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Anaphylactic Shock

Anaphylactic Shock
Anaphylactic Shock

Anaphylactic shock is classified as one of the most dangerous and life-threatening allergic reactions. Considerable decrease in blood pressure reduces the oxygen level within the brain. Besides, the condition is frequently accompanied by lung inflammation that results in devastating shortness of breath. A combination of these symptoms can be deadly. Anaphylaxis is a nasty allergic reaction that affects more than one organ and body system. While a typical allergic reaction can trigger wheezing and itching in the lungs, anaphylactic reaction will activate a mix of uncommon symptoms.

There are only two main ways to claim someone experiences an anaphylactic shock. Firstly, you can identify common symptoms of the condition. Secondly, you can identify exposure to allergens, activating the signs of anaphylactic shock.

Symptoms of Anaphylactic Shock

Most importantly, anaphylactic shock is an allergic reaction. Its identification depends on the following symptoms:

● Wheezing;
● Redness;
● Itching;
● Blotchy skin.

A usual allergic reaction becomes anaphylaxis in case an allergy starts affecting more than a single body system. For instance, wheezing together with itching serve an indicator of anaphylaxis development. Anaphylaxis turns to be anaphylactic shock the moment a patient feels considerable blood pressure reduction or its symptoms:

● Pale skin;
● Confusion;
● Unconsciousness;
● Weakness.

Shortness of breath is another important symptom of anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock. Breathing problems do not always occur during anaphylactic episodes, though, generally, they are great indicators of allergy transference to anaphylaxis. Here are the telltale symptoms to look for:

● Pursed lip breathing;
● Using neck muscles in order to breathe;
● Problems saying more than 1-2 words;
● Gasping for breath;
● Sitting with hands on knees or straight up.

Defining the Allergen

It is much easier to identify anaphylactic shock in case its allergen is known. For example, people, who are allergic to bee stings, will surely know they have been stung. However, sometimes, a patient is not aware of the allergen triggering the condition, thus, he/she just experiences anaphylaxis development. People, who have previously had allergic reactions, especially severe ones, should know the triggers, which can activate further condition aggravation.

The situation can help you figure out if this is anaphylaxis. Patients that are allergic to foods have higher chances to experience anaphylactic shock while eating.

Possible Treatments of Anaphylactic Shock

After you have identified the reaction, further treatment will depend on severity of the reaction. The therapy for usual allergic reaction presupposes preventing the reaction development into anaphylaxis. It can be achieved with Benadryl. On the other hand, Epinephrine can be required for treatment of both anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock.

Allergy to Eye Drops and Contact Lenses

Allergy to Eye Drops and Contact Lenses
Allergy to Eye Drops and Contact Lenses

Once you are among millions of people, who suffer from seasonal allergic reactions, you may be rather miserable during allergy seasons, especially if you wear contact lenses. Not just allergens, like ragweed and pollens, are attracted to contact lenses, so being aware of the products, which are safe for your eyes and contacts, can be quite confusing.
Most commonly, eye allergies trigger devastating symptoms, such as swelling, tearing, redness, burning, itching and others.

However, the good news is that people wearing contact lenses and suffering from eye allergies have an opportunity to treat the symptoms effectively and fast.

Eye Allergy Solutions

Generally, treatment of eye allergy presupposes nasal sprays, antihistamines and topical allergy eye drops. An overwhelming majority of allergy eye drops, including prescription Optivar and Pataday, as well as over-the-counter Zaditor, can be safely used with soft contact lenses. According to the prescription information, you should use eye drops when not wearing contact lenses. Then you need to wait for over 10 minutes and insert the lenses back. The reason for such a difficult procedure is preventing benzalkonium chloride and anti-bacterial preservative from getting absorbed by the lenses.

Definitely, it is inevitable to make sure that eye irritation and redness are caused by allergy, not as a reaction to certain infection or contact lenses. Once you cannot define it on your own, you can consult your doctor.

Other Ways to Decrease Eye Irritation

Additionally, there are other specific ways to decrease discomfort and nasty symptoms during allergy season:

• Replace lenses with glasses. Even if you prefer wearing contact lenses, you should be more comfortable using glasses during the allergy season.

