These are some of the conditions that our professional allergists treat.
This is common known as hay fever and affects more than 20% of United States citizens. Allergic rhinitis is caused by exposure to airborne allergens such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, or mold. These allergens are ignored by the immune system and people with allergic rhinitis have reactions because their immune system mistakenly identifies these allergens as intruders.
Allergic reactions to animals can be a significant cause of severe allergic symptoms. The protein allergens (allergy causing substances) from animals are contained in the sebaceous glands of the cat’s skin or in the dander (the surface layer of skin cells), saliva or urine of dogs and rodents. The allergen particles are so small they cannot be seen in the household environment, but eventually they penetrate the rugs and bedding. Animal fur itself is not considered to be a major cause of allergy.
Although there are many components in house dust to which people may become allergic, the most important is the dust mite. This is a microscopic mite which is found in homes. Dust mites live primarily in carpets, mattresses, pillows, box springs and upholstered furniture. They thrive in humid and warm conditions and feed on shedded human skin! The waste products produced by dust mites are highly allergenic. Each dust mite produces about 20 waste particles each day. These particles continue to cause allergic symptoms even after the mite which has produced them has died. In addition, house dust contains molds, pet and human dander and cockroach waste which may be allergenic.
Molds (fungi) are a lower form of plant life which cannot make their own food and therefore must feed on living or dead organic matter. Molds can grow on anything and require no sunlight for growth. They thrive in total darkness in the ground, caves, or tree trunks. Mold spores are spread by the wind, insects and man. These sports are difficult to totally escape but excessive exposure can be avoided.
For those living in Cincinnati, Asthma treatment is available through the dedicated physicians at Bernstein Allergy Group, Inc. Millions of Americans are afflicted with this condition, but many do not know what triggers it. Many, in fact, do not even know what happens to their own bodies when they have an attack. We make it our job to inform every patient who walks in our door about what it truly mean.
Occupational allergies refer to nasal, lung or skin reactions that occur as the result of exposure to one or more agents in the workplace. These reactions may be the result of developing sensitizing IgE antibodies to a specific agent or may occur through other non-IgE mediated mechanisms of action. Sometimes a specific causative agent is not obvious or readily identifiable. If you suspect you are developing symptoms in the workplace, the Bernstein Allergy Group doctors have extensive expertise in evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and management of occupational respiratory and skin diseases.
Chronic Hives (Urticaria)
Hives or urticaria can be defined as a red rash with itching, swelling and elevation of the skin. Hives can be accompanied by more severe swelling which can occur underneath the skin, especially in the soft tissues around the eyes, lips, hands and feet. This form of swelling is referred to as angioedema. Hives and angioedema may occur alone or together. Both may occur suddenly in the form of a reaction to a drug such as penicillin, an infection such as hepatitis, or after a sting by an insect. Certain foods such as eggs, peanuts, tomatoes, walnuts and fish can cause allergic reactions which can be manifested by the appearance of hives and angioedema.
Just about any drug can cause an allergic reaction. Penicillin antibiotics and penicillin like drugs represent the most common causes of drug allergies. Allergic Drug Reactions to penicillin can range from mild rashes or hives to life threatening allergic reactions, otherwise referred to as anaphylaxis. Some of the other drugs which commonly cause allergy are sulfa antibiotic drugs (Bactrim, for example), the seizure drugs (dilantin, for example), as well as anticancer treatments. Unlike penicillin, there are no specific tests for most of these drugs. In general, doctors will advise patients to avoid a drug to which they have experienced an allergic reaction. This is very good advice for most drugs that have caused serious reactions in the past.
Food allergies are occur because of an immune system reaction to certain foods. 1 in 20 Americans are affected by food allergies and can occur at any age, but most commonly in babies and young children. 90% of food allergies are related to milk, egg, soy, wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish and fish.
Our environment, whether it is our homes, schools, or workplaces, they all contain potential causes of environmental allergies. The best thing you can do is avoid these allergens, however it is easier said than done. Many allergens are airborne such as plant pollen, mold, or other substances. Our allergists can provided information that can help you decrease your exposure to these allergens. There are also treatment options we can provided that will help reduce your sensitivity to those allergens that affect you.
Anaphylaxis is a life threatening reaction where multiple organ systems are involved leading to symptoms of hives, angioedema, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and in extreme cases loss of consciousness and death. Anaphylaxis can occur after exposure to a food, stinging insects, drugs and a host of other agents that you may or may not know you are sensitized to. Sometimes anaphylaxis can occur spontaneously without any known cause. If you have had an anaphylactic reaction or are at risk for one, it is important that you be evaluated and managed properly to avoid unnecessary adverse outcomes. The Bernstein Allergy Group, Inc. physicians have extensive experience in the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and management of anaphylaxis.
Angioedema or “soft tissue swelling” occurs as the result of fluid accumulation in the deeper dermis. Angioedema occurs by itself in 20% of cases and in conjunction with hives in 40% of cases. Isolated angioedema can often be seen as a result of certain medication reactions such as ACE inhibitor blood pressure medications or aspirin and/or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Advil or Aleve). Isolated angioedema is also seen in patients who have rarer conditions called hereditary and acquired angioedema. Patient with hereditary angioedema have either a decreased amount of C1 Esterase inhibitor or functionally abnormal levels. This enzyme is important for regulating the production of a mediator called bradykinin that can cause swelling if there is too much in the body.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung diseases that block airflow due to lung damage and make it increasingly difficult to breathe. Unlike asthma, obstruction of the lungs that develops in COPD patients does not improve and is not fully reversible. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the common conditions that make up COPD where the normal exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide are impaired.