Help,Annapolis Allergy & Asthma
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Suffering from nasal spray addiction?

Step 1: Put down the Afrin

If you suffer from seasonal allergies or an upper respiratory infection, your friends may warn you about the dangers of Afrin addiction. “If you use it once, your body will become dependent on it,” they say. Doctors call this phenomenon “rebound congestion,” or rhinitis medicamentosa, and it is a very real problem. In fact, it could be responsible for up to 9% of visits to allergists and ENT doctors.

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Help,Annapolis Allergy & Asthma
Written by admin

Enjoy a Symptom Free Summer

Everybody loves summer – unless they have allergies that are exacerbated by pollen, sun or other substances! Then summer is not quite so much fun! In fact, allergies are a problem for about 50 million Americans! You might be surprised to learn that allergies place 6th in the list of chronic conditions in this country and a hefty $18 billion annual amount is spent on care and treatment specific to allergies alone.

Americans often self-medicate with over-the-counter treatments. Go to any pharmacy and you will find aisle after aisle of nasal sprays, eye drops and antihistamines to be taken orally. Decongestants may also be a part of an allergy treatment regimen. Unfortunately, each person’s combination of symptoms may not respond to a single medication and multiple attempts at finding the correct dosage of each that will result in relief from symptoms for a certain amount of time.

People often mistakenly believe that over-the-counter medications can be taken in combination or at their own discretion. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, without oversight of a medical professional who is prescribing medications it might turn out to be very dangerous to the health and well-being of the allergy sufferer. Most doctors would say never to take multiple medications at the same time.

In light of this the person who continues to suffer allergic reactions even with medication may ask what else can they do? Well, a visit to the doctor would be the best next step. He or she may suggest a topical medication in combination with something else. To be sure, the physician is better able to create a model for care that will curb the symptoms without placing your health in jeopardy.

Most people do not realize there is the potential for addiction to certain over-the-counter medications as well. Too, some medications may contain a dosage of pain medicine that can cause overdosing if you are not careful.

Remember, over-the-counter medicine to treat allergies has its good and bad points. If you are plagued with itchy eyes, a runny nose or any of the many other symptoms of allergies it is good advice to seek the support of a professional. Even the pharmacist at the drugstore may be able to give you advice.

If you need the help of a professional in the field of allergies the experts at Annapolis Allergy & Asthma. Count on us to help you enjoy your summer.

Allergy Symptoms,Annapolis Allergy & Asthma
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Let’s Clear the Air

“What are seasonal allergy symptoms, and how are they different from other allergies? What do I do about it?”

We get this question a lot and want to clear the air for you.

When people have so many symptoms, we understand the need to pinpoint the cause exactly. There’s a tendency to self-diagnose, and even though this article aims to educate, it’s not a substitute for seeking professional advice in person.

Pollen is the big culprit this time of year, as we head into spring.

Symptoms related to seasonal pollen allergies:

● Itchy, watery eyes
● Sneezing
● Headache
● Loss of smell
● Sore throat
● Coughing
● Fatigue
● Itchy, runny nose
● Dark circles under eyes
● Post-nasal drip
● Snoring

Sometimes people are bothered by other allergens and don’t realize it. They may even be dangerous. They can lead to long-term health issues, such as chronic sleep problems, decreased cognitive functioning, infections, inflammation, and mood disorders.

Symptoms related to other possible allergens (not seasonal):

● Depression
● Trouble sleeping
● Chronic fatigue
● Problems concentrating
● Upper respiratory infection
● Sinus infection
● Inability to exercise for long periods
● Asthma

If not properly treated, these misdiagnosed allergies and issues can tax an already stressed immune system. If you’re not positive whether your allergies are seasonal or not, Annapolis Allergy & Asthma can help you. Regardless of the allergy, we’ll properly diagnose and treat your symptoms.

Fast facts about pollen (seasonal allergen):

● Dry, windy conditions kick pollen around more and make allergies worse
● Rain calms down the pollen levels
● Pollen levels are typically highest in the mornings
● If winter is mild, trees tend to pollinate earlier, so allergy season starts earlier
● A late freeze will make pollination happen later and delay the season

Have you or a family member been suffering from symptoms and aren’t sure what to do? We know what it’s like – you wake up in the morning and begin sneezing with your . nose stopped up. You have to go to work, spend time with your family, and fulfill all your obligations, all while your symptoms are driving you nuts. You’d really love to get some more sleep.

