The Itch: Allergies, Asthma, Eczema & Immunology

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#51 - Skincare strategies and lifestyle changes for atopic dermatitis in all skin colors

August 9th, 2022

Practical tips about skin care maintenance for atopic dermatitis

In the third part of our 5 part series in collaboration with the Allergy & Asthma Network on atopic dermatitis in skin of color we are talking all about taking care of your skin and how to make your living environment more atopic dermatitis friendly.


Dr. G and Kortney the importance of skin hydration; the best ways to moisturize and shower. They also share ways to ensure your living environment is optimized for good skin conditions, from cleaning products to carpets. Finally, they go over the psychological side of atopic dermatitis and how to maintain balance in the body and the mind. 


What we cover in this atopic dermatitis in skin of color episode:

Understanding the importance of keeping atopic skin hydrated.

How to break the itch-scratch-rash cycle.

Skincare: bathing and moisturizing - the preferred types of cleansers and moisturizers to use.

How to make your living environment atopic dermatitis friendly.

Sleep hygiene for atopic dermatitis.

Managing stress to help control eczema - some things that can help you.

Strategies to stop scratching.


From Shiv

How moving helped her flares.

Seeking therapy was important to her mental health and skin healing.


Helpful atopic dermatitis in skin of color resources:

Resource for AD in skin of color:

Dr G and Kortney discuss yoga for asthma - many of the tips can also apply to atopic dermatitis: 

More eczema episodes:

Yoga for asthma podcast:

Meet Shiv on Instagram: 

#50 - Diagnosing AD in patients with skin of color

July 14th, 2022

How do doctors diagnose atopic dermatitis in skin of color?

In the second part of our 5 part series in collaboration with the Allergy & Asthma Network  on atopic dermatitis in skin of color we are talking about diagnosis!

Dr. G and Kortney discuss all of the tests involved in diagnosing atopic dermatitis (AD) in people with skin color. They also cover all of the skin conditions that are ruled out when a doctor is making a diagnosis and the importance of patient history in diagnosis. 


What we cover in this episode:

• A quick overview of what AD looks like in skin of color

• Skin conditions that may look like atopic dermatitis and common misdiagnosis

• The symptoms doctors look for when diagnosing atopic dermatitis

• Explanations of the  tests doctors use to diagnose atopic dermatitis- IgE blood test, component blood test, skin prick test, patch testing,and  skin biopsy

• How to diagnose eczema in babies and the link to food allergies

• The other factors that doctors take into account when diagnosing AD - the importance of patient history


From Shiv:

• Shiv shares her experiences with being diagnosed with atopic dermatitis and her experiences with different doctors.


Helpful Links:

• Link to images of AD in skin of color:

• “What is eczema” from Allergy & Asthma Network:

• More about Shiv:

#49 - Understanding Atopic Dermatitis in Skin of Color

June 23rd, 2022

This is the first episode of our 5 part series in collaboration with the Allergy & Asthma Network about atopic dermatitis in skin of color. 

In the first episode, we are going to talk about atopic dermatitis (AD) in people with skin of color. Atopic dermatitis affects everyone differently, which means it does not look the same on everyone or in every skin color. It is important to recognize this and to raise awareness on how AD impacts certain populations differently than others. 

Along with Kortney, Dr. G will be sharing her expertise as an allergist and will be overviewing the basics of AD. Special guest Shiv Sewlal shares her personal experiences with atopic dermatitis. 


What we cover in this episode

• Why are we doing a podcast series about atopic dermatitis (AD) in people with skin of color?

• What is atopic dermatitis?

• Is eczema the same thing as atopic dermatitis?

• What is the difference between child onset versus adult-onset atopic dermatitis? Can you develop AD as an adult?

• Why is atopic dermatitis more prominent in people with skin of color?

• How can housing impact your skin? 

• Why air conditioning can be helpful for people with atopic dermatitis.

• Why is atopic dermatitis underdiagnosed in patients with skin of color?

• What are the symptoms of AD in different skin colors?

• What are triggers? How do these make atopic dermatitis worse?

• How does mental health impact atopic dermatitis?

• What is the itch-scratch cycle?

• Who should you see if you think you have atopic dermatitis?


From Shiv

• Shiv shares what her atopic dermatitis looks like

• Shiv and her mom’s experience with therapy to help with her skincare


Helpful Resources

•  All our past atopic dermatitis episodes:

• More about Shiv:

• "What is eczema" from Allergy & Asthma Network:

#48 - Yoga for asthma

May 4th, 2022

Can yoga help with asthma management and control?

We are releasing the ‘Yoga breathing exercises for asthma’ panel discussion that Dr. G and Kortney had in the late fall of 2021. This was one of 3 Living Well with Asthma Virtual Events organized by Allergy & Asthma Network and sponsored by GSK.