• Keep moisture. Use artificial tears regularly to rinse out allergens and soothe your eyes. Nevertheless, select products, which mirror your natural tears over the ones that claim to decrease redness. Redness-relieving eye drops decrease only the appearance of redness.

• Turn into a clean freak. Being ultimately vigilant about cleaning routine is vital during the allergy season. Besides, it will help you minimize irritation and prevent allergens from getting into lenses.

• Do not scratch. Despite it is hard to do, you need to resist the temptation to scratch or rub your eyes, since it can contribute to irritation. Cool compress can relieve itching and soothe your skin.

• Shower before sleep. Washing out allergens before bedtime decreases your exposure.

Immunity to Allergy Meds: Is It Possible?

Immunity to Allergy Meds: Is It Possible?
Immunity to Allergy Meds: Is It Possible?

Many patients ask their doctors whether they can develop an immunity to their allergy meds. Usually it happens so that people become immune to certain drugs after months or even years, and then they just stop working, which forced them to switch to other medicines. So is it actually possible?

Immunity and Drug Overuse

Sometimes when overused, certain medications may stop working as the human’s body starts producing less of the receptor for this med. People who overuse albuterol, the medicine effective in treating asthma, encounter that. However, it’s still unclear whether nasal sprays and antihistamines stop working.

Studies show that both children and adults note the lack of effectiveness when using allergy medications. 2 out of 3 adults say that they have stopped administering an allergy drug because it just stopped working within several months. Around 20% of adults say they have switched to another medication because the previous one stopped working for them. Concerning children, they also experience the loss of effectiveness of allergy medications, with 1 in 4 needing to switch to other nasal sprays on a regular basis and around 10% of them changing their allergy meds during the last year.

However, the question still remains: Do people develop an immunity to allergy drugs, making the medicine stop working? Basically, it’s pretty doubtful. But, surely, people may start thinking that the med loses its effectiveness over time, and this fact forces them to try something new.

So Why Allergy Medicines Stop Working?

If you suddenly feel that your allergy medicine has become less effective, the reason may be in your allergy symptoms that can either change or even become worse.

When evaluating the effectiveness of your medication, think about your symptoms and compare them to the ones you had when you have just started using this drug. A medication that worked for you some time ago, for instance, an antihistamine for itchy nose and sneezing, will not be of great help if you have the symptoms of nasal congestion. That is why it is vital to identify your allergy symptoms before resorting to a particular medicine.

Some people may even need more than one drug to control their symptoms of allergy – if mild symptoms that were controlled by one drug worsen or become uncontrolled, other medications may be prescribed by your healthcare provider. For instance, if you take an oral antihistamine to control such symptoms as itching and sneezing, you might as well benefit from any oral decongestant in case your nasal congestion becomes a bigger problem.

Anaphylaxis as Severe Health Condition

Anaphylaxis as Severe Health Condition
Anaphylaxis as Severe Health Condition

Anaphylaxis is a serious form of allergy triggered by medications, insect stings and foods. Additionally, there are other, less common triggers of the condition. However, the issue features a sudden onset and life-threatening development.

Symptoms of Anaphylaxis

The signs of the condition can vary greatly, depending on a person and peculiarities of his/her health state. The exact reason of individual symptoms is not known. However, among the two top common anaphylaxis symptoms are angioedema and urticaria or hives. These signs appear in more than 90% of anaphylactic reactions. Then, respiratory symptoms occur in over 70% of patients. Shortness of breath, wheezing and similar respiratory disorders are ultimately common in people with chronic lung disorders including COPD and asthma. Other signs of anaphylaxis are lightheadedness, decreased blood pressure, dizziness or even passing out.

Hives are exclusively popular, with over 20% of people being affected by it during their lifetime. They are raised itchy bumps, which can be skin- or red-colored. Pressing down on the hive, you will notice how it blanches and turns white. Relieving pressure allows them to return to their usual color.

Similar to hives, angioedema involves swelling. However, in angioedema, swelling is under the skin surface, so it can influence other organs and soft tissues, including trachea and wind pipe.