Go to https://annapolisallergy.com/scheduling/ to begin the scheduling process to see us at Annapolis Allergy & Asthma. Don’t wait to book and risk having to wait longer as allergy season kicks in. Call us now at (410) 573-1600.

food allergies,Annapolis Allergy & Asthma
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Food Allergy or Food Intolerance?

After we eat, the food is digested by our body and turned into energy. It is the fuel that keeps us alive and well. Sometimes the food does not get digested properly and our body has an adverse reaction. The most common reactions occur in our gastrointestinal tract in the form of gas, heartburn, or nausea. Sometimes the body has a more severe reaction depending upon whether you have a food intolerance or an allergy.

Food allergies affect a large number of people of all ages. Over ten million people, from newborns to senior citizens, suffer from food allergies in the United States alone. Food allergies are far more dangerous than food intolerances, and can even be life threatening. The human immune system functions as an army protecting our body from uninvited invasions, and when an unwelcome entity is found, the army attacks. Occasionally, our immune system makes a mistake and assumes that something in our food is unwelcome and the army mounts an offensive against that which is meant to provide us with energy; this is a food allergy. The symptoms of food allergies include, but are not limited to, difficulty breathing, a sudden and drastic drop in blood pressure, or rashes, hives or itchy patches on the skin. The majority of all food allergies are caused by peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, milk, eggs, soy, and wheat.

Food intolerances occur when your body encounters a challenge in digesting the food. Food intolerance does not necessarily happen every time you eat a certain food, unlike an allergy, which is a reaction that will occur every time. Food intolerances rarely occur when a small amount of the food has been ingested. Most commonly, food intolerance develops over time when a lot of a certain food is eaten or if that food is eaten frequently. Whether you suffer from a food allergy or intolerance can be determined by seeing your doctor and having tests run. There are medications that can be provided in either case, but the best course for avoiding adverse reactions to any type of food, is to abstain from that food all together.

If you have any questions, or to set up an appointment for testing or consultation, visit annapolisallergy.com.

allergies,Annapolis Allergy & Asthma
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Spotting Ear Infections

It is cold and flu season, and the flu is going around like wildfire. Over the past week, patients have told me they feel 90% of the people they know have had the flu. Fact is, the Maryland Department of Health reports influenza-like illnesses are widespread and high in intensity. A common complication that occurs in association with influenza is a middle ear infection. Otitis media, the specific term for middle ear infection, occurs when the Eustacian tube becomes obstructed or “blocked”, and can no longer perform it’s function of draining the middle ear. Respiratory illnesses, like influenza, infect the upper airway and cause swelling and blockage where the tube drains into the back of the throat, causing Eustacian Tube Dysfunction (ETD). Other causes of ETD include environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and allergies. Children are even more prone to ear infections, as their tubes block more easily, inserting into their middle ears at sharper angles. Blocked Eustachian tubes lead to fluid collecting within the middle ear; this fluid can become infected by bacteria, leading to inflammation, fever, swelling, pressure, decreased hearing and pain.

There are three major parts to the ear; the inner ear, the middle ear and the outer ear. All three parts can get their own type of ear infection. The middle ear is the area that most commonly gets infected due to allergies or viruses. Swimmer’s ear, or an outer ear infection, is caused by a buildup of moisture in the ear canal. Swimming, bathing or diving force water up into the ear canal; if the moisture is not fdried properly, or water hangs up behind earwax, an external ear infection can develop. Pain upon pulling on the outside of the ear is a sure sign of Swimmer’s ear. Lastly, inner ear infections occur when viruses climb up the Eustacian tube and infect the inner ear, triggering dizziness or vertigo. The dizziness from inner ear infections are difficult to treat, often lasting weeks, leading to significant school and work absence.

If you think that you may have an ear infection, it is important that you see a doctor and have a thorough examination. If middle ear infections keep coming back, consider allergy as a cause. Come see Dr. Gels for a thorough examination and testing for respiratory allergies. If allergies are present, there is the possibility that allergy injections may help. For more information, or to set up an appointment, visit annapolisallergy.com.

allergies, Annapolis Allergy & Asthma
Written by admin

Allergies don’t Hibernate

Brrr. Winter has arrived. 2019 brought chilly temps, the worst in years. Colds, viruses and the flu came with it. Sneezing? Sniffling? Probably sick, right? But wait. There’s no fever. You don’t feel sick. And you’ve been congested for a long time. Think again. Naturally, we’re indoors much more of the time these days. And although this increases exposure to viruses, it also means heavier exposure to indoor allergens. Repetitive sneezing and persistent congestion likely is a sign of allergies, or more precisely, allergic rhinitis, the term for nasal allergies.

