Please leave your questions or comments!

I need an outlet for my questions, comments, or we hope are a few complaints or improvements as I like to call them. I’m sure you would appreciate any opportunity to communicate with me as well. I have changed many things over the years based on recommendations and questions from patients and colleagues alike. Use the comments section below for your writing space and I’ll delete the old messages so this section will always remain at the top of the page.

Teen Saves Mom Driving with Anaphylaxis; Confusion on Labels

Quick thinking kid. Publishing a good outcome was really nice for a change. Thanks for the info

Published: February 4, 2021 Mom’s Scary Anaphylaxis at the Wheel Courtesy Bustin Family / Today Show A cool-headed 13-year-old saved his mom’s life …

Teen Saves Mom Driving with Anaphylaxis; Confusion on Labels

Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine 66% effective in global trial —

Jan 30, 2021 – 09:41 Kyodo News Building of the company Johnson and Johnson in the Juan Carlos I Business Park in Madrid, it is an American multinational of medical, pharmaceutical and perfumery products, Spain.(Getty/Kyodo) WASHINGTON – Major U.S. pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson said Friday that its single-dose experimental vaccine was 66 percent effective […]

Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine 66% effective in global trial —

Many patients are now asking about which COVID-19 #vaccine would be best for them. I find it best to summarize questions into a list:

  • The COVID vaccine is designed to illicit an immune response and headaches, fever, muscle aches are really not side effects at all, but rather your immunity “gearing up” to meet the real virus. There are now 2 vaccines that can do this, and one more probably on the way. (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Patients who have allergies always want to know if it’s safe to take the COVID vaccine given the fact that they have allergies. It is recommended that all Americans, regardless of their allergy status, receive some vaccine in order to prevent COVID-19 infections.
  • That being said, anyone can have a reaction to a viral vaccine, including COVID. These reactions can be anywhere from mild itching at the site of injection to anaphylaxis requiring assistance with your breathing. Yes, rates of these severe reactions are low, but here’s what’s important about allergic reactions to COVID vaccines: you can’t predict them.
  • Previous reactions to non-COVID vaccines should be noted and those patients should wait longer at the injection facility (up to 45 minutes) to make sure they will tolerate any allergic reactions. But still, you can’t predict who will react and who will tolerate the vaccine just fine. Allergies involve IgE ; an antibody that is unique to asthma, atopic dermatitis, hay fever, and even the production of eosinophils. We use IgE to predict who will develop an allergic reaction, and because IgE is not involved with COVID-19 infections or immunization, we can’t predict who will react and who won’t.
  • The Johnson & Johnson version of COVID-19 vaccination has not been approved by the FDA as of 2/16/21, but I expect it soon. This vaccine is DNA (not mRNA), but is implemented into the cell nucleus to produce the same Spike protein produced by both mRNA vaccines. Why the J & J version has fewer adverse events isn’t fully understood, but you’re likely to only get a mild fever with the DNA vaccination. What I like best about the J & J version is “one and done!”
New England Journal of Medicine–found on 2nd page of Google search

So does the new vaccine work well enough to keep me from getting COVID? It is helpful to search Google for your own answers as I did with the above article from NEJM. Find ZDogg.com to help you with questions about the vaccine and laugh a little bit in the process. What does appear to be reasonable about the new vaccine is:

  • Less effective compared to the 2 dose schedule (mRNA) in terms of MILD infection. In other words, you may still have cold like symptoms, but you won’t end up in the hospital, ICU, or death as we’ve seen so much with COVID-19.
  • One vaccination is all you require for at least this season and with the variants we currently know about. Just keep in mind that the influenza vaccination changes every year because of variants–who knows if COVID will be the same?
  • The CDC is your friend. Even though you may not agree with everything the CDC has done in the past year, they’re website gives you lots of great information that everyone can agree on. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html (right click your browser and it will take you there)
  • We have so many options in fighting this year long COVID-19 pandemic and much information that is true can be found on reliable websites that I’ve mentioned above.

Whatever vaccine you decide to get, you’re working towards regaining our lives back–don’t give up now!

The Time Course of COVID-19 Vaccine Development–It’s Been Studied for a Long Time!

#anaphylaxis, #covid-19, #ige

Spring is Just around the Corner

What Am I Doing? It’s only 1 degree outside and I’m sharing about pollen?
Nothing to sneeze at: Climate change has worsened, lengthened pollen season across the US
Doyle Rice
USA TODAY
Published on Feb 8, 2021

As bleak as our winter has been, don’t be fooled by all that snow and freezing temperatures. Moisture in the form of snow and ice feeds the root systems of spring trees that will blossom by the end of this week. Warm winter coats and scarves will soon turn into light jackets and shorts. Your runny nose will no longer be a cold or viral infection, but will probably be classical hayfever due to tree pollen. This article from USA Today caught my attention not only for timeliness, but proven increase in the “pollen load” that our growing seasons are providing more warmth, length of season and generally more favorable conditions for growth of vegetation or “anything green!” I know, you can’t say the pollen season is starting early this year, but over the past 20 years, more ragweed is being collected based on the weight of this very important pollen than every before. What a job, right? I find it interesting that allergies are the only medical condition that patients are disappointed when they don’t have them. Even if your allergy testing is negative, enjoy learning the impact of pollen and where you find it!

