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Allergy Shots: Watch Out For These Reactions

Allergy shots are taken to stop or reduce allergy attacks, especially for those people who suffer from frequent allergy attacks. Allergy shots (injections) are taken at regular interval for few years (3 to 5 years). Allergy shots are only long term solution for allergy (other allergy treatment modalities such as use of antihistamines, steroids etc. provide only temporary relief) problems and it is a type immune therapy. Each allergy shot/injection contain minute quantity of allergen (that cause/trigger allergic reaction in you) and the quantity of allergen in each allergy shot is just enough to initiate an immune reaction but cannot cause full blown allergic reaction.
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The dose of allergen is gradually increased over time in each subsequent shots at particular/fixed interval. This gradual increase in allergen in allergy shots helps to desensitize (get used to the allergen) your body against the allergen. This procedure takes time and over few years’ time your body become immune to the effect of allergen and symptoms of allergy diminish when exposed to natural allergen.

What are the possible side effects/reactions of allergy shots?

Majority of individuals taking allergy shots for treating allergy problem usually do not show any reaction or side effects. However, as the allergy shots contain the allergen, it may lead to certain side effects, such as

  • Anaphylaxis: this is the most serious side effect that may occur while taking allergy shots. Anaphylaxis is hypersensitivity reaction and need minute quantity of a substance to produce it. Hence, the minute quantity of allergen present in allergy shot may lead to anaphylaxis, especially during the first allergy shot. Anaphylaxis is a life threatening medical emergency condition and may develop immediately after injection of allergy shot or may be up to 30 minutes late. This is the reason your doctor may ask you to remain at least for 30 minutes after giving you the allergy shot. And this is the reason allergy shot should always be taken in doctor’s office or hospital, where medicines are available to handle the emergency situation.
  • Local reaction at injection site is another problem that may appear after allergy shot. Redness, swelling, irritation at injection site may occur. The reaction may take few hours to appear and disappear on its own thereafter. No specific treatment is generally required for local reactions.
  • Systemic reaction (less common) can occur and are generally more serious. Symptoms of systemic reaction include, hives, sneezing, nasal congestion etc. Serious symptoms include chest discomfort, wheezing, swelling in throat etc. Systemic reaction to allergy shot require medical attention.

Be regular in taking your allergy shots to reduce risk of side effects. Taking antihistamines also help. Most side effects/reactions occur within 30 minutes of injection and generally your doctor ask you to wait for 30 minutes after allergy shot. If you develop reaction after leaving doctor’s office return to your doctor’s office or to nearby emergency medical setup.

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Posted by admin - February 5, 2016 at 14:56

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Precautions You Need to Take Before Allergy Skin Test

Your doctor will ask detailed medical history, signs and symptoms of your current medical problem (for which you want to undergo allergy skin test). Your answer may be useful information for your doctor and help in finding the possible causative agent (allergen) that may be causing problem for you. Certain allergies may run in families and your doctor may determine that based on your history. Additionally your doctor may do physical examination.
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Your doctor will also ask in detail about the medications and supplements you may be taking at present. It is therefore important you bring all the medications you are currently taking, both prescription medications as well as over the counter medications. Many medications can suppress allergic reaction and may interfere with the result of allergy skin test. And there are certain medications that may cause severe allergic reaction during allergy skin test and may give false positive result. Your doctor may ask you to bring the list of all medication you have taken in last 10 days, because different drugs take varying time to clear from your system. The following medications can interfere with allergy skin test:

  • Antihistamines: both prescription antihistamines (levocetirizine, desloratadine etc.) and over the counter antihistamines (diphenhydramine available as Benadryl, fexofenadine available as Allegra, pheniramine, cetirizine etc.) interfere with allergy skin test result.
  • Heart burn medications such as ranitidine (Zantac), cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants such as nortryptaline, desipramine etc.
  • Certain anti-asthma drugs such as omalizumab. This medication can interfere allergy skin test results for 6 months or more after taking the last dose and your doctor may ask specifically about this medication.

Result of your allergy skin test:

The allergy skin test result by skin prick test and intradermal injection will be known before you live your doctor’s office. However, for patch test it may take a few days to get the final result as the result is delayed by at least 48 hours.

A positive allergy skin test result indicate that you may be allergic to a particular substance. The bigger the measurement of wheal, the greater is the risk of allergy. If you have negative result, i.e. no wheal, it indicate that you probably do not have allergy.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the results are not always accurate. There can be false positive (you do not have allergy to any substance, but the result is positive) and false negative (you have allergy to a substance, but the result is negative) allergy skin test results. In fact, same person may react differently to same test on two different occasions.

Depending on your allergy skin test result your doctor will plan modalities for treating your allergy problem. Treatment modalities include, use of medications, immune therapy, change of dietary habits, change of home, change of working environment such as change of a job. With proper planning it is possible to keep allergy at bay.

