Allergy Asthma and Sinus Centers Welcomes Dr. Farheen Mirza!

We would like to introduce you to the newest addition to our practice, Dr. Farheen Mirza.  She comes to our office highly respected in the allergy community and well loved by her patients.  She will be in our Bolingbrook location with extended evening hours on Monday and Wednesdays.  Call to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Mirza grew up in Chicago and completed her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University. She received her medical degree from Rush University and completed her Internal Medicine residency at Rush University Medical Center. She went on to finish her Allergy and Immunology fellowship at the University of Iowa. She is an experienced and attentive allergist caring for the Western Suburbs of Chicago. She loves children and has extensive training in asthma, eczema, environmental allergies, food allergies, immunodeficiency, and other allergic conditions. Dr. Mirza is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Allergy & Immunology. She also is a member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Her research has been published by the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology , Rush University Research Forum and NeuroImage.

Dr. Mirza enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with family and friends. She is fluent in English, Hindi, and Urdu. Dr. Mirza is devoted to ensuring the longevity of her patients’ health and developing long-lasting relationships with them. She takes her time to understand symptoms and give correct diagnoses to ensure the continued health of all her patients.


You deserve specialized allergy and asthma care.

You deserve specialized allergy and asthma care.

Asthma National guidelines now recognize that asthma and allergy patients can benefit greatly from specialty care provided by an allergist. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), asthma patients should be seen by an allergist if they:

  • Suffer from mild to moderate persistent asthma?
  • Are on a daily controller medication?
  • Have had a life-threatening attack?
  • Have had a hospital admission for asthma?
  • Have had two prednisone treatments in a year?

Asthma Care by  an allergist, especially in a young nonsmoker  has been shown to reduce ER visits and hospitalization and significantly reduce cost of care.

Allergic rhinitis Symptoms lasting more than six weeks should be evaluated by skin testing. Based on skin tests, an allergist will discuss environmental control measures, the most important and first step in treating allergies, without which medications may be less or not effective at all. Some patients may need allergy shots whose effectiveness has been proven in dozens of controlled studies.

Sinus problems Allergies are the most common cause of chronic sinus problems, leading to chronic, recurrent sinusitis, a chronic cough or sleep apnea.

Chronic ear problems Recurrent, chronic ear infections and fluid in the middle ear may be due to Eustachian tube dysfunction secondary to allergic inflammation.

Sleep apnea Fifty-seven percent of patients with obstructive sleep apnea have allergen sensitization, and 36% of patients with allergic rhinitis have sleep apnea. Studies have shown an improvement in symptoms of sleep apnea when the patient’s allergic rhinitis is treated.

Atopic dermatitis Food allergies trigger eczema in up to 40% of patients, and the severity of rash correlates with the presence of food allergies. Environmental allergens, especially dust mites and pet dander, may also be important triggers of the rash.


Winter Eczema tips

Winter can be hard on skin for those with eczema (atopic dermatitis). Temperature changes from warm, dry inside air to cold outside air can dry skin out more than normal. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations and use these tips to keep your skin hydrated and reduce the effects of winter on your skin.

  1. Take a warm bath daily (or shower is eczema is mild).
  2. Use a gentle cleanser if needed.
  3. Use moisturizer or medicine within three minutes of getting out of the tub or shower.
  4. Use sunscreen for outdoor activities.
  5. Keep fingernails short.
  6. Avoid scratching, apply moisturizer when itchy.
  7. Wear soft fabrics such as cotton or cotton blends, and avoid wool and acrylic.
  8. Use dye- and fragrance-free laundry products.
  9. Identify and manage triggers.
  10. Wash new clothes before wearing.

Can I be allergic to my cell phone?

Fortunately, you cannot be allergic to your cell phone per se. However, you can be allergic to metallic parts/cases of cell phones. Metals such as nickel, cobalt, and chromium are all possible causes of an allergic skin rash (called allergic contact dermatitis) from cell phone usage. A preliminary study in 2012 by Mucci and colleagues, reported at the 2012 ACAAI Annual Meeting, found nickel and cobalt in the highest concentrations in used cell phones, while an earlier study did not find high levels of nickel and cobalt in new cell phones. The higher levels in the used phones are probably due to wearing of the plastic coating on metal keys/parts occurring over time. Models that operate without keys, including the iPhone and Motorola Droid, both tested negative (keep in mind after-market cases may contain metal, however).Cellular phone dermatitis typically starts as an itchy rash on the side of the face where the phone is touched to the head, especially around the ear. People with this problem do not always report a history of known allergic reactions to metals. Allergic contact dermatitis is diagnosed based on the history and the results of patch testing to metal(s), which can be performed by your allergist. There are also several nickel and cobalt spot test kits available that allow one to test various objects for the release of nickel or cobalt ions.


Fish Allergy

Unlike other food allergies, which are typically first observed in babies and young children, an allergy to fish may not become apparent until adulthood; in one study, as many as 40 percent of people reporting a fish allergy had no problems with fish until they were adults.

Having an allergy to a finned fish (such as tuna, halibut or salmon) does not mean that you are also allergic to shellfish (shrimp, crab and lobster). While some allergists recommend that individuals with a fish allergy avoid eating all fish, it may be possible for someone allergic to one type of fish to safely eat other kinds. If you are allergic to a specific type of fish, your allergist can help you determine whether other varieties may be safe to eat.

