Asthma is a chronic lung condition that narrows and inflames the airways. This can lead to wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. Although asthma cannot be cured, its symptoms can be controlled. Asthma affects people of all ages, but most often begins in childhood. For some people, their asthma symptoms are worsened in certain situations - such as those with exercise-induced asthma (triggered by cold, dry air), occupational asthma (triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes or dust), and allergy-induced asthma (triggered by airborne substances).  Severe asthma attacks can have life-threatening consequences, so be sure to seek emergency treatment if you experience rapid wheezing or shortness of breath, no improvement after a quick-relief asthma inhaler, or shortness of breath during minimal physical activity.

Nasal and Eye Allergy

Nasal and eye allergies affect people of all ages, and can result from either seasonal or year-round allergens. Seasonal allergies, often known as "hay fever," result from an allergic response to outdoor plant pollens, including weeds, grasses, and trees, and outdoor molds. Symptoms of seasonal allergies include: sneezing, runny or itchy nose, itchy eyes or throat, itchy ears, and coughing. Year-round ("perennial") allergies, on the other hand, lead to chronic symptoms throughout the year in response to allergens such as dust mites, animals (i.e. cats, dogs), cockroaches, molds, and other substances. Symptoms of year-round allergies are similar to those of seasonal allergies -  they include: sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, post nasal drip, itchy and irritated eyes, coughing, headache, and fatigue. 


Food Allergy

Food allergies are caused by abnormal immune responses to one or more foods. The most common foods accounting for the majority of reactions include eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy. Symptoms of a food allergy range from mild to severe - the most severe allergic reaction is anaphylaxis, a whole-body reaction that can impair your breathing and affect your blood pressure and heart rate. Anaphylaxis is a potentially fatal reaction and must be treated immediately. Other symptoms of a food allergy include tingling or itching in the mouth, hives, swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat, wheezing or shortness of breath, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting, and dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting. Food allergy differs from a food intolerance, which is a less serious condition that does not involve the immune system.


Drug Allergy

A drug allergy is the result of your immune system's abnormal reaction to a medication. The most common signs and symptoms of a drug allergy include hives, rash, itching, swelling, wheezing, or fever. A drug allergy can also cause a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, a life-threatening whole-body reaction that must be treated immediately. Some drugs commonly linked to allergies include: antibiotics (i.e. penicillin), pain relievers (i.e. aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium), chemotherapy drugs, and medications for autoimmune diseases.  A drug allergy differs from a drug side effect, which is a known possible reaction of a specific drug. 


Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, which is the most common cause of eczema, is a condition that results in itchiness and redness of the skin. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition that most commonly affects children, and may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.  However, increasingly we are diagnosing atopic dermatitis in adolescents, adults, and elderly patients. The primary risk factor for developing atopic dermatitis is a personal or family history of eczema, hay fever, or asthma. Symptoms of atopic dermatitis include: dry skin, itching, red to brown-grey patches (especially on the hands, feet, ankles, neck, upper chest, wrist, eyelids, and knees), small raised bumps which may leak fluid or crust over, thickened, cracked, scaly skin, and raw, sensitive, swollen skin from scratching. 


Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a red, itchy skin rash caused by direct contact with an allergen or substance that causes skin inflammation.  Contact dermatitis typically occurs on parts of the body that have been directly exposed to the reaction-causing substance. A few signs and symptoms of contact dermatitis include: red rash, itching, dry or cracked skin, bumps or blisters, and swelling, burning, or tenderness. There are two types of contact dermatitis: irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis. Irritant contact dermatitis is a nonallergic skin reaction that occurs as a result of a substance damaging your skin's outer layer - common irritants include: solvents, rubbing alcohol, bleach and detergents, soaps and shampoos, airborne substances, plants, fertilizers and pesticides. Allergic contact dermatitis is the result of an allergen triggering an immune response in your skin - common allergens include: nickel, antibiotic creams and oral antihistamines, perfume and cosmetic  ingredients, personal care products (i.e. body wash, hair dye, deodorant),  latex, and airborne substances (i.e. ragweed pollen and spray insecticides).  