Generally, the condition can affect diverse body parts and can presuppose specific symptoms to the impacted organ:

• Nervous system – anxiety, confusion, feeling doom;

• Eyes – advanced tears, irritation, swelling of the surrounding skin, redness, itching;

• Circulatory and cardiac symptoms – decreased blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, feeling like passing out;

Skin – itching, angioedema, hives, flushing;

• Lung – wheezing, chest tightness, breathing complications;

• Nose – sneezing, congestion, runny nose;

• Throat – hoarseness, choking or throat swelling;

• Oral – strange taste, tongue swelling.

Reasons of Anaphylaxis Occurrence

Anaphylaxis triggers are frequently obvious, especially when the symptoms appear right after the contact or ingestion with specific substance. Nevertheless, they can also be difficult to identify. The so-called traditional or common anaphylaxis triggers include:

• Exercise – in rare condition anaphylaxis appears after initiating the workout or other physical activities. It is more peculiar of vigorous forms of activities, mainly dancing, running or bicycling. However, the condition has been claimed to develop even with less vigorous sports, such as yard work performance, walking, etc.;

• Foods – the most common foods triggering the signs of anaphylaxis include tree nuts, peanuts, soy, fish, crustaceans, wheat and others. However, any food can serve the reason of condition development;

• Insect bites and stings – venom bites and stings from insects, such as yellow jackets, hornets, bees, fire ants, scorpions, wasps and others can lead to anaphylaxis;

• Medications – antibiotics (e.g. cephalosporins and penicillins), common OTC pain drugs, analgesics (e.g. Ibuprofen and Aspirin), as well as a range of other pharmaceuticals can activate the symptoms of anaphylaxis. Certain people can develop the condition after immunizations and medications, like anesthetics;

• Latex – peculiarly rubber found in balloons, support equipment, gloves, condoms and medical equipment can lead to condition occurrence.

Risk Factors for Anaphylaxis Development

Definitely, not all the people are at the same risk of anaphylaxis development. Once you have previously had certain reactions to some substances, you are more likely to experience anaphylaxis in the future.

Nevertheless, your past response to some substance cannot serve the reason for future response. If you have got mild reactions in the past, you can either not get the reaction in the future, or get a severe one instead. People with chronic lung diseases are at a higher risk of devastating symptoms development during anaphylactic reaction.

How Doctor Can Diagnose the Condition

Anaphylaxis is a medical diagnosis, which is based mainly on symptoms and feelings that occur after exposure to specific triggers, such as medications, insect bites or foods.

After you have reported all the symptoms of anaphylaxis, your doctor may schedule further testing or evaluation. These may include different procedures, such as skin testing and similar ones.

Besides, there is a range of disorders, which can mimic anaphylaxis. For instance, severe panic attack, asthma attack, heart attack and related conditions can activate the same symptoms, as during anaphylactic reaction. Your healthcare provider may want to exclude specific conditions, depending on your physical exam, medical history and clinical course.

How Can Anaphylaxis Be Treated?

The condition should be diagnosed and treated as medical emergency due to its possible life-threatening symptoms. Once you have an epinephrine injector, you may need to use it the moment you have noticed the first symptoms.

Epinephrine is the single effective anaphylaxis treatment. Medications, such as antihistamines, can only relieve symptoms, including itching and hives, while asthma inhalers will eliminate respiratory signs.

Then, another inevitable step in anaphylaxis treatment is removing allergens. It is a well-known fact that allergic reactions will last as long as the allergen interferes with the body. For the insect sting you need to remove the stinger the first possible moment. Once the allergen is topical, you need to wash your skin thoroughly. In case the drug or food has been ingested, you just need to stop using it.

After you have got epinephrine injection, you need to go to the emergency room for evaluation. Doctors and nurses will monitor your condition and provide further treatment.

If you experience anaphylactic episode, you need to see your allergist, since they specialize in evaluating and treatment of similar conditions. An allergist will likely tell you to perform blood tests and skin testing to diagnose whether you have true allergy and select a proper treatment course.

Depending on test results and previous anaphylaxis episodes, an allergist may advise you take either corticosteroids or antihistamines as a key treatment for future attacks. Immunotherapy and other measures can also be recommended in order to prevent further episodes.

How to Avoid Anaphylaxis Triggers?

Striving to prevent anaphylaxis, you need to avoid its triggers, when they are identified. Nevertheless, some triggers, such as foods can be quite difficult to avoid.

