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Wells Allergy Associates

Houston Location:
5618 E Sam Houston Pkwy N
Houston, TX 77015 Webster/Clear Lake Location:
617 Cole St.
Houston, TX 77589


The following information is a courtesy to provide general overviews of conditions and is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Neither Dr. Wells nor Wells Allergy Associates is engaged in rendering medical advice or recommendations, and no doctor-patient relationship is created. Wells Allergy Associates advises that you speak to your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Asthma & Bronchitis

Asthma is a lung condition caused by reversible swelling of the airways and increased mucus production.  Asthma may present with repetitive cough, wheeze, difficulty breathing, chest tightness or sensation of not being able to take a deep breath, shortness of breath, and fatigue with exercise.

There are several categories of asthma which includes exercise induced and viral induced wheezing.  Some patients present very early in life with symptoms while others may be diagnosed in the teen years or as an adult.  Many things can trigger asthma such as illness, items in the environment that can cause allergies such as pollen and dust mites, and fumes such as tobacco smoke or perfumes.

The management of asthma can be complex. The first step is to recognize the symptoms, then to identify possible triggers that set off asthma attacks in order to minimize or eliminate them. After evaluation by a healthcare provider, medications and/or allergy shots may be used to prevent and/or control asthma symptoms. Asthma can be a life threatening condition. Those who believe they have asthma symptoms should receive an evaluation and treatment guidance by a specialist such as an Allergist who has received specific training on the diagnosis and management of asthma.

Bronchitis is also a lung condition caused by irritation and/or infection of the airways causing airway inflammation. Patients present as if they have a cold but the cold tends to last longer and the patient may developed thick colored mucous. There are two forms of bronchitis: acute and chronic with the major difference being the length and severity of symptoms.

The management of bronchitis rarely requires antibiotics but includes frequent fluid intake, rest, and use of medications to provide comfort.  Patients with chronic bronchitis are advised to stop smoking.

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Eye and Nasal Allergies

The eyes, ears, nose, and throat are closely interconnected. Allergy sufferers may experience symptoms at one or more of these locations. Frequently patients have ear complaints such as pain, decreased hearing, sensation of fullness in the ears, and frequent, recurrent, or persistent ear infections. Patients may also present with eye itching/watering, and eye redness/irritation that may lead to blurred vision. Nasal allergies (also known as “hay fever”) present with what doctors call “rhinitis” or inflammation of the nasal passages. The most common forms of rhinitis are allergic rhinitis and non-allergic rhinitis (irritants causing nasal inflammation). Throat symptoms include frequent throat clearing, sensation of something in the throat, itching of the throat, and scratchy feeling or irritation of the throat due to post-nasal drip.

Outdoor allergens such as pollen from trees, grasses, weeds, and mold spores contribute to seasonal and year around symptoms while indoor environmental allergens such as dust mites, cockroach, feathers, and pet dander contribute to daily exposure leading to persistent or recurrent symptoms.

Typically patients will require testing to help identify the allergens that are causing the patient distress. After the allergens are identified, the patients are instructed on effective avoidance techniques and symptoms are controlled with medications such as antihistamines , nasal sprays, and other medications found to be effective in treating symptoms. Some individuals however will benefit with placement on allergy shots (immunotherapy) which has been proven to decrease and eliminate symptoms in some patients. Allergy shots have also been shown to improve asthma or prevent asthma development in some patients.

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Eczema & Other Skin Diseases

Eczema is a skin disease that typically presents in early childhood but may develop in the teen years or as an adult. Eczema may present with red and itchy patches of skin. Any area of the body can be involved. The cause of eczema may be difficult to find but some foods and environmental allergies and irritants may worsen eczema.

Eczema is typically diagnosed on clinical exam and is managed best by frequent moisturizing of the skin using creams and ointments.  Some patients have to rely on steroid creams and ointments that are applied to the skin or other topical and oral medications proven to be effective in controlling eczema.  Further investigation of severe eczema includes identifying potential food allergies, environmental allergies, and irritants that may worsen eczema in hopes of providing specific avoidance guidance for the sufferer.

Other skin diseases include hives known as Urticaria and Contact Dermatitis which is the development of a skin rash from allergies and irritants to the skin.  Hives may be caused from infections, allergies, irritants, or other medical conditions and is characterized by raised, red plaques on the skin that may come and go but are typically itchy.  Hives that are not itchy may indicate a serious medical condition and should be addressed with your allergist immediately.  Individuals who develop recurrent hives typically require blood work to help determine the cause but more times than not, the cause is not identified and the hives will typically self resolve in a few years.  Hives are generally treated with avoiding the trigger, antihistamines, and if there is an underlying medical condition, that condition is managed appropriately. 

