expert type icon EXPERT

Dr. Monika Korff, M.D.

Allergy & Immunology | Allergy

Dr. Monika Korff practices Allergy and Immunology care in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Korff specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of asthma and other allergic diseases. Allergist-Immunologists are trained and certified to treat each patients sensitivity and response to allergens of varying severity. Dr. Korff provides several means of testing and treatment to increase immunity to potentially harmful substances.
17 years Experience
Dr. Monika Korff, M.D.
  • Columbia, MD
  • Loma Linda University
  • Accepting new patients

Does echinacea work?

Depends on how you define "really works." It is not harmful and can contribute to better functioning immune system. However, if you expect the turn off the cold symptoms in 24-48hrs READ MORE
Depends on how you define "really works." It is not harmful and can contribute to better functioning immune system. However, if you expect the turn off the cold symptoms in 24-48hrs just because you started to take it, you will be disappointed. Remaining on it during the cold flu season daily (similar approach with vitamin C) may prove to be more beneficial than as needed use. 

Hope that helps, 

Monika Korff, MD

Why am I allergic to just soy milk and no other soy product?

Very good question. Many of the other products contain soy lecithin or soy oil which are devoid of actual soy protein which is the molecule that the human immune system develops READ MORE
Very good question. Many of the other products contain soy lecithin or soy oil which are devoid of actual soy protein which is the molecule that the human immune system develops an allergy to. While soy beans and tofu do have concentrated soy protein cooking those products (the heat during cooking) alters the structure of the protein and is some patients (like you) that prevents the immune system from recognizing the trigger thus not triggering an immune response. So, as long as they do not bother you keep eating those foods - I suggest avoidance of soy milk as you have alternatives and there is no need to unnecessarily stimulate your immune system. 
Hope that helps. 

Sincerely, 

Monika Korff, MD

Strange allergy, what is it?

What you are experiencing is not strange at all. It is called oral allergy syndrome - OAS for short. Believe it or not, it is an extension or a result of your inhalant (pollen) READ MORE
What you are experiencing is not strange at all. It is called oral allergy syndrome - OAS for short. Believe it or not, it is an extension or a result of your inhalant (pollen) allergies. 
When we develop allergic (IGE) antibodies to certain pollens - ragweed, some grasses and minor weeds and birch tree pollen - those antibodies make the immune cells in the oral cavity (mouth, tongue, the back of the throat) react to certain fresh or raw fruits and/or vegetables. Families of proteins are shared between those fruits and vegetables and the pollens and so the immune response is triggered or stimulated. The most common foods involved are apples, stone fruits, melons, carrots and celery, cucumber, bananas, kiwi, avocado. At times, peanuts and tree nuts can trigger such symptoms. When those foods are processed or  cooked the proteins change their form so the immune system is not activated as it does not recognize the food as a trigger any longer. 

The good news about this syndrome is that it is fairly benign and there is less than 0.5% of systemic or anaphylactic reactions so we usually do not prescribe an epinephrine in such cases. You can safely continue to consume the offending foods in their "cooked/processed" forms, just avoid eating them raw/fresh. Some patients who do allergen immunotherapy or allergy shots for their inhalant allergies notice less or even no reactions to the foods over time, but not everyone experiences an improvement to a degree to allow them to freely eat the foods. So, not much to worry about.
Thank you for the question and hope this helps you in some way.
 
Sincerely, 

Monika Korff, MD

Wheat sensitivity?

I am sorry you are experiencing discomfort. It is certainly possible - not as frequent as gluten sensitivity, but I have seen it. Unfortunately, just like with non-celiac gluten READ MORE
I am sorry you are experiencing discomfort. It is certainly possible - not as frequent as gluten sensitivity, but I have seen it. Unfortunately, just like with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, there are no reliable tests no confirm it as the process of sensitization is not well understood. I think it maybe easier to switch to gluten free products as that will ensure no cross contamination. However, if there are products that do not trigger the symptoms you can certainly continue to consume them.
Hope that helps.

Sincerely,

MK