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Posted by admin - February 4, 2016 at 14:58

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Types of Allergy Skin Test and Their Side Effects

How allergy skin test is done?

Allergy skin test is usually done (should be done) in a clinical set up or doctor’s office, where adequate facilities are available to handle emergency (that may arise on rare occasions). A nurse generally administer (inject) the allergy shot and doctor interpret the result. The test usually take 30 to 40 minutes (from preparation to interpretation of result). Some allergic reactions may occur immediately and some may be delayed for few days.
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Types of allergy skin tests:

  • Skin prick test: this test can check allergy for 30-40 different common allergens at a time. It is done for common allergens such as pollen, dust mites, molds, pet dander, food allergy etc. This test is done on forearm for adults and upper back for children. Skin prick test is not painful. A nurse cleans the skin surface with alcohol and make marks on the skin and applies a drop of allergen extract in each mark. Different lancets are used to prick the skin at different marks. To know if your skin reacts normally, two other substances are used histamine and saline. For most people, histamine causes strong skin response and if you do not react to histamine you may not get positive allergy test, although you may be allergic. Most people do not react to saline solution and if you show reaction to saline, it indicate that your skin is sensitive and interpretation of skin prick test may be difficult and full of error (give false positive allergy test). Fifteen minutes after skin pricks (with lancets) the nurse observes the skin reaction if there is wheal nurse will measure it and note down. After noting down the result the skin is cleaned.
  • Patch test: this is done to determine if a particular substance is causing allergic skin reaction or contact dermatitis. Patch test is done to detect allergy to commonly known substances that cause contact dermatitis such as latex, metals, hair dyes, perfumes, medications, preservatives etc. It can detect delayed reactions and may take several days. 20 to 30 different substances can be tested. In this test your doctor ask you to wear skin patch for 48 hours and during this time you should avoid activities that cause sweat and avoid bathing. After 48 hours you return to doctor’s clinic and your doctor interpret results.
  • Skin injection test: this test involve intradermal injection of small amount of allergen extract into your arm. The site of injection is examined after 15 minutes. This is commonly done to detect allergy to insect venom and penicillin and similar drugs.

What are the side effects of allergy skin test?

Allergy skin tests commonly cause wheals (which is swollen, itchy and red bumps on the skin). In some individuals these wheals may develop during test and may persist for few days. Rarely, allergy skin test may cause a severe anaphylactic reaction, which need emergency medical care and this is the reason allergy skin tests should be done in a medical setup that can handle anaphylactic reaction (a setup that has equipment, trained manpower and medicines to handle anaphylactic reaction).

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Posted by admin - February 3, 2016 at 14:53

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When Allergy Skin Test Should be Done and When Not

Allergy skin tests are done to find out the allergen or the substances that you are allergic to. During allergy skin test you are (your skin) exposed to suspected allergens (allergy causing substance) and is then observed for signs of allergic reaction. Allergy test can find out if you are allergic (cause reaction/symptoms if you touch, breathe, eat a particular substance under test) to a substance. Allergic skin test can also provide medical history.



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Why allergy skin tests are done?

Allergy skin tests are done to find out if you are allergic to a particular substance. After an allergen is found, your doctor can make a treatment plan (that include allergy shoots or immune therapy and avoidance of allergen or allergic substance) for your allergy.

Skin tests for allergy are commonly done for allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis (also known as hay fever), eczema or dermatitis, penicillin and other drug allergy, bee venom allergy, latex allergy, food allergies etc.

When allergy skin test should not be done?

Allergy skin tests are generally safe for all including elderly people, children and infants. However, you should not undergo allergy skin test in certain conditions and your doctor may advice you against allergy skin test in such situations such as

  • You have history of severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis because you are sensitive to penicillin and similar drugs.
  • If you have certain skin conditions such as dermatitis (eczema), psoriasis, etc. in large part of your skin (especially in the parts of the skin where allergy skin test is done commonly), you may be advised against undergoing allergy skin test. Because, this may interfere with interpretation of allergy skin test results. A skin condition dermatographism may give unreliable allergy skin test.
  • If you are taking certain medications (such as antihistamines, antidepressants, immune suppressants etc.) that may interfere with the results, you should not undergo allergy skin test. Your doctor may recommend you to temporarily discontinue the medication and undergo test after some time.

If you cannot undergo allergy skin test for any of the above mentioned condition, you may benefit if you undergo in vitro immunoglobulin E antibody blood tests. These blood tests are not commonly preferred because they are less sensitive, less reliable and also more expensive (more reliable, highly sensitive and cheaper allergy skin tests are preferred for finding out allergens).