What we cover in this climate change episode:

- The benefits of yoga for your breath, asthma and overall health. 

- How yoga gives you more body awareness that helps with asthma management. 

- How to choose which form of yoga to do.

- When to use an albuterol inhaler before yoga.

- How to prepare for your first yoga class and what to look for. 

- The difference between doing yoga at home vs doing yoga in a studio.


Q&A section:

- Can yoga help with vocal chord dysfunction?

- How about going to a studio during the pandemic?

- Do you need to modify your yoga practice due to age?

- Are there any medical conditions that would stop you from doing yoga?


Helpful resources:

- Kortney’s yoga tips:

- Watch the panel discussion here:

#47 - The impacts of climate change on human health

January 11th, 2022

What are the impacts of climate change on human health?

Climate change is a large public health threat, it impacts all aspects of human health from physical to mental. Dr. Neelu Tummala joins us to discuss how we are seeing the direct effects of climate change on human health. She also shares ways that both patients and doctors can take action to help combat climate change. 

The face of climate change is no longer the polar bear, it is your son, your grandma, your neighbour, and even you!

What we cover in this climate change episode:

  • How is climate change impacting our health? 

  • Why are doctors are concerned about the increased length of pollen allergy season? 

  • What can doctors and patients do to make a difference with climate change?

    • Understanding what changes the government can do such as the Build Back Better Act

    • Supporting local organizations 

    • Energy efficiency home

  • Building awareness: if you are living with a condition that is affected by climate change and your environment - talk about it!

  • How climate change is impacting lower-income communities more than wealthy communities?

  • Dr. Tummala explains why you want to talk about climate change with your doctor

  • The importance of being aware of the air quality index

  • How much impact does an individual have versus a government or big company?

  • Plant-based diet - what if you love eating steak?

  • Is recycling actually worth it?

Helpful resources:

More about Dr. Neelu Tammula

  • Dr. Neelu Tummala is a board-certified physician, surgeon, writer and climate advocate who has a special interest in education and advocacy concerning the health effects of climate change and environmental injustice. 

  • She is on the Steering Committee for Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action and is a trained Climate Reality Leader. She has worked with the American Lung Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, The Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, and Environment Virginia as a volunteer activist and educator.

  • Follow Dr. Tummala on social media:

#46 - Allergy, headache and migraine - How are they related

October 14th, 2021

How are headaches related to allergies?

If you have allergies or don’t have allergies, but you get your fair share of headaches and or migraines this episode is for you. 

We are joined by Dr. Huma Sheikh a board-certified Neurologist-Headache and Vascular Disorder Specialist. She gives us the 101 on all things headaches and migraines and lays out the connection between headaches and allergies. If you say you have sinus headaches then you will be sorely surprised to learn that is not a medical condition. 


What we cover in this importance of sleep episode 

What are headaches?

What is the trigeminal nerve, why is it important in headaches?

What is homeostasis?

Primary and secondary headaches - when headaches are a symptom and when is a headache the main disease such as a migraine. 

How are allergies and headaches linked?

The link between allergies and migraines?

What is a sinus headache?

Cross-over between allergies of the eyes and nose and headaches. 

What is trigeminal neuralgia? How to differentiate it from allergies. 

When should someone see a headache specialist?

Comorbidities and migraines.

How are migraines diagnosed?

Can certain foods and food intolerances cause headaches?

Can histamines cause headaches?

How are headaches and migraines treated?

NSAIDs - how do these medications work? What is an NSAID allergy?

How do you know that you need to see a doctor about your headaches?



Dr. Sheikh: @headachesnyc:


NSAID list:

#45 The importance of sleep and allergies

September 9th, 2021

What is the importance of sleep? Why is it something we want to talk about on a podcast about asthma, allergies, and eczema?
Sleep is the center of health, so naturally, it would have an impact on asthma and environmental allergies. Dr. Carol joins us to discuss the importance of sleep from how it impacts your overall health, mood, productivity, hunger, and more! She unpacks what good sleep looks like, how to figure out if you are getting enough sleep, and of course how sleep impacts allergies and vice versa.
What we cover in this episode:
- Why is sleep so important?
- How much sleep do you need?
- The pros and cons of napping.
- What is more important sleep quality or quantity?
- What does good quality sleep look like?
- How do you know if you are getting enough sleep?
- How do allergies impact sleep and vice versa?
- How to get better sleep?
- What is sleep hygiene?
- Can air purifiers help you with your sleep quality?
- How does special bedding, like dust mite covers, help people with environmental allergies?
- Best practice for sheet care and mattress care for people with environmental allergies.
- Do any allergy medications impact sleep?
- Restless leg syndrome and how this can be impacted by allergy medication.
- When should you go see a sleep specialist?
Additional resources:
- More about Dr. Carol: Telehealth:  and follow her on Instagram: @bhaisleephealth
- Air purifier: get a discount using Gupta50 to get $50 off
- How to claim CME credits from this episode:

#44 - What is Oral Immunotherapy

August 2nd, 2021

Oral Immunotherapy, OIT, has been on a lot of food allergy minds lately, especially with the FDA approval of PALFORZIA (the peanut pill).