Contact dermatitis is very similar to eczema but the cause is usually irritants such as nickel and leather, and allergens such as latex that cause a raised red itchy rash at the site of the contact.  Another form of contact dermatitis is poison ivy rash.  The important difference between contact dermatitis and hives is that contact dermatitis presents 24 to 48 hours after the contact to the causative agent, whereas, hives present typically immediately to 24 hours after contact with the potential allergen.  Some patients with contact dermatitis require Patch Skin Testing which involves placing small amounts of numerous potential irritants/allergens to the skin and leaving them in place for 48 hours and then evaluating the sites to determine if a significant reaction is present. 

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Food and Drug Allergies

Food allergies are present in up to 8% of the entire population.  Cow milk followed by egg are the most common allergens in children whereas seafood allergy is more prevalent in adults.  Other important food allergies include soy, peanut, wheat, fish, shellfish, and tree nuts.  It is important for families and doctors to distinguish true food allergies from food intolerances/adverse reactions.  Food allergies typically present with the acute development of hives, itching or swelling of the face/tongue and may progress to more severe reactions such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing or drop in blood pressure which would indicate anaphylaxis.  Food intolerances/adverse reactions include bloating, passing of gas, reflux symptoms, diarrhea, specs of blood in stool, etc.  Some patients require testing to determine what foods are causing the reactions, but for those with food allergies, the only management is complete avoidance of the foods known to cause reactions and to carry an epinephrine pen at all times to treat severe allergic reactions.  Continued monitoring by an allergist will help identify those patients who may outgrow their food allergies.

Drug allergies are rare events in which patients develop allergic reactions (sometimes severe allergic reactions) to medications that they may be taking.  It is important for a patient who believes he/she has a drug allergy to remember at what age he/she had the reaction, describe exactly what the reaction was and how soon after taking the drug that it occurred, what treatment was provided if any, and any other use of the that drug or a drug similar to it since the reaction.  All of this information is crucial in correct identification of the offending drug and possible testing to correctly identify the drug.

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Insect Sting Allergy

Insect sting allergy is rare but can affect a person at any age.  The most frequent offenders are fire ants, bees, and wasps.  The symptoms may be mild with just swelling and pain at the site of the sting or more severe such as throat swelling, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis.  Depending on the severity of your reaction, an allergist may elect to do testing to determine what type of insect you may be allergic to.  Allergy shots, if indicated, can be a life saving measure in the treatment of severe insect sting allergy.

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Angioedema & Anaphylaxis

Angioedema is swelling that may involve the skin, inside the mouth, throat, or intestines that is caused by allergies, medications, or genetic causes.  An allergist will help determine what caused your angioedema and the mainstay of treatment is avoidance of the offending agent, antihistamines, and the use of epinephrine.  Some forms of angioedema that is caused by genetics leads to decreased production or function of specific proteins and this form of angioedema likely will not respond to traditional methods and may require other medications found to be effective in this condition.

Anaphylaxis is a severe and life threatening condition brought on by allergies to foods, insects, drugs, or other allergies and is characterized by generalized hives, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, vomiting, decreased blood pressure or any combination of symptoms.  The only effective treatment is immediate injection of epinephrine.  Other medications that may help during recovery include inhaled medications and antihistamines.  Avoidance of known triggers, always carrying an epinephrine injectable, and knowing when and how to use the epinephrine injectable are all key to long term management of anaphylaxis. 

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Sinusitis

Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses caused by allergies, infections, or chronic blockage of the sinuses preventing drainage.  Sinusitis may be acute or chronic and typically presents with fever, headache, nasal congestion, and production of thick colored nasal secretions.  Generally, patients may require radiology scans to determine location and anatomy to see if the patient has polyps (swollen bags of skin in the nose) or other bony changes that may be obstructing the nasal passages.  Allergy testing can also help identify allergies that can cause recurrent or persistent sinusitis.  If allergies are identified then appropriate allergy treatment is began.  Some patients require prolonged antibiotic treatment or referral to a surgeon for removal of blockages.

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Occupational Asthma and Allergies

Occupational asthma and allergies are associated with or caused by exposure to fumes, chemicals, compounds, and materials at work that cause specific asthma and allergies in the worker.  The symptoms typically present while at work and symptoms may worsen or even improve with continued exposure making it difficult for patients to identify the source.  Patch Skin Testing and pulmonary function analysis may help to identify the causative agent(s).  Treatment includes avoidance of the causative agent(s) and symptomatic treatment.

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Frequent Infections & Other Immune Related Illnesses

Frequent infections are very common in young children, especially when they attend daycare, and may not be outside the range of normal.    Most physicians define frequent infections in children as:

  • recurrent upper respiratory illnesses,
  • recurrent or persistent ear, sinus, or skin infections,
  • 2 or more pneumonias in a year,
  • severe infections that require hospitalization for treatment,
  • development of a specific type of bug infection, or 
  • other concerns such as poor growth and developmental issues

Adults may also begin to experience a weakened immune system and will notice that they are developing frequent infections or infections that require hospitalization.

All of these are potential signs of poor immune function and the patient should be seen by an Allergist/Immunologist as soon as possible for evaluation and treatment.

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