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Posted by admin - February 2, 2016 at 14:46

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Interpretation of Results of HbA1c

HbA1c (also called simply A1C) is glycosylated hemoglobin. It is formed when glucose molecule(s) get attached with hemoglobin molecule in blood. The higher blood glucose level the greater number of glucose molecule(s) get attached to more number of hemoglobin molecules. Hence, when blood glucose rises (e.g. in case of diabetes) the HbA1c level also rises and the test for HbA1c is used for diagnosis as well as for monitoring of blood glucose control when a diabetes patient is under treatment to know how well the treatment is working to manage blood glucose level.
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Any special way you have to prepare for testing HbA1c?

It is a simple blood test and you can have any food or drink before testing it. In fact as it reflects the blood glucose level for last 2 to 3 months, what you eat or drink before HbA1c test is insignificant.

How HbA1c test is done?

A blood sample is taken by health care team and sent for lab analysis. Blood is taken from a vein just like any other blood test. The lab analysis is done in autoanalyser and results accurate (if autoanalyser is in good working condition).

Interpretation of HbA1c results:

  • For normal non-diabetic individual the HbA1c level is below 5.7 and for a diabetic whose blood sugar is not under control for long time will have result above 8.
  • For diagnosis of diabetes using HbA1c, result above 6.5 on two different occasions is diagnostic of diabetes.
  • A result between 5.7 and 6.4 is indicative of pre-diabetes, which indicate a higher risk of developing diabetes within few years and the person need to take precautions in changing to healthier lifestyle and healthier eating habits and preferably consult a diabetologist for ways to prevent development of diabetes and take medications if recommended to prevent diabetes.
  • For individuals with diabetes the HbA1c is target is generally to keep it below 7 according to American Diabetes Association and below 6.5 according to International Diabetes federation. However, for some diabetics it may not be possible and target of 8 can be accepted. If your HbA1c level is above your target level, your doctor may recommend change or addition of extra medication.

Blood test results of HbA1c may be incorrect is some situations such as after blood loss due to any cause (e.g. trauma), after surgery, after blood transfusion, anemia (false high result), in presence of liver disease or kidney disease etc. It is therefore important to avoid doing HbA1c in such situations. If you have only hemoglobin A, your results may also be different/higher.

Interpretation of result; source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycated_hemoglobin#Interpretation_of_results

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Posted by admin - February 1, 2016 at 14:51

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Overcoming a Negative Body Image Through Healthy Eating and Exercising

Body image is defined as an individual’s perception of themselves and how they think others see them. When a person is excessively per-occupied with their physical image, and it hinders their daily functioning, it becomes a problem. This also causes body dysmorphic disorder.

An individual’s body image is shaped by a number of factors such as the society around them, the media, home environment, and many others. Hundreds and thousands of women around the world suffer from low self esteem because of the high societal standard set for them and their body image.

People with a low perception of their body image tend to step back from life and do not utilize their abilities to their fullest potential. Therefore, inventions like Sono Bello were created to help them overcome this problem so that they can be productive in other fields of life. Nevertheless, these processes also require proper body maintenance to avoid gaining the extra pounds all over again. Here are ways you can overcome your negative body image through eating healthy and working out.

Do What Feels Right

If you don’t like something, change it. Instead of stressing over your weight and opting for unhealthy shortcuts to lose weight, you need to work out. Exercising will automatically make you feel happier and healthier. Whether you prefer walking, going to the gym, dancing, yoga or aerobics, you can transform your body through any way you take pleasure in.

Be Realistic

It is easier to gain weight than to lose it. A lot of people go overboard with their exercising schedule and they end up hurting themselves. It’s good to have goals. However, you need to set achievable goals. You can’t decide to lose all the extra calories in a day or a week. It is a gradual process and patience is the key to success.

It is also crucial to set a particular time limit for the workout, because if you are an individual with an eating disorder, then excessive exercise is unhealthy. Moreover, those who set high goals for themselves lose motivation easily and end up binge eating, which leads to more weight gain.

Lose Weight the Healthy Way

Losing one or two pounds in a week is believed as a healthy weight loss. This way, an individual can lose more than 50 pounds in a year. But People who lose weight swiftly through unhealthy means tend to gain weight even faster. If you want the fat in your body to leave once and for all, try losing weight the way it is prescribed by your therapist or trainer.

Don’t Starve Yourself

This is dieting rule number 1. You are what you eat, but that shouldn’t stop you from eating. Eating greens and nutrient filled foods will not only boost your physical energy, it will also advance your mental health and improve your mood. Food filled with carbohydrates and fats make you feel lazy, bloated, irritable and moody, but leafy green vegetables and proteins will provide your body with the necessary nutrients and keep you active all day.

Be kind to yourself and love your body with all the imperfections because that is just one aspect which defines you. You need to stop idealizing celebrities and start doing what works best for you. Sono Bello is there to give you a fresh start, but the rest is in your own hands!

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Posted by admin - January 29, 2016 at 12:00

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