• Medications – you need to understand that one and the same active ingredient can be produced under various names and by diverse manufacturers. Thus, it is inevitable to learn a list of available medications, similar to the one, which has caused an anaphylactic reaction;

• Food – you need to eliminate products from your diet, which trigger anaphylaxis. Learn to read food labels and become hyper vigilant about consulting about makeup and cooking of foods you eat not at home;

• Insect stings and bites – wear protective clothes to prevent anaphylaxis caused by insect bites. This presupposes long-sleeved clothing, closed shoes, hats. Do not drink from open containers when outdoors, etc.

How Sleep Apnea Can Interfere with Asthma

How Sleep Apnea Can Interfere with Asthma
How Sleep Apnea Can Interfere with Asthma

Sleep apnea, or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, is a process, which is provoked by repeated episodes of the upper airway closing during sleep. The result of such process is reduction of oxygen and airflow to the lungs. This can trigger the development of low oxygen levels within the bloodstream, frequent night-time awakening and gasping episodes.

The vast majority of people, who are diagnosed with sleep apnea, stop breathing during sleep, snore loudly and have episodes coughing, gasping, gagging and choking.

Frequently, a person is not aware of waking up several times during the night. Consequently, he/she does not know about breathing troubles. However, such episodes lead to restless sleep and further daytime sleepiness and fatigue, irrespective of how many hours a person has been in bed.

While a considerable number of people suffer from the condition, who are not asthmatic, results of studies have proven that people with accompanying asthma have a higher risk for sleep apnea. Besides, they claim that sleep apnea can aggravate the symptoms and overall condition. For example, sleep apnea advances acid reflux that can influence obesity, causing a reduced airflow in the lungs. Inflammations throughout the body and other complications can be activated by the condition.

Various Ways Sleep Apnea Can Contribute to Asthma Symptoms

Acid reflux during sleep is proven to trigger and worsen the signs of night-time asthma. Sleep apnea can activate or aggravate acid reflux by reducing the sphincter muscles ability to keep acid within the stomach.

In addition, sleep apnea can cause a boost in the number of unnecessary and dangerous inflammatory chemicals in the blood stream that worsens the lung inflammation, which is caused by asthma. Such inflammation chemicals contribute to obesity and weight gain that stimulates the development of further asthma complications.

Due to the fact that the airflow gets decreased during sleep apnea, it leads to reduced oxygen levels within the strain on the heart and bloodstream. Narrowing of the airways will also activate increased contraction and irritation of smooth muscles around the airways, specifically in people with asthma. Consequently, the symptoms of the disorder will aggravate.

Sleep Apnea Solutions

The first and the most preferred therapy for obstructive sleep apnea treatment is continuous positive airway pressure. CPAP presupposes a patient to wear a special mask during sleep, which provides a permanent stream of pressurized air in order to keep the airways open. Another effective sleep apnea solution is called Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. This is a surgical procedure that is used as treatment of multiple ailments. However, most commonly it is performed for patients with sleep apnea. It involves taking out the uvula, part of the soft palate and tonsils. The procedure is recommended only for people, who are not obese or overweight. Nevertheless, many people end up performing CPAP therapy, even after UPPP.

It is inevitable to mention that you need to get proper diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea before CPAP. Consult your physician to avoid severe complications as a result of incorrect CPAP. But, used under the supervision of a professional doctor, CPAP helps reverse many devastating influences of sleep apnea. Besides, the procedure can improve acid reflux, prevent the release of inflammatory chemicals and other issues caused by sleep apnea.

Scuba Diving for Patients with Asthma

Scuba Diving for Patients with Asthma
Scuba Diving for Patients with Asthma

It is normal for people with asthma to lead active lives, full of sport, entertainment and similar issues. However, they may need to take certain measures and precautions, when being engaged in specific activities, including scuba diving.

Generally, asthma is a chronic inflammatory lung disease, which episodes can trap air deep inside the lungs. As a result, a person feels over-expansion. Nevertheless, the modern pharmaceutical market is filled with various remedies to prevent air-trapping and treat this inflammation.

