Allergic Conditions

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Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic Rhinitis is the medical term for allergy affecting the mucous membrane of the nose.  Seasonal allergic rhinitis is often called hay fever, while year-round nasal allergy is called perennial allergic rhinitis.  People with allergic rhinitis often think they have “sinus trouble.”  Most people develop allergic rhinitis before age 30.

Nonallergic Rhinitis

Nonallergic Rhinitis is a condition that goes by other names as well.  Some physicians call it vasomotor rhinitis.  This is a condition of unknown cause.  It is often confused with allergy because it produces similar symptoms.  Many patients refer to the symptoms caused by chronic nonallergic rhinitis as “sinus” or “sinus trouble.”   However, in most instances, the sinuses are really not involved.  The problem is one of the tissues in the nose rather than those in the sinuses.


Sinusitis is the term for sinus infection.  Acute sinus infection can cause facial pain and colored discharge from the nose.  Chronic sinus infection is more subtle and could present as cough or asthma.  Often, sinusitis can only be diagnosed by x-ray or CT scan.


Asthma is defined by the following:

  1. Inflammation – The lungs are “on fire” due to inflammation (not infection).   Chronic asthma is like arthritis of the lungs.  Many white blood cells (eosinophils) flood the lung tissue and the airways.
  2. Reversible bronchoconstriction -The airways narrow as smooth muscle contracts around the airways. In most asthma, this constriction is reversible.
  3. Hyperreactivity -The surface of the airways is very sensitive and over reactive to many different triggers.
  4. Airways remodeling – Inflammation tries to scar the lungs and limit its capacity overtime.

Immunologic Problems

Some people prone to recurrent infections or certain blood disorders can have problems with their immune or defense system other than allergy.  We have the capability to test the different branches of the immune system.


Urticaria is also known as hives.  This problem results from a swelling of the blood vessels in your skin and immediately beneath the skin.  This is accompanied by a leakage of the fluid from the blood vessels.  The fluid produces the swelling.  When the swelling is deeper in the skin this is known as angioedema. Many cases of urticaria/angioedema last briefly and do not recur.  Chronic urticaria, however, can wax and wane for long periods of time.  In many people, chronic urticaria is caused by an immunologic reaction in the skin.  Antihistamines are used initially to control hives until they run their course. Thankfully, other treatments have emerged that can be highly effective if antihistamines fail.

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a disorder that involves itching, rashes, scaling and redness of the skin.  Allergic eczema, allergic dermatitis, and atopic eczema are other names for AD.  The exact cause of AD is unknown, but often triggers of AD can be identified.  Most AD is associated with allergies but allergies do not cause the skin problem.  One percent of all people and up to 5% of children are affected by AD.  AD can be a chronic and relapsing problem.  However, with proper diagnosis and management most AD can be controlled.[/toggles

[toggles title="Anaphylaxis"  icon="icon-cloud-download"]Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is usually rapid in onset. It typically causes more than one or more of the following: an itchy rash, throat or tongue swelling, shortness of breath, vomiting, lightheadedness, low blood pressure. The reaction can lead to death.

Common causes include insect bites and stings, foods, and medications.  There are other causes, as well, such as latex exposure and exercise.  Many cases are unexplained. Anaphylaxis of unknown cause is called idiopathic anaphylaxis.


An allergic that is triggered by a bite of the lone star tick and can cause a reaction to ingestion of any type of red meat. The reaction is usually delayed and presents 2-8 hours after eating the meat. The allergy reaction can present in a variety of ways but usually as hives, angioedema and/or anaphylaxis.