose, itchy eyes, a cough and sneezing, they could be dealing with allergens in their classroom. Kids can be allergic to dust in the classroom, or there might be pollen coming in through open windows. And don’t forget about mold – often found in bathrooms and locker rooms – as well as dander from pets that other kids may bring in on clothing and backpacks. If your child seems to have symptoms that came on around the time school started, make an appointment for allergy testing.

 

  1. Whether it’s ragweed, which is fall’s most prominent pollen, or another type, keeping pollen out of your life means fewer allergy symptoms. Some simple “housekeeping” tips can help. When you come in from outside, make sure pollen doesn’t come with you. Leave your shoes at the door and throw clothes in the washing machine. Shower and wash hair in the evening before bed so you’re not sleeping with pollen and getting it on your pillow and in your nose. Keep windows closed and run the A/C in both your home and your car. Monitor pollen and mold counts online so you can determine when it’s best to stay inside.

Sunscreen Benefits and Tips

This summer has turned out to be quite a hot one for most areas throughout the country. That summer sun that you think about all year is accompanied by a risk of harmful UV rays. These UV rays can cause short-term and long-term damage to your skin. These risks can include sunburn, signs of aging and increased risk of skin cancer. But yet, even with these risks people still seem to leave the sunscreen home, hoping to get a tan. This is not recommended.

You should apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure, then wait for 10 to 20 minutes before getting dressed. It is also recommended to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, or after every water exposure or sweating even if they are labeled water-resistant. Studies show that SPF 30 sunscreen blocks 97% of UV rays. An increase above SPF 50 only slightly increases the effectiveness. The most important thing is to keep wearing the sunscreen and reapplying.

 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/sun-protection-appropriate-sunscreen-use-2018062114114

Indiana’s Allergy Season Worse Than Usual This Year

Indiana is experiencing one of its worst allergy seasons in recent history all due to a delayed pollen release. Trees usually bloom and release pollen in stages around late February and early March. But this year the weather stayed cold long into April. According to Dr. Emma McCormack of Allergy and Asthma of Southern Indiana, “Every tree that pollinates in February was still playing catch-up in May.”

The trees and grasses pollinated until early June this year. Indiana actually had the highest pollen counts in the nation in the first week of June. Thankfully, now that it’s finally over people might start to see some relief from their allergy symptoms.

 

Red Meat Allergies Caused By Tick Bites Are On The Rise

We all know that a bite from a tick can be accompanied with many nasty diseases, but the bite from a Lone Star tick can come with a shocking side effect: a red meat allergy.

National Public Radio reported the story of Laura Stirling from Maryland, who last summer was walking her dog in the woods and then found a tick on her. A few weeks later, after she had an Italian pork sausage for dinner, she had a horrible reaction. The reaction occurred six hours later, which is usual with a food allergy.

She visited her doctor’s office and was informed to avoid all red meat and dairy products. She couldn’t believe it. She had been eating red meat and dairy all her life, but now she had to avoid it.

These types of tick bites are on the rise. Ten years ago there were only a few dozen cases, but now there have been 5000 reported cases in the United States. The range of the Lone Star tick has expanded from the Southeast up toward New York and Maine.

Dr. Scott Commins, an allergist and associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill believes that people can outgrow this allergic reaction if they avoid additional tick bites.

Source: www.npr.org

Allergy Drops- Patient Testimonial

Read the following patient testimonial about the benefits of allergy drops:

“I’ve had spring allergies for over 35 years. I am very surprised that allergy symptoms improved dramatically in less than 1 year. I have increased energy, sleep better, and am physically more comfortable with my spring allergies. I use only a few eye or allergy medications if needed.”

Thomas E., VT

Take the next steps to treat the cause of your allergies with allergy drops.  Allergy immunotherapy is a great investment in your health and well-being.