Dr. G and Kortney talk with Dr. Gharfeh is a double board-certified pediatric trained allergist/immunologist practicing in Oklahoma City. She has first-hand knowledge when it comes to OIT as she practices in clinic and has recently undergone OIT with her daughter. 

What we cover in this episode on Oral Immunotherapy

  • The types of immunotherapy including OIT, SLIT, and epicutaneous.
  • The current research and status of OIT for the different allergens.
  • The status of peanut for OIT. 
  • Unpack the advantages and disadvantages of Palforzia, the FDA-approved peanut pill.
  • Outline the process of OIT at the allergist office.
  • What happens is if you react during OIT.
  • How allergists ensure the protein in the doses are used for OIT. 
  • The pros and cons of doing oral immunotherapy as a patient and as a family such as the time commitment and risks of OIT.
  • The reason why OIT is mostly targeted to under 18s. 
  • The side effects of OIT.
  • Risk of developing EOE during OIT. 
  • Current unknown of OIT - will the desensitization last? How long will the patient need to take the maintenance dose?
  • What should a patient think about when considering OIT
  • How many foods you can do at a time with OIT
  • Dr Gharfeh shares her personal experience doing OIT with her daughter
Additional resources on Oral Immunotherapy
How to claim CME credits from this episode:

Can you be allergic to semen?

June 28th, 2021

A bonus episode that digs into the possibility of being allergic to semen. We talk with Dr. Wright about human seminal plasma allergy (Hypersensitivity) - what is it and how common is it. Of course, you can't talk about intercourse without talking about kissing, so we also chat about how to safely kiss after your partner has consumed a food allergen.
This episode was sponsored by Allergy Insider.
What we cover in the episode
- Can you be allergic to semen?
- Can a food allergen be found in semen as it can in saliva?
- What is the likelihood you could have a reaction via intercourse due to your partner eating an allergen?
- What can you do if you have an allergy to semen?
- How to test whether your allergy was from semen or something else?
- What about kissing your partner if they have consumed a food allergen?
More helpful resources:
- Kissing, Sex and Food Allergies - how to talk to your partner about your allergy and getting intimate.
- Episode with Amanda and Dan about dating and alcohol when you have food allergies.
Intimacy for people with latex allergies (later in the post)

#43: Food Allergy Myth Busting 2

June 3rd, 2021

Time to tackle some common food allergy myths and listener questions.

Dr. Wright, a board-certified allergist and Medical Director at Thermo Fisher Scientific, joins Dr. G and Kortney to bust common misconceptions that circulate around food allergies as well as answer your questions.

What we cover in this episode:

- The difference between food allergy and food intolerance.

- How an allergist diagnoses a food intolerance.

- What medication exists for people with intolerances and how they work.

- How likely is it for your second child to develop a food allergy if their sibling does.

- Should you get your child tested for an allergy before introducing an allergenic food?

- If your child has eczema will they develop a food allergy?

- If you are allergic to peanuts will you also be allergic to legumes?

- If taking a food out of your diet will lead you to become sensitized to it and potentially develop an allergy to it?

- Is it true that when your allergen appears on a may contain label, you have to 100% avoid eating it?

- When it is appropriate to use Benadryl for an allergic reaction

- The importance of epinephrine auto-injectors.

- Why you should not become complacent about having “little reactions”. 

- Can antihistamines mask anaphylaxis?

- Will throwing up the food with an allergen in it lessen your chances of having a reaction?

-  Could you have an allergic reaction if you did not swallow the food with your allergen in it?


This episode was sponsored by Allergy Insider.


Additional Resources:

Allergy Insider

- Allergy Insider:

- Follow @allergyinsider on Instagram for more information on allergies:

- Follow Allergy Insider on Facebook:

- Follow Dr. Wright on Instagram:


More information about:

- Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance:

- How to read a label:

- How to Prepare for a Food Allergy Emergency:


Relevant The Itch Episodes:

- Ep. 22: Food Allergy Myth Busting -

- Ep. 42: What are cross-reactive allergens? -

- Ep. 2: The science behind an allergic reaction -

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