Month: January 2019

Can Fatigue be a Symptom of Allergies?

Can Fatigue be a Symptom of Allergies?In this ever increasing complicated and stressful world that we live in, many individuals find themselves complaining of fatigue.  Most people chalk it up to being overworked or to too much stress in their lives, but fatigue can be a symptom of a multitude of illnesses.  Amongst these ailments, fatigue is often a symptom of allergies.  When an individual suffers from allergies such as hay fever (i.e., allergic rhinitis), asthma, or sinus disease (as a result of allergies), it is not uncommon to feel fatigued.  This is often from the body becoming “worn down” from constantly “fighting” the offending allergens.  In asthmatics, patients may also complain of fatigue because the shortness of breath that frequently accompanies asthma contributes to their lethargy.  In patients with sinus disease, there is often an associated sinus infection (e.g., acute sinusitis, chronic sinusitis) which also may “wear down” the body as most infections typically do, and as a result, fatigue develops in these individuals.

There are some patients with allergies where the only symptom is fatigue.  It is important however for the board certified allergist such as the ones at Black & Kletz Allergy, to recognize that not everyone with fatigue suffers from allergies.  In addition, even if someone has allergies, their fatigue may not be the cause or sole cause.  There are many other diseases and/or conditions where an individual may complain of fatigue.  These conditions should be ruled out rather than just assume that their allergies are the sole cause of their fatigue.

What are some conditions that can cause fatigue other than allergies, asthma, or sinus disease?  Below are some of the more common factors and/or disorders that can be associated with fatigue not including the aforementioned allergies, asthma, and sinus disease:

  • Anemia
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (e.g., chronic bronchitis, emphysema)
  • Depression
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune disorders (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sleep apnea
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., chronic ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease)
  • Medications (e.g., antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, blood pressure medications)
  • Alcohol or drug use

There are numerous other factors and/or conditions that may play a role in causing fatigue and it is advisable to also be examined by your primary care physician when you are experiencing fatigue.

The diagnosis of allergies begins with a comprehensive history and physical examination.  Allergy testing is usually performed by utilizing the skin testing method, however, blood tests can also be done.  The treatment of allergies begins with avoidance measures in order to reduce the exposure of an individual with the offending allergen.  If avoidance measures are not satisfactory, medications are used in order to alleviate the symptoms.  There are a wide variety of medications used to treat allergies and thus the fatigue that may be associated with them.  Ironically, many over the counter allergy medications (e.g., antihistamines) can cause fatigue and/or drowsiness.  Allergy shots (i.e., allergy injections, allergy immunotherapy, allergy desensitization, allergy hyposensitization) is a very effective treatment modality used for the treatment of allergies and allergic asthma.  It is effective in 80 – 85% of the patients that undergo allergy immunotherapy.  The usual course of treatment with allergy shots is usually between 3 – 5 years.

The board certified allergy specialists at Black & Kletz Allergy has 3 locations in the Washington, Northern Virginia, and Maryland metropolitan area.  We have offices in Washington, DC, McLean, VA (Tysons Corner, VA), and Manassas, VA.  All 3 of our office locations have on-site parking.  In addition, our Washington, DC and McLean, VA offices are Metro accessible.  The McLean office has a complementary shuttle that runs between our office and the Spring Hill metro station on the silver line.  The allergists of Black & Kletz Allergy diagnose and treat both pediatric and adult patients.  For an appointment, please call our office or alternatively, you can click Request an Appointment and we will reply within 24 hours by the next business day.  The allergy doctors at Black & Kletz Allergy have been helping patients with fatigue, hay fever, asthma, sinus disease, hives, eczema, medication allergies, food allergies, insect sting allergies, and immunological disorders for more than a half a century.  If you suffer from fatigue and want to decipher if they are being caused by allergies, it is our mission to determine if your fatigue is stemming from allergies.  Then it is our goal to improve your quality of life by reducing or preventing your unwanted and aggravating allergy symptoms including fatigue.

 

Can Allergies be Prevented?