A range of national and international organizations, which publish special guidelines for asthma treatments, highlight that patients with asthma have a right and ultimate opportunity to lead a full life, active and healthy, including participating in diverse activities and sports.

Scuba Diving and Asthma

With over 5 million certified divers only within the USA and thousands of newly certified people each year, scuba diving is getting an increasingly popular recreational activity among people. At the same time around 5-10% of the world population is diagnosed with asthma, a considerable number of the divers have asthma. However, recently, such people were recommended to avoid scuba diving due to high theoretical risk for the health.

People with asthma are more likely to get into accidents when scuba diving. An ultimate number of asthmatics report air trapping within the lungs that can expand during the ascent to surface. The process would result in rupture of airways within the lungs. In case barotraumas happen in the lungs, air can transfer into blood vessels, stimulating the occurrence of air bubbles, which can lodge in diverse organs, peculiarly, the brain. The most negative consequence possible is air embolism.

Asthma episodes during scuba diving are also possible, since many people experience asthma symptoms aggravation during exercise, with scuba diving being its sub-type. Additionally, scuba divers breathe in dry, compressed, cold air that can also trigger specific complications in asthmatics. Practically, an asthmatic scuba diver cannot use a rescue inhaler, when at significant depth, especially for a long time. The only solution is to ascend to the surface, however, this time and process can make the attack even more severe.

An important issue here is required doctor’s medical clearance primarily to becoming a certified scuba diver. An overwhelming majority of healthcare providers have been reluctant to provide asthmatics with an allowance to scuba dive, mainly considering theoretic considerations. Nevertheless, results of studies on scuba diving accidents have not proven a serious risk for asthmatics to scuba dive. Probably, that is because patients with serious instances of asthma prefer not to dive to avoid the advancement of the condition.

Guidelines for Asthmatic Scuba Divers

Even though the research has not shown danger for scuba divers, a significant number of diving medicine authorities still advise asthmatics to follow certain specifications, including the following:

  • Patients with past or present asthma should consult a medical specialist, who is familiar with dangers of asthma during scuba diving. A doctor should perform spirometry and full physical examination;
  • Asthmatic scuba divers should have normal results of spirometry at rest and in response to exercise challenge that can be performed right at the doctor’s. People with abnormal spirometry test, as well as those, who experience asthma attacks with dry or cold air exposure, are contraindicated for diving;
  • Asthma should be strictly controlled with the help of certain remedies before a person is engaged in scuba diving;
  • A person should avoid scuba diving in case he/she is currently experiencing an advance in asthma symptoms. Besides, people who have needed to take a rescue inhaler within the last several days before the planned dive should not dive.

Cough Causes: Allergies and Other Irritants

Cough Causes: Allergies and Other Irritants
Cough Causes: Allergies and Other Irritants

Cough is one of the most common reasons for primary doctor’s consultation. In certain instances, cough, which has been going for up to three weeks is called “acute cough”. ‘Sub-acute cough” lasts for 3-8 weeks, while “chronic cough” bothers people for over 8 weeks.

Some live with cough for years, even though the reason of its occurrence can be defined in over 90% of cases. Cough therapies are successful in 85% of cases, so the treatment should be aimed not on the improvement of temporary symptoms, but elimination of the underlying cause.

What Can Cause Cough?

The reason of its occurrence depends mainly on how long the symptoms have been bothering you. For instance, the background for acute cough development can differ greatly from the causes of chronic cough. In over 25% of instances, there are minimum two underlying medical conditions, which provoke chronic cough.

Reasons of Acute Cough

On average, it is triggered by one or several conditions, including:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • Common cold;
  • Pertussis;
  • Allergic rhinitis;
  • Acute sinusitis;
  • Non-allergic rhinitis.

As a rule, the reason of acute cough is determined by physical exams and medical history of a patient. Some specialists will recommend decongestant and antihistamine combination as treatment for acute cough, occurring as a result of common cold. More recent antihistamines and decongestants seem to produce no effect.

People, who keep coughing irrespective of the treatment for common cold, usually get a prescription for antibiotics treating sinusitis, as a possible reason for the condition. Children tend to have cough as the main symptom of sinus infection.

Patients with underlying COPD can have exacerbations with advance in shortness of breathing, cough, mucus production change, wheezing and others. Antibiotics are typically recommended for patients with acute cough.