Many prepared foods contain fish in some form. Fish is a common ingredient in Worcestershire sauce and Caesar salad and is sometimes found in imitation crab products in the form of surimi, a processed food made mainly from Alaska pollock. Fish is also prevalent in Asian cuisine, which uses fish-based stock for many dishes.

While an allergy to fish protein is most common, it is possible to be allergic to fish gelatin (made from fish skin and bones). People with a fish allergy should consult their allergist before taking fish oil dietary supplements.

Treatment for fish allergy includes strict avoidance of fish.

Because fish is often implicated in cases of food-induced anaphylaxis, allergists advise fish-allergic patients to treat symptoms of a reaction with epinephrine (adrenaline), which is prescribed by your doctor and administered in an auto-injector. Anaphylaxis can come on quickly and can be fatal unless epinephrine is injected as soon as you notice symptoms developing. Be sure to call for an ambulance, and alert the dispatcher that epinephrine has been used and more may be needed.


Welcome Dr. Camara

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Miguel Camara, M.D. is joining our practice starting October 17, 2016.

Dr. Camara has impressive credentials. He trained at the world renowned National Jewish Center in Denver along with Dr. Ahmed Mohiuddin, and also where Dr. Maaz Mohiuddin trained about 25 years later. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

He has worked in the Joliet area for years. He is a very thorough professional, pleasant, and highly ethical, well loved by his patients. He will be a great addition and asset to our practice.

We welcome him to our family at Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Centers.


Are You Allergic To Exercise?

About 11 percent of the population is estimated to have cholinergic urticaria, or hives triggered by heat, exercise, sweat or all of the above. The hives can also appear in reaction to a hot bath, sauna or even when eating hot or spicy foods.

In rarer cases, exercise can even trigger anaphylaxis, a potentially deadly allergic reaction.

Typically, the hives appear within 30 minutes of exercising and go away not long after patients stop and cool off.

Food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis, is more complicated, since the reaction only occurs when someone eats a particular food and then exercises vigorously soon after.

While wheat, shellfish, peanuts and corn are most commonly implicated in food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis, there are also reports of it being caused by hummus, milk, meats and more. Some factors like alcohol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and, for women, being premenstrual can exacerbate the reactions.

In addition to using antihistamines for the hives– which some people take preventively and others only in response to a reaction – clinicians recommend carrying an Epipen and always exercising with someone who knows how to use it, if you’re at risk of exercise-related anaphylaxis. It can also help to exercise in a cool gym rather than in the summer heat, and not eating for several hours before you exercise.


Early Egg Introduction Does Not Change Allergy Risk

Regular egg consumption starting at 4 to 6 months of age does not change the risk for egg allergy at 1 year of age or older, compared with delayed introduction of eggs, the authors of a new study report.

“We found no evidence that regular egg intake from 4 to 6.5 months of age substantially alters the risk of egg allergy by 1 year of age, in infants who are at hereditary risk of allergic disease and had no eczema symptoms at study entry,” the authors conclude

However, some of the findings, do hint at a possible benefit of early egg introduction, they point out.

An earlier study showed that waiting until after 10 months of age was associated with a higher risk for egg allergy.


Ragweed season is here

While many people regard spring as prime pollen season, one type of pollen wreaks havoc in the late summer and fall. Ragweed pollen usually starts mid August and reaches peak levels in mid-September; this type of pollen can cause seasonal allergic rhinitis (more commonly known as hay fever), which affects as many as 23 million Americans. Ragweed is particularly abundant in the Midwest region of the U.S.

Symptoms of ragweed allergy are similar to those of other pollen allergies:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Headaches
  • Irritated eyes
  • Itchy throat

Ragweed pollen can also aggravate asthma symptoms, leading to increased coughing and wheezing.

Management and Treatment

If you’re suffering from hay fever symptoms in the late summer or fall, consult an allergist about the possibility of a ragweed allergy. Your allergist can confirm a diagnosis with a skin test — applying a diluted allergen to the surface of your skin and waiting about 15 minutes to see if there is a reaction, such as a raised red bump that itches.

Ragweed allergies can be treated with antihistamines and other allergy medications. As with pollen season in the spring, you can try to get ahead of these allergies by starting your medication two weeks before you expect your symptoms to be at their worst. Ask your allergist whether any of your medications can be taken before symptoms develop.

Two immunotherapy options are available for severe cases of ragweed allergy:

  • Allergy shots can help your body build resistance.
  • Tablets that dissolve under your tongue are available by prescription. Pills must be started 12 weeks before the beginning of ragweed season.

Other tips include:

  • To avoid pollen, know which pollens you are sensitive to and then check pollen counts. In spring and summer, during tree and grass pollen season, levels are highest in the evening. In late summer and early fall, during ragweed pollen season, levels are highest in the morning.
  • Keep your windows closed at all times, both at home and in the car.
  • Remember that pollen can be tracked into your home via your clothes, your hair or your pet — so change your clothes after being outside for long periods of time, shower before going to bed and wash your hands after petting an animal that has been outside.