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Highland Park Allergy and Asthma Specialists

  • HP Allergy and Asthma Specialists


One in 13 kids has food allergies. Halloween can be especially tricky for these kids, not to mention the parents as well. Here are some tips to try and keep Halloween Allergy-Free and safe!


· Consider starting a new tradition. Instead of trick-or-treating, consider throwing a Halloween party with safe treats or toys/trinkets. You could also do a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood. Lastly, consider having friends over for a Halloween movie night!

· If you are trick-or-treating, make sure to be prepared. Bring your epinephrine 2-pack and a charged cell phone. I would also bring safe snacks in case your kid wants to eat something along the way.

· You could make safe treat bags to give to the neighbors ahead of time so they can distribute them to your child when you come by. Alternatively, you could bring toys/trinkets or safe candy to trade your child for unsafe candy.

· Some people make a strict no eating while trick-or-treating rule.

· Make sure to check all food labels before eating. Avoid food that does not have the ingredients on it.

· Make a tradition where they can trade all the unsafe candy for a special prize.

· Make sure to look for the houses with the teal pumpkins! Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) promotes the teal pumpkin project every Halloween. This is a campaign where families who have non-food treats will display a teal pumpkin in their yard, so you know it is safe for kids with food allergies. I know we are proudly displaying our teal pumpkin this year! You can also check out the FARE website and search for houses who have registered their addresses with teal pumpkins in your area. https://www.foodallergy.org/our-initiatives/awareness-campaigns/living-teal/teal-pumpkin-project


Other allergy-related conditions to think about are eczema and asthma. Be wary of costume make-up as this can exacerbate eczema or cause a contact dermatitis.

Make sure if you are using make-up that it is hypoallergenic and of high quality.

You can also test the make-up ahead of time on a small area of skin to make sure it does not cause a rash. For asthma, make sure you bring the child’s rescue inhaler. Halloween is during weed and cedar elm allergy season. Sometimes exercise, like running around the neighborhood can trigger asthma.


Hope all of this helps! I want each and everyone of you to have a safe and fun Halloween!!

  • HP Allergy and Asthma Specialists

Are you REALLY allergic to Penicillin?


Penicillin is one of the most frequently used antibiotics in the world. The penicillin family includes over 15 chemically related medications such as amoxicillin, ampicillin, augmentin, methicillin. Approximately 10% of all people in the United States reports a history of penicillin allergy. However, 90-95% of people reporting a penicillin allergy are not really allergic to penicillin. There are many reasons people make be mistakenly labeled penicillin allergy:

(1) Penicillin allergy diminishes or resolves over several years, so one may not be allergic anymore. Approximately 80% of penicillin allergic patients lose their penicillin sensitivity over 10 years.

(2) Penicillin allergy was misdiagnosed. For example, many viruses can cause rashes. If the patient is on penicillin at the time the doctor cannot know if the rash was from the penicillin or from the illness itself.

(3) Another medication taken at the same time as penicillin may have caused the reaction.

(4) The patient or physician is reporting a penicillin allergy, when in fact the reaction is an adverse reaction and not a true allergy, such as diarrhea or upset stomach.

It is important to find out if you are penicillin allergy because patient labeled penicillin allergic are treated more frequently with broad-spectrum antibiotics which can result in


· Increased antibiotic resistance

· Higher medical/medication costs

· Increased days of hospitalization

· Compromised medical care

· Increased morbidity and mortality


Luckily, there is an allergy test for penicillin allergy. Skin testing to penicillin followed by an oral challenge is the most reliable method for evaluating true penicillin allergy. It is a safe, highly sensitive test. It involves skin testing first and if negative, is followed by giving an oral dose of penicillin or amoxicillin to confirm that it is safe to use this antibiotic. Blood testing for penicillin allergy is less sensitive and specific and thus is not an appropriate substitute for penicillin skin testing. It is best to undergo penicillin skin testing when you are well and not immediately requiring the antibiotic. Delaying testing until an emergency situation arises raises the risk of illness and death in addition to overall medical costs. It is important to know that just because a family member is allergic to penicillin does not mean you will be. There is no predictable genetic inheritance pattern to penicillin allergy. You do not need to avoid penicillin if a family member is allergic to penicillin or a drug in the penicillin family. If you have any questions regarding penicillin allergy, you can always call your local allergist today.

  • HP Allergy and Asthma Specialists


In Texas, we long for Fall when the sweltering heat will come to an end. However, the beginning of Fall also means Fall allergies. Preparing ahead of time is the best way to protect yourself. Here are some recommendations that may help:

1.) Treat ahead of time.

Start your allergy medication about 2 weeks before the pollen starts. Over the counter antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays can help treat allergy symptoms but also work preventatively to reduce inflammation and the development of symptoms. Allergy shots are the only option that treat the underlying cause of allergies. These work great but can take awhile before they are effective. Typically, it takes a few months to start feeling relief with the traditional shot program, but there are accelerated options that can provide relief in weeks to even days. Ask your allergist about your options.

2.) Keep your windows closed.

It seems every Spring and Fall in North Texas we only have a few weeks where the weather is so perfect it is truly enjoyable to be outside. It can be tempting to open your windows during this time, but this can bring pollen inside your homes or cars.

3.) Do yard work the smart way.

Whether you love yard work or find it to be your most daunting chore, allergies can make it unpleasant. Timing is important. Pollen counts are usually highest mid-day and afternoon hours. Try to pick other times to do your yard work. Wearing a mask can help as well. An N95 would be ideal, and most of us have those now! Large sunglasses can help prevent the pollen and mold from irritating your eyes. Hats, long pants, and long sleeves can help prevent pollen from sticking in your hair and on your skin as well as from skin irritation. Remember to try to rake piles of leaves quickly to prevent mold and pollen from collecting on them. Mowing the lawn before it gets too long can prevent it from flowering and making pollen. When you are finished with yard work, make sure to shower and change into fresh clothes. Also using a nettipot or saline irrigations can help wash out some of the pollen you have inhaled in your nasal cavity.

4.) Try to reduce possible indoor allergens as well.

The more allergens you are exposed to, the worse you will feel. Controlling the allergens in your home can help control your symptoms as well. Doing a deep clean of your house can help remove dust allergens and any pollen that has already made its way inside. Using dust mite covers on your pillows and mattresses can help with dust mite allergy. Make sure there is no mold in your house, and ensure the humidity level is less than 50% to prevent mold growth.