We all are familiar with windborne pollinating plants releasing pollen during certain times of the year, causing seasonal allergic rhinitis, responsible for the sneezing in parking lots, on athletic fields and during lawn sales. First, it’s the blooming of trees in the spring, then grass going to seed. There’s a brief lull during the heat of the summer, followed by fall weed pollen, until the first frost when these plants become dormant.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t allergies in the winter; they’re just not seasonal. Mold, dust mites, cockroaches and furry pets are here all the time. We’re exposed to these potential sources of allergies every day, making their effect less noticeable. They are sneaky, creeping up on us more slowly, making those with allergies just as miserable. This is why testing for allergies is essential.

Why wouldn’t I know if I have indoor allergies? One reason is the difference in chemistry between intermittent versus daily exposure. Think of the sudden, brief exposure to a dog at a piano teacher’s house versus living at home with a dog. Occasional exposure to an allergen leads to an abrupt release of histamine from mast cells. This causes immediate itching, sneezing, tearing, runny nose, swelling within minutes. Sustained, daily exposure, day in, day out, leads to chronic inflammation over time from leukotrienes, chemokines, interleukins, and other mediators, whose effects occur more slowly over hours and days. There’s less of an obvious histamine response, leading to chronic swelling and inflammation. (That’s also why antihistamines can only do so much, but leave that for another post.)

Reducing allergen exposure isn’t so simple, either. Removing perennial allergens can be difficult. Identify, then remediate mold in basements and damp areas. Repair leaks or moisture may again trigger mold spore following snow melts or with heavy spring rains. Eliminate pests (e.g., roaches). Dust mites cannot survive in air ducts, but prefer bedding and linens, snuggling up to a warm body that also provides their food: sloughed dead skin scales. Wash linens regularly to minimize exposure.

Other allergens may prove more difficult to remove; whether Max is shoved off the bed (again), or Fluffy, the beloved furball simply turns her nose up and moves on to the kitchen, they all leave a trail behind. Tears, saliva, urine skin sweat glands of animals from all contain allergens that stick on surfaces. Several cat allergy proteins, including Fel d 1, actually remain airborne 15-20 minutes after the cat leaves the room. Carpeting, upholstery, draperies, blankets, and pillows act as reservoirs, absorbing allergy proteins. Airborne cat protein even sticks to painted surfaces. Litter boxes, gerbil and hamster cages all are sources of allergens.

Dry winter conditions also exacerbate non-allergic rhinitis. Nostrils act as filters, collecting fine dust particles. Fireplaces and pellet stoves can emit smoke and fine particles, recycling throughout the house through forced air heating. Adding moisture with a humidifier may reduce this, and certainly helps irritated mucous membranes, but be vigilant for mold growth in the base of the humidifier.

Contact us at Annapolis Allergy & Asthma for evaluation and treatment of perennial or seasonal allergens; let us help you enjoy life more fully!

Copyright Duane Gels 2019

Allergies, Asthma, Allergy Injections
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Asthma and Allergies

When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.” The American Lung Association

26 million Americans live with asthma, a chronic disease with chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing. It is one of the leading causes of school and work absence. Allergies also can be very disruptive; resultant congestion, itching, sneezing and sinus disease contribute to poor performance, low productivity and overall decreased quality of life. With asthma, constriction and inflammation of the bronchial tubes are present, making it difficult to breathe. These two conditions are often seen together because allergies are a common cause of asthma.   An allergist is a physician who can determine whether asthma is present, and if so, whether allergies are involved. Pollen, mold, dust mites, animals, cockroaches all can act as “allergens”, triggering allergies that can easily lead to life-threatening asthma.

Allergists often act as detectives, analyzing clues. Seasonal allergy and asthma can be triggered by the seasonal variation of tree, grass or weed pollen. Important perennial allergens include mold, dust mites, and beloved household pets. Sometimes symptoms are brought on by non-allergic irritants, such as environmental tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust fumes, perfumes, candles or changes in temperature. For example, exercise-induced asthma can be triggered by physical activity from rapidly inhaling dry, cooler air. 