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is one of the severest episodes, frequently accompanied by vomiting. Treating the complication with antibiotics can be helpful, but only in case you have started the intake right after the infection started. Otherwise, cough can turn chronic and last for several weeks.

Rhinitis can also trigger the condition, which is associated with post-nasal drip. Allergic rhinitis may respond to different allergy treatments, while its non-allergic form will get better only after course of decongestants or prescription nasal spray application.

Such conditions as pneumonia, heart failure and pulmonary embolism may also cause acute cough. They are definitely less common, but much more severe underlying reasons.

Possible Reasons of Sub-Acute Cough

The most frequent causes of long-lasting cough (from 3 to 8 weeks) are:

  • Asthma;
  • Acute sinusitis;
  • Post-infectious cough.

Post-infectious cough is a persisting condition, which appears after a viral respiratory tract infection or common cold. Besides, it can serve the result of bronchitis or post-nasal drip. The symptoms can disappear without any treatment or turn into acute sinusitis that requires antibiotics. Some doctors recommend the combination of decongestant with antihistamine used for a week, in order to eliminate the symptoms of the disorder.

If a patient experience accompanying wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and similar symptoms, asthma can serve the reason of cough. Traditional asthma medications will improve the condition considerably.

Usual Causes of Chronic Cough

Cough that lasts for over 8 weeks is called chronic. People can have it for several years, while the treatment can promote no effect. The referral to the pulmonologist or allergist is advised for such patients.

On average, the following condition can launch the development and aggravation of chronic cough, especially:

  • Asthma;
  • Post-nasal drip;
  • Eosinophilic bronchitis;
  • Smoking;
  • ACE inhibitors;
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Experts recommend performing a CAT scan of the sinuses and chest X-ray to get the correct diagnosis. Besides, pulmonologists and allergists will perform special tests for asthma. If chest X-ray results are normal, then the mentioned causes are considered to the causes of chronic cough. The physician will ask you about your medical history and perform specialized physical examination that can give clues to the reason of this chronic condition. In specific instances, it can be inevitable to give trials of the medications, especially if the examination provides no hints.

Among other triggers of chronic cough are:

  • Medications and irritants. Patients, who are exposed to certain irritants during their job, as well as the ones, who smoke, should avoid triggers. Remedies, including ACE inhibitors, can also serve the reason of cough appearance. It can last for over 4 weeks, even after you have stopped ACE inhibitor use.
  • Post-nasal drip. This is considered to be the most common reason of chronic cough. If present in the history, the condition can be treated with antihistamine/decongestant combinations. Once the remedies are of no help, you may need sinus CAT scan to make sure post-nasal drip is not provoked by sinus infection.
  • Asthma. It is the second most usual reason of cough appearance. The condition is frequently accompanied by other symptoms, including wheezing and breathing disorders. Asthma therapy may last for over 2 months.
  • GERD. The fourth most common reason of chronic cough is GERD. A vast majority of patients with this health complication do not even realize they have GERD. The trial treatment may take from several weeks up to months.
  • Eosinophilic bronchitis. Over 13% of patients with a chronic pain have underlying eosinophilic bronchitis. The condition can be easily diagnosed by viewing a patient’s sputum under a microscope. A possible treatment includes trial inhaled steroid, used for 1-2 months.

How to Diagnose Asthma?

How to Diagnose Asthma?
How to Diagnose Asthma?

Asthma is defined as a chronic lung disease, which results in recurrent wheezing episodes, chest heaviness or tightness, coughing and similar symptoms. Patients with asthma experience inflammation of the lung airways that leads to their narrowing. The muscles around the airways turn to be hypersensitive and contract in response to diverse triggers, activating asthma symptoms.

What Contributes to Asthma Aggravation?

According to the studies, there are several types of triggers, which can worsen asthma symptoms. Most commonly, they include respiratory tract infections, exercise, irritants, inhaled allergens, stress, change in the hormone level, strong emotions and others.

How Can Asthma Be Diagnosed?

The symptoms of asthma are suggestive of the diagnosis, especially if the signs improve with the application of inhaled bronchodilators. However, just having asthma symptoms is not a sufficient proof of the condition.

