T: (321) 951-2709
F: (321) 952-2829
1515 Airport Boulevard
Melbourne, Florida 32901
An allergist / immunologist is a physician who has completed three years of specialty training in internal medicine or pediatrics and an additional two years of specialty training in allergy and immunology. An allergist is an expert in the diagnosis and management of disorders such as asthma, hayfever, medicine reactions, food reactions, recurrent infections, chronic cough, and sinus problems.
The immune system normally provides protection against germs and toxins. Allergy occurs when immune responses are exaggerated and directed towards the wrong things such as foods, pollens, molds, or pets.
We provide complete medical care to children and adults for allergy, asthma, and related immunologic conditions. Some common conditions that we diagnose and treat include asthma, nasal allergy, hay fever, rashes, eczema, hives, chronic cough, chronic infections, sinus problems, and reactions to medicines, foods, and insect stings.
Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Common symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
Asthma is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Its diagnosis is usually based on the pattern of symptoms, response to therapy over time, and spirometry. It is clinically classified according to the frequency of symptoms, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), and peak expiratory flow rate. Asthma may also be classified as atopic (extrinsic) or non-atopic (intrinsic) where atopy refers to a predisposition toward developing type 1 hypersensitivity reactions. The prevalence of asthma has increased significantly since the 1970s. As of 2011, 235–300 million people were affected globally,including about 250,000 deaths.
Nasal Allergy and Hay Fever
Allergic rhinitis, sometimes referred to as nasal allergy or hay fever, is an allergic inflammation of the nasal airways. It occurs when an allergen, such as pollen, dust or animal dander (particles of shed skin and hair) is inhaled by an individual with a sensitized immune system. In such individuals, the allergen triggers the production of the antibody immunoglobulin E (IgE), which binds to mast cells and basophils containing histamine. When caused by pollens of any plants, it is called pollinosis, and if specifically caused by grass pollens, it is known as hay fever. While symptoms resembling a cold or flu can be produced by an allergic reaction to pollen from plants and grasses, including those used to make hay, it does not cause a fever.
IgE bound to mast cells are stimulated by allergens, causing the release of inflammatory mediators such as histamine (and other chemicals). This usually causes sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, swelling and inflammation of the nasal passages, and an increase in mucus production. Symptoms vary in severity between individuals. Very sensitive individuals can experience hives or other rashes. Particulate matter in polluted air, and chemicals such as chlorine and detergents, which can normally be tolerated, can greatly aggravate allergic rhinitis.
Allergies are common. Heredity and environmental exposures may contribute to a predisposition to allergies. It is roughly estimated that one in three people have an active allergy at any given time and at least three in four people develop an allergic reaction at least once in their lives. In Western countries between 10–25% of people annually are affected by allergic rhinitis.
A rash is a change of the skin which affects its color, appearance or texture. A rash may be localized in one part of the body, or affect all the skin. Rashes may cause the skin to change color, itch, become warm, bumpy, chapped, dry, cracked or blistered, swell and may be painful. The causes, and therefore treatments for rashes, vary widely. Diagnosis must take into account such things as the appearance of the rash, other symptoms, what the patient may have been exposed to, occupation, and occurrence in family members. The diagnosis may confirm any number of conditions. The presence of a rash may aid associated signs and symptoms are diagnostic of certain diseases. The causes of a rash are extremely broad, which may make the evaluation of a rash extremely difficult. An accurate evaluation by a provider may only be made in the context of a thorough history and physical examination to evaluate the appearance, distribution, and symmetry of the rash in order to diagnose causation.
Eczema or often referred to as atopic dermatitis is a form of dermatitis,or inflammation of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). The term eczema is broadly applied to a range of persistent skin conditions. These include dryness and recurring skin rashes that are characterized by one or more of these symptoms: redness, skin edema (swelling), itching and dryness, crusting, flaking, blistering, cracking, oozing, or bleeding. Areas of temporary skin discoloration may appear and are sometimes due to healed injuries. Scratching open a healing lesion may result in scarring and may enlarge the rash.
Urticaria commonly referred to as hives, is a kind of skin rash notable for pale red, raised, itchy bumps. Wheals (raised areas surrounded by a red base) from urticaria can appear anywhere on the surface of the skin. Wheals may be pinpoint in size, or several inches in diameter. Hives might cause a burning or stinging sensation. Hives are frequently caused by allergic reactions. The majority of chronic hives cases have an unknown (idiopathic) cause. Whether the trigger is allergic or not, a complex release of inflammatory mediators, including histamine from cutaneous mast cells, results in fluid leakage from superficial blood vessels. In perhaps as many as 30–40% of patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria, it is caused by an autoimmune reaction. Acute viral infection is another common cause of acute urticaria (viral exanthem). Less common causes of hives include friction, pressure, temperature extremes, exercise, and sunlight. Angioedema is a related condition (also from allergic and nonallergic causes), though fluid leakage is from much deeper blood vessels in the subcutaneous or submucosal layers. Individual hives that are painful, last more than 24 hours, or leave a bruise as they heal are more likely to be a more serious condition called urticarial vasculitis.