Both asthma and allergies can be managed by careful interpretation of individualized allergy tests and applying the results to the specific home and work environment. Identifying and reducing allergen exposure is a good first step. Prudent use of the right combination of medication controls inflammation and usually improves the quality of life. However, in the cases of stubborn symptoms due to obligatory exposure to allergens, patients are looking for a more durable or permanent solution. (such as dogs and cats) Allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots) can provide dramatic, long term relief, often without medication, by eliminating the underlying allergies that cause the problem. Immunotherapy enables those working outdoors on tolerating pollen, K-9 officers to handle their dogs, and families to live with their pets.  

How do allergy injections work?

 Allergies are caused by an overreactive immune system. Harmless particles trigger an overly aggressive response by white blood cells just under the skin and mucous membranes. Injections bypass these cells and deliver harmless allergens to more complex immune cells which regulate and turn off this destructive allergic response. Immunotherapy injections are very precise, safe, and only affect the specific immune response to the ingredients contained in the serum. Evidence-based clinical literature has shown that nuances of dose, frequency, and formulation can make the difference between effective and ineffective allergy treatment. Dr. Duane Gels, a board-certified allergist and director at Annapolis Allergy & Asthma, has successfully treated thousands of allergic patients with customized, effective allergy immunotherapy over 25 years.  The knowledge and experience of his team to appropriately use this technique adjust the immune system and provide long-lasting results. Come be evaluated by the knowledgeable and experienced team at Annapolis Allergy and Asthma and experience relief!

Allergy Tips

A quality, low-allergen lifestyle can be achieved by following your allergist’s action plan.                                       

Asthma and Allergies can be triggered by poor indoor air quality, so change your A/C filters frequently. 

Have your heating/AC ducts cleaned frequently as, over time, dust and other allergens accumulate within the system.

Be aware of environmental weather extremes, as outdoor exercise can trigger asthma and other respiratory conditions

Identify your specific allergies, and minimize exposure in your home. Dust, mold/mildew, animal dander all may contribute.

Use of daily nasal saline rinse, such as a NetiPot can be beneficial to flush out allergens.

Over the counter antihistamines, decongestants and nasal corticosteroids to control nasal congestion and discharge.

Beware of addictive nasal decongestant sprays; after several days of use, rebound congestion often develops. 

Learn your specific allergens: if pollen allergic, stay indoors on dry, windy, high pollen days. Close your windows when the pollen count is high.  Remove and wash your clothes; wash hair before bed, as static can attract pollen.  

In conclusion, there are medical diagnostic and treatment options for asthma and allergies. With patient commitment and confidence with their professional medical doctor, one can resume and enjoy daily activities. Come visit the specialists at Annapolis Allergy & Asthma to determine what allergies you may have. We will help you develop a management plan that works for you. Call us today at 410-573-1600.

Copyright Duane Gels 2019

Asthma, Allergies, ANNAPOLIS, MD
Written by Page Anderson

What causes asthma?

The exact causes of asthma aren’t clear, but there are factors that contribute to the development of asthma. According to the American Lung Association, asthma does tend to run in families; however, both inherited and environmental factors do play key roles.  

Risk Factors 

If your parents have or had asthma, you are more likely to have asthma as well. Similarly, if a parent has allergies, their children are more likely to have allergies. Respiratory infections during infancy and early childhood may damage delicate lung tissue, which can have long-term effects on lung function.   Exposure to allergens, irritants and viral infections during infancy or early childhood can compromise the developing immune system. This type of exposure has been linked to asthma. Adults may develop asthma after exposure to chemicals or dust in the workplace. 

You won’t be surprised to learn that smoking and pollution also have negative effects on health and can trigger asthma. You may not be aware of one other contributing factor in the development of asthma: obesity. Both children and adults who are overweight are more likely to suffer from asthma. This group also tends to take more medication and have a more difficult time managing their condition than people of a healthy weight. 

Diagnosis 

Asthma often presents as a nagging cough, periodic shortness of breath or wheezing, but even having these alone doesn’t mean you necessarily have asthma. You need to be diagnosed by a physician to confirm the condition. The doctor will take a complete health history and administer tests such as spirometry. This test measures lung function by measuring how quickly and how much air you blow out.  

Treatment 

Just as types of asthma vary between different people, asthma  treatment needs to be tailored to the individual. There are now a dizzying array of new medications – some in combination, many of which available as inhalers – effective on all types of asthma. They tend to fall into two groups: those used for short-term, quick-relief, and others which provide more long-term control. It’s important to understand why and when to use each.  

Traditionally, fast-acting bronchodilators are necessary to rapidly relax muscle spasms choking your airways from the outside, giving immediate, though temporary, relief. Anti-inflammatory medications work more slowly to cut down the stubborn swelling and mucus  within airways, which builds more slowly from viruses and allergies. Both types of medications are important as part of an overall management plan. 

