All posts by CharlestonAllergy

Antibiotics and Asthma

Your baby is sick with a cold. The coughing and sniffling has made it difficult for anyone in the house to get a good night’s sleep. Your doctor examines your baby and confirms there is no ear infection and no sign of pneumonia. This is an acute respiratory infection caused by a viral infection that is best treated with rest, fluids, and time. “But Doctor,” you ask, “aren’t you going to prescribe antibiotics?”

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Allergies During the Holiday Season

Sneezing through “the most wonderful time of the year?” Well, there is a very good reason for that, allergy and asthma triggers are everywhere, including your holiday decorations. And as it gets colder, we tend to stay indoors and curl up with a fire, a warm blanket and dust mites. No one wants to miss out on all the holiday cheer, so here are few tips and tricks to get you through the festivities without your nose looking like Rudolf’s.

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Does your child have a poor appetite? Reflux? Not growing? It could be EoE.

Eosinophillic Esophagitis (EoE) is an inflammatory disorder which makes up a set of the eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders. This condition is characterized by infiltration of the wall of the esophagus with a type of white blood cell, eosinophil.  EoE can develop at any age and commonly occurs in individuals with a past history of atopic diseases including allergic rhinitis, food allergy, atopic dermatitis, and asthma. Presenting symptoms in children usually include abdominal pains, vomiting, disinterest in eating, and failure to thrive. Presenting symptoms in adolescents and adults can include heartburn, difficulty swallowing, and most frequently, food impaction. Symptoms of EoE can be similar to those of gastroesophageal reflux but typically with the EoE, aggressive reflux therapy with proton pump inhibitors is usually ineffective in completely controlling symptoms.

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Sublingual Immunotherapy is Coming to the United States

The FDA has recently approved the first formulations of Sublingual Immunotherapy in the United States.  Currently approved are two different formulations one for grass allergy and one for ragweed.  It is likely that a formulation to treat dust mite allergy will also be approved in a couple of years.  These come in the form of a dissolvable tablet that is placed under the tongue daily.  Similar to allergy shots, sublingual immunotherapy exposes patients to the substances which they are allergic to in a way to decrease their sensitivity over time.

Who would benefit from these Sublingual Immunotherapy Tablets?

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Allergens You May Not Be Aware Of

In the allergy world, we are pretty savvy as to pollen, dust mites, mold, but this article from CNN Health brings to light some allergens that you may not be aware of…and yes, we treat those too! If it looks like a rash and it itches, it just might Contact Dermatitis which is an allergic response that stems from someone touching something or coming into contact with an allergen.

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Deadly Fire Ant Attacks Becoming Major Problem in the Southeast


Days ago a 12-year-old boy from Texas died due to a severe allergic reaction to fire ant bites. The boy was attacked while warming up for the second half of a football game and eventually fell unconscious before being taken to the hospital. In July, 2013, a Georgia woman age 65 also passed away due to a severe allergic reaction to the same type of fire ant venom. After being bitten by the pool at her condo, she fell into anaphylactic shock and died in a hospital days later from complications.

Allergy to fire ants has become an increasing problem in the Southeast as these imported insects become more widespread.  Fire ants are actually native of South America, having spread to the Southeastern United States in the early to mid 1900s.  Currently fire ants can be found throughout the Southeastern United States up to the Mason Dixon line and in western states including New Mexico and  Arizona. These aggressive ant species have almost completely eradicated native ant species in the Southeast.

Fire ants are ubiquitous in both rural and city areas, with estimated current sting rate for fire ants in the low country area approximately 30% of the population per year!

How do fire ant attacks occur?

Fire ants bite with their jaws and while holding on with jaws, will repeatedly sting with abdominal stinger.  The sting area will usually develop a sterile pustule within 3-4 hours of sting but this pustule may not be visible immediately after sting.  Reactions can range from local painful reactions, particularly if multiple stings, to more severe systemic reactions including anaphylaxis.  Fire ant sting deaths have been reported in both humans and livestock in the Southeast.

If the patient develops a generalized anaphylactic reaction to fire ant with symptoms including hives, swelling, flushing, itching, vomiting, and respiratory difficulty, they should be evacuated immediately to an emergency room.  Epinephrine should be given immediately if available. Epinephrine is the only drug that can reverse a serious life-threatening reaction to fire ant stings.

How can someone prevent this from happening?

If the patient has allergies to fire ants confirmed by allergy testing, they can receive allergy extract immunotherapy – a therapy which can prevent future life-threatening reactions.  All patients with fire ant allergy should have an EpiPen or Auvi-Q automatic epinephrine injection device available when outdoors. A variety of insecticides have been used for fire ant eradication however all of these insecticides are only transiently effective and at present, we are certainly not winning the battle to control the spread of these dangerous insects.

via Post and Courier

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Charleston Ranked 26th Worst for Fall Allergies

While Charleston is certainly a scenic, beautiful place to live, it can be tough on the allergies this time of year.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranks Charleston as the 26th-most-challenging city to live in with allergies this fall. The report is based on pollen levels, use of allergy medications per patient, and the number of allergists per patient.

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