Hives, also called urticaria, are itchy, red welts on the skin that result from a skin reaction. There are two types of hives: acute and chronic. Acute hives are short-lived and clear up within a few weeks, whereas chronic hives occur almost daily for more than six weeks and occur recurrently over many months or years.  Signs and symptoms of chronic hives include: batches of red or skin-colored welts anywhere on the body, welts that vary in size or shape and repeatedly appear and fade, itching, painful swelling of lips, eyelids, or throat, increase in symptoms with heat, exercise, or stress triggers, and persistence of symptoms for more than six weeks that recur for months or years. Hives can be triggered by many substances, including foods (i.e. peanuts, eggs, nuts), medications (i.e. penicillin, sulfa, aspirin, ibuprofen), insect stings or bites, physical stimuli (i.e. pressure, cold, heat), latex, blood transfusions, bacterial and viral infections, pet dander, pollen, and some plants (i.e. poison oak, poison ivy). Hives are often managed by avoiding known triggers and by using medications prescribed by your allergist. 



Angioedema is swelling of the area beneath the skin or mucous membranes, and typically affects areas around the eyes, cheeks, and lips. Acute angioedema is often triggered by an allergic reaction to a food, drug, or insect sting, while recurrent angioedema may be related to some underlying systemic inflammatory condition, hormonal imbalance, infection or, rarely, a genetic disorder. Symptoms of angioedema include: large, thick, firm welts, swelling and redness, and pain or warmth in affected areas - symptoms can begin anywhere from minutes to hours after initial exposure to the trigger. Angioedema can become life-threatening if swelling occurs in the mouth or throat throat. Treatment varies based on each patient, but often includes the use of antihistamines, steroids, and avoidance of known triggers. 


Low Immune Function

Low immune function can be a result of a variety of immunodeficiency disorders. Immunodeficiency disorders impair your body's ability to protect itself from infections and diseases. Primary immunodeficiency disorders are often acquired at birth, though some forms may present later in life, and are a result of specific genetic factors. There are over 300 different primary immunodeficiency disorders which vary in how they affect the immune system. Patients affected by primary immunodeficiency disorders may be more susceptible to chronic or unusually severe infections and often affect the lungs, sinuses, and ears, although any organ may be affected. 


Mast Cell Disorders  

Mastocytosis is a condition that occurs when mast cells accumulate in skin and/or internal organs such as the liver, spleen, bone marrow, and small intestines. The signs and symptoms vary based on which parts of the body are affected and may include flushing, itching of the skin, hives, swelling, abdominal bloating or cramping, diarrhea.  Patients may also develop acute episodes of symptoms involving throat swelling, wheezing, or drops in blood pressure.  While mastocytosis is a rare condition, a larger group of patients are affected by a condition called mast cell activation syndrome, which may include many of the same symptoms. 


Nasal Polyps

Nasal polyps are soft, painless, noncancerous growths on the lining of the nose or sinuses. Small nasal polyps may not present any symptoms, whereas larger nasal polyps can block your nasal passages and lead to breathing problems, reduced sense of smell, or frequent infections. Nasal polyps are associated with chronic sinusitis, though chronic sinusitis may be present without nasal polyps. Common symptoms of chronic sinusitis with nasal polyps include: runny nose, stuffiness, postnasal drip, impaired sense of smell, loss of sense of taste, facial pain, headache, pressure sensation over face, and snoring. Medications can often be used to shrink or eliminate nasal polyps, but surgery is sometimes used to remove them. Even after removal, nasal polyps may return. 



Sinusitis occurs when the cavities around the nasal passage become inflamed and swollen, and mucus is unable to drain which may lead to infection. Acute sinusitis is often caused by the common cold, and symptoms resolve within 10 days. Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed when symptoms persist for more than 12 weeks despite medical treatment. People with allergic rhinitis or asthma are more likely to suffer from chronic sinusitis.  Common symptoms of sinusitis include: headache, stuffy or runny nose, postnasal drip (yellow or greenish discharge from throat), loss of sense of smell, ear pressure, sore throat, cough, fatigue, halitosis (bad breath), and fever.