However, within the last few years, recent advances in technology have led to exciting, new biologic therapies that are now changing the way we treat targeting specific types of asthma.  Come visit the specialists at Annapolis Allergy & Asthma who determine if and which type of asthma you have, and will help you develop a management plan that works for you. Call us today at 410-573-1600.

Written by Page Anderson

New Treatments for Asthma

Asthma is an increasingly common health problem in the United States. Asthma is a swelling and tightening of the airways that presents itself in the form of wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. There are multiple reasons for this. One source is outdoor air quality. Smog and smoke, industrial waste released into the air and carbon emissions from cars all add to the problem. The quality of indoor air is also an issue. Buildings that have repurposed air tend to have lower air quality, even with the most effective air filters.

Asthma is not curable, but it can be controlled. Inhaled corticosteroids are one regularly used treatment. The aim of all asthma treatments is to provide long-term control as an intervention for prevention of symptoms, offer quick relief if an individual is having an asthma attack and identifying triggers in order to prevent future asthma attacks.

The most common remedies include medications that prevent the onset of asthma. In the case of an ongoing attack, there are quick acting medicines that stop or lessen the severity of an asthma attack.

New interventions include:

• Biologics. These are medications that enhance and work with the immune system, preventing the airways from expanding and causing a shortness of breath. These are antibiotics with antibodies. Some can be ingested orally, and others are given via an injection.
• Bronchial thermoplasty. When asthma is too severe, it may require a surgical intervention such as bronchial thermoplasty. In this case, the airways are targeted by radiofrequency energy. Interestingly the aim is to destroy smooth muscle linings in the airways. This prevents the airway muscles from performing their normal function of constricting and expanding, ultimately expanding the opening by preventing its narrowing. The current protocol calls for three sessions that are given in three-week intervals.

Research is ongoing in the search for preventive measures and cures for asthma. A recent new pharmaceutical has been introduced – the first in two decades – that shows great promise. The end goal is to wipe out asthma in our lifetime.

If you are struggling with asthma, contact the professionals at Annapolis Allergy & Asthma. We are experienced in helping patients cope with and find relief from asthma symptoms.

Written by Page Anderson

Heating Sources and Asthma

Indoor air quality is one of the most common triggers for allergies and asthma. Unfortunately in many climates, over 26 million children and adults have no choice but to breathe in recycled air indoors because the climate does not allow for the flow of fresh air through the home. Statistics confirm that asthma attacks peak during the winter months. The reasons are part temperature change and part use of heating systems where dust has been piling up for months.

Temperature drops directly instigate decreased lung function in persons with asthma. Airborne dust and other pollutants in heating ducts are also to blame. Two direct interventions include nose breathing versus mouth breathing and having your home airway ducts cleaned regularly. Let’s consider the latter idea at greater length.

The EPA has weighed in on the best way to ensure your ducts are clean. They suggest you interview several duct cleaning companies prior to choosing a firm. You should be confident that the company you hire meets the National Air Duct Cleaners Association standards. Anyone with asthma or other breathing issues should become familiar with them.
The standards can be found at this website:

https://nadca.com/resources/nadca-standards-publications

According to the Environmental Protection Agency you should insist on a service that uses negative pressure to extract pollutants from the home during the cleaning process. They should also be able to identify ducts that cannot be cleaned and those that may contain asbestos. Fiberglass lining requires special attention during air duct cleaning as well.

Ultimately you may want to consider purchasing and installing a whole-house air filtration system that automatically eliminates dust and other types of particles throughout the entire heating system. These systems have been found to eliminate irritants year-round in all types of weather, addressing a variety of allergens, pollens, and other irritants. There are also a number of room air purifiers that are effective as well.

If you have more questions about allergy and asthma interventions, contact the professionals at Annapolis Allergy & Asthma. Our expert professionals are available to answer your questions and offer advice.

ATTENTION CENTREVILLE SHOT PATIENTS;

Our Tuesday and Thursday afternoon shot hours have  changed. We will still have morning hours 8:30-11:30 but our afternoon hours will now be 3:00- 5:30

Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.

CHANGES TO SHOT HOURS IN CENTREVILLE OFFICE:

OCTOBER 29 2019- NO MORNING SHOT HOURS

OCTOBER 31 2019-8:30AM-11:30AM/1:00PM-2:30PM