This is a great resource for kids both with and without allergies to help understand the importance of awareness and inclusion.
As you can see from this reference, guidelines do exist for giving of allergy shots. Times are changing and new information is helpful to improve the benefits of allergy shots as well as making them safer.
Burn out! The very mention of the word conjures up a mid-life crisis with broken relationships, declining work performance, and substance abuse. Not to mention the pot belly that accompanies those of us in that blessed 5th decade of life. Doctors and other health care providers are not immune from this most dreaded disease; in fact, we may be more susceptible because we either deny its existence or simply don’t have the time to address the cause. Continue reading
Normally, I like to include lab studies for evaluation of patients with chronic infections. It’s very important to find out if your body can make the right amount of antibodies to fight infection. But…there’s always the exception. In this case, IgA can be absent from your bloodstream and not cause a problem because it’s gone. In short, I call this asymptomatic IgA deficiency (you should see the long version). The link below comes from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology–good stuff and easy to understand if you’re interested.
Ah yes, I remember it well. Of course as Abby’s dad, I walked through 3 feet of snow uphill, both ways! I was pulling a small rickety trailer behind a 1975 Ford Galaxie on my way to medical school in Kansas City circa 1983. Times and vehicles have changed, but the process of learning to be a health care professional (in this case a dentist), is remarkably similar to back when I was a student. Of course, everyone knows that your pre-dental class size is always larger during your freshman semester. Too much social life and just plain hard work often get in the way of the end result. That’s fine if academic studies aren’t your cup of tea….unless you want to be a dentist!
Life changes when you morph from a happy-go-lucky teenager into a professional caregiver responsible for some pretty serious stuff.
- Competition will now be a regular part of your life. Get used to it. College students with a pre-medical or pre-dental major aren’t officially ranked, but professional schools can “read between the lines.” They know who’s headed for the Ivy League. Once I start dental/medical school, I’ve got it made right? Not so fast…you’re still ranked among your classmates for desirable fellowship positions AFTER professional school is done. And besides, we’re all Type A personalities, so most of us want to win for no other reason than to win! Once I’m settled into a practice, can I relax? Of course not. Quality improvement/evidence-based medicine/practice marketing will make sure that you’re always looking over your shoulder to stay one step ahead of the competition.
- Learn to process information quickly & selectively…not every chapter in your biology book is essential for you to make a good grade. Learn the art of speed reading and you’ll thank me many times over. Have you ever been in a doctor’s office and observed all of the piles and piles of journals that seemingly stack up out of nowhere? Someone hasn’t been skimming for the most important concepts.
- Most importantly, be persistent. Rarely does an application to medical or dental school get a rubber stamp just when you thought it would (or should if you’re the one applying). You are no less of a health care professional just because you have to apply more than once. In fact, the harder you work for anything, the more you can appreciate it. Persistence shows passion, that you really want something even if you have to wait a bit longer to get it. And besides, what do you call the last person in the class after you finish medical school? That’s right…..doctor!
- So it’s tough being a doctor or dentist and the work starts now. Is this a good thing or overkill? Think of it this way. If I have a heart attack at 2 am, I want my doctor to be comfortable with making decisions when they’re tired and even a little sleep deprived. You do know that heart attacks are more common late at night and if you can’t take care of it in your sleep….you probably haven’t started your internship yet! If my tooth cracks on a weekend, please come fix it as soon as you can BEFORE Monday morning. Just sayin!
But don’t worry about anything now…just take one step at a time, with one foot in front of the other. Before you know it, you’ll have one more cap and gown to store in the event you have to prove you really did it. Enjoy your home away from home,
but you can always come back; no one else is going to sleep in your bed!
When it’s all said and done with no more money to make, no more patients to cure, and no more reports to write, your friends and family will always be there to give you the approval that you really need and quite frankly always wanted anyway.
Have fun pursuing your dreams little girl; coming from an old man, they won’t fly away, they just grow up!
Not really, but now that I have your attention, patients can learn lots of information from a good YouTube channel.
My YouTube channel has several videos that should interest you:
- How to use an inhaler from National Jewish Hospital. It’s better to use a spacer (yes, always), but often the spacer gets separated from the inhaler. Think I’m kidding…just check your purse. If you’ve lost your spacer, use the three finger bridge technique that’s illustrated on this video.
- What can I expect from skin testing? Does it hurt? My colleagues from Allergy Partners will explain the who, what, when, where and why about skin testing. And no, it doesn’t hurt like you think.
- And what would a blog be without celebrities? Does anyone remember Shaq playing basketball? You will remember his story about apnea!
Enjoy your weekend.
Asthma sufferers may benefit more from inhaling vitamin D than the steroids usually prescribed for the condition. And besides, aren’t we all concerned with side effects from steroids? A new study from the U.K. identifies a mechanism through which the vitamin can significantly reduce asthma symptoms and suggests it may offer a new method of treatment. Continue reading
I want to be an expert. Always have and always will, but now it’s a little easier than 30 years ago. In fact, all you need now to become an expert is a little fame, a published book or memoir, and Shazam! you’re an authority on any subject you want to write on. So where’s the beef on my book?
Well, that’s not exactly how an allergist becomes an expert. I won’t bore you with the details, but doctors are trained by experience in the clinic (office) and reading about the medical conditions you have to treat….over and over again. Eventually your training ends and what do you do then? No more residency programs, no more allergy fellowships, and no more mentors. I have found a valuable resource through the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) entitled “Ask the Expert” (hey they get paid for content, not the title). Here’s an example of a conversation about hives. (click on the link at the end) Patients all hate hives and just from this discussion alone I propose the following take home messages:
1. Hives are caused by allergy only 20% of the time. We usually want an easy answer, but if that were the case you would never show up in the allergy office. It’s important to look for the underlying cause of the hives, but in up to 50% of cases, the hives are due to autoimmunity….more on that later.
2. Once hives are identified, change your mindset to 6-12 months of treatment. Hives can resolve spontaneously, but it doesn’t happen quickly.
3. Hives that bruise should be evaluated ASAP….no exceptions.
4. The usual dose of antihistamines prescribed by your doctor is usually for treating hay fever. The effective dose for treating hives may be 4 times as high; beware of feeling sleepy for several days, but that side effect will usually improve.
5. I try to avoid steroids because of long-term side effects, but sometimes steroids are necessary to get the itching under control. Limit your use and look for alternative medications. But I will warn you, it’s not always allergy!
Yes, you too, can become an expert with your health—you’ll spend a lot less time in the doctor’s office if you do!