The diagnosis of this medical issue depends on the measurements of reversible airflow obstructions, which is done during spirometry. Once a patient experiences an advanced measurement of lung function (FEV1) after bronchodilator inhalation (12% or 200 mm increase), the doctor can make the diagnosis. FEV1 provides information about how much air can be blown from the lungs within the first seconds of exhalation. If the value boosts after bronchodilator use, it means that the medication has helped to relax the airways and allowed an increased air amount to come out faster. Consequently, the presence of airflow obstruction can be suggested.

There is another point of view, based on the process of kinking a garden hose. If the hose is kinked, the water can still come out. But the moment the garden hose turns unkinked, the water flows much faster. The similar process happens with air that comes out of the lungs much faster in case airflow obstruction is resolved by bronchodilator.

Additionally, it is possible to diagnose asthma using bronchoprovocation, a test, which reduces lung function on spirometry. Patients with asthma usually have an advanced irritability of the lung airways that can trigger a significant drop in the FEV1 as a result of bronchoprovocation. The procedure can be performed with inhalation of treatments, which cause airway muscle contraction, release of allergic substances from the lung mast cells, inhaled cold air or exercise.

A positive challenge that is defined as reduction in the FEV1 (15-20%) is suggestive of asthma, as a positive bronchoprovocation test is also peculiar for people with allergic rhinitis and a recent history of respiratory tract infection. Negative test results can be helpful for excluding asthma possibility.

Similar tests, which can suggest or deny the possibility of asthma, include inflammatory biomarkers (sputum eosinophils and exhaled nitric oxide) and peak flow measurements. These tests cannot diagnose asthma symptoms at present time, though they can be of great help at monitoring asthma in patients diagnosed with the current spirometry.

Thus, asthma can be properly diagnosed only with the help of spirometry, either using diverse bronchoprovocation testing to reduce FEV1 or bronchodilators to advance FEV1. Contact your doctor immediately the moment you have noticed asthma symptoms. Your doctor will define the best way of condition diagnosing. Additionally, you can learn what should be done in case you have been diagnosed with this severe condition.

General Information about the Most Frequent Drug Allergies

General Information about the Most Frequent Drug Allergies
General Information about the Most Frequent Drug Allergies

Around 15-30% of hospitalized patients experience certain unwanted reactions as a result of drug intake. Thus, drug allergy is a rather common condition, which hits a considerable part of the population. Nevertheless, true allergic reactions to remedies account for only 1 in 10 of the drug’s side effects.

People frequently experience allergic reactions to any medication. Some reactions are rather predictable and common, while others can be unpredictable and occur in specific people.

Allergy to Medications

There are certain criteria, which differentiate a true allergic reaction from other adverse medicine reactions. They include:

  • There was no reaction, when you took the treatment for the first time;
  • The reaction differs from ordinary side effects;
  • The reaction resembles anaphylaxis or allergy;
  • Signs of the condition disappear after a few days following the stop of the drug intake.

Symptoms of Immunologic and Allergic Reactions

Skin rashes are typical symptoms of drug allergies. Angioedema and urticaria are also suggested as allergic causes, while sunburn-like reactions, blistering and peeling are considered to be non-allergic immunologic symptoms.

Among other immunologic conditions are:

  • Hepatitis;
  • Fever;
  • Blood disorders;
  • Kidney failure and others.

Allergic Reaction to Penicillin

Around 1 in 10 patients report the history of allergic reaction to penicillin, though less than 10% of such patients really have such an allergy. A real penicillin allergy can trigger devastating health reactions and life-threatening anaphylaxis as a result of the medicine use.

Allergy to Cephalosporins

Serious reactions to a group of antibiotics, called cephalosporins, are less common than to penicillin. Nevertheless, there are certain cases, when penicillin allergy has stimulated the appearance of cephalosporin disorders.

Allergy to NSAIDs

Naproxen, Ibuprofen and Aspirin are the most popular pain relievers, which belong to a group of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Allergic reactions to such treatments can trigger the occurrence of hives, swelling, aggravated asthma symptoms, anaphylaxis and other allergic and non-allergic bouts.

