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The Crunchy Allergist Blog

Fighting Fatigue: Part 1- What is it and what contributes to it?

fatigue podcast articles Jun 21, 2022

 

Ugh fatigue.

This has been one of the most frustrating symptoms associated with my Systemic Sjogren’s.  In fact 96% of those of us with Systemic Sjogren’s report this as a significant symptom.

 

For anyone that has not experienced fatigue- it is not your run-of-the-mill “I am tired”…

 

This is Part 1 of a 2 part series on Fighting Fatigue. In this part, we will talk about what fatigue is and isn’t and what medically can cause it. In part 2 we will talk about what we can do about it!

 

So what exactly is fatigue? What causes it?

 

Fatigue is something that is much more than just being tired. It is sleeping for 10-12 hours only to wake up just as exhausted the next morning.  I describe it as feeling like you are walking through quicksand or thick mud.

 

It is just a really challenging symptom that can be very prevalent and persistent in particular with Sjogren's Syndrome, but also with other conditions....

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3 Misperceptions and Myths About Food Allergies

food allergy Jun 03, 2022

Recently, singer and musician Halsey shared her recent allergy testing results on TikTok along with the news of her recent diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and Sjogren’s Disease. Pictured were the telltale red welts we inflict day in and day out in allergy clinic with our scratch tests and a long list of foods to which she was possibly allergic.

Halsey has a history of being open and advocating for improved health care following her diagnosis of endometriosis in 2016.

As a fellow Sjogren’s patient and allergy/immunology physician, Halsey, I want to thank you for adding your face and powerful voice to commonly misunderstood and underdiagnosed invisible illnesses.

I thought it to be a great opportunity to share three misperceptions and myths that I routinely encounter about food allergies, intolerances, and testing.

 

1. Food allergy is a clinical diagnosis that is supported by IgE testing. 

Food allergy is an...

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5 Things Your Immunologist Wants You to Know- Part 5

Navigating chronic illness can be extremely frustrating, time-consuming, and generally a big PIA. 

Finding a doctor that is a good fit, waiting for the appointment, the previsit anxiety. Afterward, fighting with insurance and the pharmacy over medication coverage, and then playing go-between trying to get the prior authorizations approved. Paying for ALL of the copays after you hit your high deductible and then adding in all the other out-of-pocket costs.

The list is endless and a huge headache.

Getting care when you are suffering should be easy. It should be empathetic or at a minimum respectful.  It should be a healing experience.

One of my missions in life is to help you better communicate with your healthcare team.

 

Let's dive into Part 5 the 5 secrets that your immunologist may not quite have the time to talk to you about during your office visit.

Click here to read Part 1Part 2Part 3, and Part 4 if you missed them.

 

So let's...

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5 Things Your Immunologist Wants You to Know- Part 4

Navigating chronic illness can be extremely frustrating, time-consuming, and generally a big PIA. 

Finding a doctor that is a good fit, waiting for the appointment, the previsit anxiety. Afterward, fighting with insurance and the pharmacy over medication coverage, and then playing go-between trying to get the prior authorizations approved. Paying for ALL of the copays after you hit your high deductible and then adding in all the other out-of-pocket costs.

The list is endless and a huge headache.

Getting care when you are suffering should be easy. It should be empathetic or at a minimum respectful.  It should be a healing experience.

One of my missions in life is to help you better communicate with your healthcare team.

 

Let's dive into Part 4 the 5 secrets that your immunologist may not quite have the time to talk to you about during your office visit.

Click here to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 if you missed them.

 

4. Inflammation is like a fire. 

...
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5 Things Your Immunologist Wants You to Know- Part 3

podcast articles May 20, 2022

Navigating chronic illness can be extremely frustrating, time-consuming, and generally a big PIA. 

Finding a doctor that is a good fit, waiting for the appointment, the previsit anxiety. Afterward, fighting with insurance and the pharmacy over medication coverage, and then playing go-between trying to get the prior authorizations approved. Paying for ALL of the copays after you hit your high deductible and then adding in all the other out-of-pocket costs.

The list is endless and a huge headache.

Getting care when you are suffering should be easy. It should be empathetic or at a minimum respectful.  It should be a healing experience.

One of my missions in life is to help you better communicate with your healthcare team.

 

Let's dive into Part 3 the 5 secrets that your immunologist may not quite have the time to talk to you about during your office visit.

Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them. 

 

Number three, your immune system may be...

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5 Things Your Immunologist Wants You to Know- Part 2

podcast articles May 13, 2022

Navigating chronic illness can be extremely frustrating, time-consuming, and generally a big PIA. 

Finding a doctor that is a good fit, waiting for the appointment, the previsit anxiety. Afterward, fighting with insurance and the pharmacy over medication coverage, and then playing go-between trying to get the prior authorizations approved. Paying for ALL of the copays after you hit your high deductible and then adding in all the other out-of-pocket costs.

The list is endless and a huge headache.

Getting care when you are suffering should be easy. It should be empathetic or at a minimum respectful.  It should be a healing experience.

One of my missions in life is to help you better communicate with your healthcare team.

 

Let's dive into Part 2 the 5 secrets that your immunologist may not quite have the time to talk to you about during your office visit.

Click here to read Part 1 if you missed it.

 

2. Your history is of the utmost importance. 

Most...

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5 Things Your Immunologist Wants You to Know- Part 1

Navigating chronic illness can be extremely frustrating, time-consuming, and generally a big PIA. 

Finding a doctor that is a good fit, waiting for the appointment, the previsit anxiety. Afterward, fighting with insurance and the pharmacy over medication coverage, and then playing go-between trying to get the prior authorizations approved. Paying for ALL of the copays after you hit your high deductible and then adding in all the other out-of-pocket costs.

The list is endless and a huge headache.

Getting care when you are suffering should be easy. It should be empathetic or at a minimum respectful.  It should be a healing experience.

One of my missions in life is to help you better communicate with your healthcare team.

 

Let's dive into the 5 secrets that your immunologist may not quite have the time to talk to you about during your office visit.

This is Part 1 of this series.

 

1. What is an immunologist? 

First...

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Nontox without the Nonsense: Nail Salon's Dirty Dozen

As a medical student and resident, one of the few luxuries I would treat myself to a few times a year was a mani-pedi. It was a relatively affordable act of self-love to get my sore callused feet scrubbed, filed, buffed, and polished. It felt like such a treat to have my paws pampered after several months of being on call for 30 hours straight every 4th day. 

 

As a former biochemistry major, I was always overcome by the smell that hit me as I opened the door to the salon…

It brought me back instantly to organic chemistry lab… 

The salon smelled100x more potent than chemistry class. 

 

The difference?

In organic chemistry lab, not only were we required to wear goggles but we also worked under a specialized hood that functioned like a very efficient kitchen exhaust fan. I took note of the masks the technicians wore but for many years didn’t consider it too much further. 

Honestly, I was pretty stuck in survival mode at the time. ...

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The Buzz on Mosquito Bites

Uncategorized Apr 22, 2022

BZZZZ…. Swat. 

Missed. 

Ugh, too late. 

Soon, the itching, swelling, and the redness sets in..

Then, the urge to scratch builds until you can’t resist anymore. 

Sweet relief from those nails…

 

Growing up a stone’s throw from the Wisconsin state border and with a pond in my parent’s backyard, my sister and I joked that our state bird should be the mosquito. 

 

Mosquito bites reactions are caused by an immune response to mosquito saliva. Some people will develop more significant reactions called large local reactions (sometimes termed “Skeeter Syndrome). These reactions involve a more robust immune system response that causes increased swelling and redness that can last longer than run-of-the-mill bite reactions. 

These responses can evolve over time. For most people, reactions will diminish over the years as the immune system becomes more accustomed to the proteins in the mosquito saliva. 

 

...

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5 Science-Backed Strategies an Allergist-mom is Using to Protect her Family’s Health

Like most parents, my children are my world. I would do anything to protect them and keep them healthy.  It is Darwinian. Instinctual. 

Most of us get by with a combination of sage advice from generations past interspersed with a “know better do better” approach.  Personally and professionally, I encountered this duality pretty quickly.  In March 2016, my husband and I hopped on a plane to Los Angeles with our 4-month-old daughter with the purpose of both visiting grandparents and attending the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology meeting.

Just a few months prior, the LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) trial had been published. The old paradigm of avoiding potentially allergenic foods was being tossed aside as new data emerged.  As this data was extensively discussed, debated, and expanded upon during that meeting, you better bet that as soon as Charlotte could sit up, she was the poster child for early introduction. I...

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