Do probiotics have a role in preventing allergies?Can Allergies be Prevented?

While some studies demonstrated a protective effect of probiotics on the development of eczema, other studies have shown no effect on the development of other allergic diseases.  In view of the conflicting results of various studies, probiotics are not currently recommended for preventing allergies.

How about fish oils?

There is no convincing evidence at this time that taking fish oil supplements have any significant benefit in preventing allergies.

Will dust mite avoidance measures cut down the risk of developing allergies and/or asthma?

Unless an individual is already sensitized to dust mites, avoidance measures to reduce the exposure to dust mites have not proved to reduce the chances of developing allergies, eczema, or asthma.

Should I avoid pets?

There is no reason to remove pets from the household unless a person’s allergies and/or asthma flares up when he or she is exposed to the pets.  Even if an individual’s symptoms are tied to their exposure to pets, it is often very difficult for them to get rid of their pets, as the pets are considered part of the family.  If an allergy sufferer’s symptoms appear to worsen when exposed to their pets and he or she is unwilling to remove the pets from their home, it is advised to keep the pets out of the bedroom where that individual usually spends at least 7-8 hours per day or night.

If I restrict some foods while I am pregnant and/or while breastfeeding, would that prevent my child from having food allergies?

Avoidance of common allergy-causing foods such as peanuts, tree nuts (e.g., almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts), eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, dairy, etc. has not been shown to reduce the risk of children developing food allergies.  In fact, restrictions in one’s diet during pregnancy and lactation have been linked to a decreased weight gain by babies and should be avoided.

Should I delay introduction of any foods to my infant to prevent food allergies?

Some studies showed that babies exclusively breastfed for the first 3 to 4 months of life are less likely to develop food allergies and eczema during the first 2 years of life.  As a general rule, solid foods should be introduced around 6 months of age, preferably while still breastfeeding.  This however should be confirmed by your pediatrician.  Common allergenic foods containing peanut, egg, fish, cow’s milk and soy should be given to babies before 12 months of age.  Again, this should be determined by your pediatrician.  Studies of children at high risk of developing allergies (i.e., children with eczema and/or with a family history of allergies) have demonstrated that early introduction of these foods will reduce the risk of developing food allergies in later life.

Is soy milk or goat’s milk better to prevent allergies than cow’s milk formula?

No.  Studies have showed that soy-based formulas or goat’s milk does not prevent the development of food allergies in children.

What should I do if I suspect that my child has a food allergy?

Accurate diagnosis by standardized testing is essential before treatments are contemplated.  If the tests confirm allergies to specific foods, avoidance of those foods and substitution with suitable alternatives, supervised by your board certified allergist, like the allergy specialists at Black & Kletz Allergy are recommended.  Special alternative formulas are available for children with cow’s milk and/or soy milk allergies.

Will allergy injections (i.e., immunotherapy, desensitization) prevent allergies?

The current indications for allergy immunotherapy (i.e., allergy shots, allergy injections, allergy desensitization, allergy hyposensitization) is to treat established environmental allergies.  However, there is emerging evidence that treating children with allergic rhinitis (i.e., hay fever) with allergy injections to “switch off” their allergies may reduce the risk of them developing new allergies and asthma later in life.

The board certified allergists at Black and Kletz Allergy have been diagnosing and treating allergies and asthma for more than 50 years in the Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland metropolitan area.  We see both adults and pediatric patients.  We have offices in Washington, DC, McLean, VA (Tysons Corner, VA), and Manassas, VA.  We have on-site parking at each of our 3 locations.  Our Washington, DC and McLean, VA offices are Metro accessible.  Black & Kletz Allergy offers a free shuttle service between our McLean, VA office and the Spring Hill metro station on the silver line.  If you suffer from allergies, asthma, sinus problems, hives, or immunological disorders, please call us to make an appointment.  You may also click Request an Appointment and we will respond within 24 hours by the next business day.  Black & Kletz Allergy is dedicated in providing the most state-of-the-art allergy treatment in a warm, caring, and professional environment.