Allergy to IV Contrast Dye

Symptoms of IV contrast dye reaction are non-allergic, though they can trigger anaphylaxis, as a high concentration of dye can lead to release of mast cells contents, mimicking allergic reactions. Nevertheless, in the majority of instances, the dye can be used safely by taking antihistamines or oral steroids several hours before contrast is applied.

Allergy to Local Anesthetics

Real allergies to local anesthetics are ultimately rare and can occur as a reaction to other components in medications, including epinephrine and preservatives.

Non-Allergic Reactions to Anti-Seizure Drugs

Generally, anti-seizure treatments are used for treatment of epilepsy and can cause non-allergic reactions. The condition can appear as a consequence of enzyme deficiency, activating any of the following symptoms:

  • Body aches;
  • Rash;
  • Hepatitis;
  • Fever.

How to Manage Allergic Reaction

It is inevitable to discontinue the medication intake immediately if you have noticed any symptoms, similar to an allergic reaction. Contact your doctor immediately to get further instructions. Seek emergency medical assistance if you have breathing problems or other severe health complications after the medicine use.

Detailed Information about Steroid Allergy

Detailed Information about Steroid Allergy
Detailed Information about Steroid Allergy

Corticosteroids are the medications that are widely used in treatment of diverse inflammatory conditions, including autoimmune and allergic disorders. Such medications are available in multiple forms, including oral, injectable, topical and inhaled. Unlike other formulas, topical hydrocortisone is available OTC in a mild dose. Generally, corticosteroids are used to eliminate the symptoms of allergic reactions, such as allergic rhinitis, asthma, contact dermatitis, angioedema, anaphylaxis, atopic dermatitis, urticaria and reactions to drugs, insect bites and certain foods.

Additionally, these drugs are administered for treatment of autoimmune complications, specifically rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.

Allergies to Topical Corticosteroids

Most frequently topical corticosteroids are used to eliminate the signs of allergic skin reactions, especially contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis, though it can also be applied to the sites of insect bites and stings.
Corticosteroids can also be taken as inhaled medications in order to control asthma symptoms. Besides, it can be administered as an intranasal remedy to eliminate the signs of allergic rhinitis.

Allergic reactions to corticosteroid solutions may be quite difficult to diagnose, as aggravation of skin rash can be determined as worsening of the current condition, rather than an allergic reaction to the ingredients of the corticosteroid.
Intranasal and inhaled corticosteroids can trigger lung and nose irritation in the same way, which is blamed on the aggravating symptoms of allergic asthma or rhinitis. Intranasal and inhaled corticosteroids can stimulate the occurrence of other allergic reactions, including rashes on the body and face.

Patch testing is a dependable way to diagnose an allergic reaction to topical corticosteroids. In addition, a widely available TRUE test and its alternatives can show the reaction to common corticosteroids, including Tixocortol, Budesonide and others. Patch testing can show false results, since an anti-inflammatory reaction promoted by the medication suppresses allergic symptoms.

Allergies to Systemic Corticosteroids

Injection or oral forms of corticosteroids can belong to group of systemic medications, and allergic reactions to such drugs are rare, but if they occur, they can be ultimately dangerous and sometimes even life-threatening. Reactions to systemic corticosteroids can appear immediately or not. Immediate allergic reactions may appear within 30-60 minutes after the medication intake, while their symptoms will include anaphylaxis, asthma signs, angioedema and urticaria.

Instant reactions are caused mainly by IgE antibodies against corticosteroids, additives or preservatives within the medicine. To diagnose systemic corticosteroid allergy, a patient should undergo skin testing and RAST testing. Negative results should be proved by a drug challenge to make sure a patient will not develop allergies.

Non-immediate allergic reactions are mild and do not bear a potential threat to the health of a patient. The first signs of the disorder usually occur within 24-48 hours after the medicine use. Skin rashes and urticaria are the most common signs of allergic reactions.

Patch or skin testing can be performed in order to diagnose non-immediate allergic reactions to systemic corticosteroid, although, proper results of tests can be achieved only after 1-2 days, taking into account delayed nature of the reaction.
Due to a considerable amount of cross-reactivity between different corticosteroids for reactions to systemic and topical medications, testing should be performed with similar remedies to find an optimal corticosteroid, well-tolerated by the body.