Continue reading

#pollen-counts, #spring-trees

Reddit Has It All

Not sure I want to rinse my nose everyday for sinus problems, but here goes. I advise rinsing the nose for chronic sinusitis every day, but patients initially turn their nose up at this suggestion (pun intended). I find myself intrigued at the interest in nasal irrigation, flushing, or whatever else you want to call it. So who did I turn to but #Reddit Allergy. So what to my wondering eyes did appear, but questions abound for the right sinus rinse! Google search for sinus rinse yields > 7,000,000 hits and searching PubMed 750–you think there might be a problem there? Misinformation abounds and of course every advertiser/company has the best product! Who do you believe? I’m about to give you some guidelines that you can rest assured have at least been studied in one published article. And by the way, to answer your question below, if the water doesn’t come out the other side, you’ve got nasal congestion that needs further evaluation by your allergist or ENT. My comments are highlighted in RED in the lists after each article. There is no test at the end, but maybe next time….

For the Reddit Junkies
One of the few articles published on the true effects of nasal irrigation!
  • Budesonide is a steroid that can always be added to ANY device you use to flush the nose
  • When you hear “double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial” you’re on the right track to some real (and reliable) research. In this study participants didn’t know if they were getting budesonide or placebo; now remember, in any study the placebo effect can be as high as 30-40% and this is why you can’t make recommendations only based on your treatment “experience”.
  • SNOT-22 score–really? Let me know if you want more information on this one. No takers yet!
  • The results? Budesonide was better than saline for the sinuses, but it’s difficult to measure clinically meaningful benefits to sinus treatment. And who’s going to admit to a better SNOT score?
  • The good news: no side effects noted with the irrigation; so it may look bad, but won’t hurt you!

Here’s the abstract from the above study–>

IMPORTANCE: Recent studies suggest that budesonide added to saline nasal lavage can be an effective treatment for patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). PARTICIPANTS: This double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial was conducted at a quaternary care academic medical center between January 1, 2016, and February 16, 2017. A total of 80 adult patients with CRS were enrolled; 74 completed baseline assessments; and 61 remained in the trial to complete all analyses. Data analysis was conducted from March 2017 to August 2017. INTERVENTIONS: All study participants were provided with a sinus rinse kit including saline and identical-appearing capsules that contained either budesonide (treatment group) or lactose (control group). MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcome measure was the change in Sino-Nasal Outcome Test (SNOT-22) scores, pretreatment to posttreatment, in the budesonide group compared with the control group. Secondary outcome measures included patient-reported response to treatment, as measured with a modification of the Clinical Global Impressions scale, and endoscopic examination scored by the Lund-Kennedy grading system. RESULTS: Of the 74 participants who completed baseline assessments (37 in each study arm), mean (SD) age, 51 (14.7) years, 50 (68%) were women. Of the 61 who remained in the trial to complete all analyses, 29 were randomized to budesonide treatment, and 32 to saline alone. The average change in SNOT-22 scores was 20.7 points for those in the budesonide group and 13.6 points for those in the control group, for a mean difference of 7 points in favor of the budesonide group (95% CI, -2 to 16). A total of 23 participants (79%) in the budesonide group experienced a clinically meaningful reduction in their SNOT-22 scores compared with 19 (59%) in the control group, for a difference of 20% (95% CI, -2.5% to 42.5%). The average change in endoscopic scores was 3.4 points for the budesonide group and 2.7 points for the control group. There were no related adverse events. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This study shows that budesonide in saline nasal lavage results in clinically meaningful benefits beyond the benefits of saline alone for patients with CRS. Given the imprecision in the treatment effect, further research is warranted to define the true effect of budesonide in saline nasal lavage.

Adults have chronic sinusitis too!
  • Inflammation is once again the key to sinus problems even in the adult population.
  • 1-2% of total physician visits, not just allergists or ENTs. Very impressive.
  • Evidence-based approach to assist in optimizing patient care is the “Holy Grail” of being a doctor. If only we had this for COVID-19. Truth of the matter is, it takes years to analyze and accumulate enough data to make statements about evidence-based medicine, so for some issues, you’ll just have to wait.
  • I won’t bore you with the details, but these results come from HUUGE databases such as MEDLINE and Cochrane. It’s nice to be able to “mine the database” and combine multiple studies in the analysis of your final conclusion.
  • Compared with no treatment, saline irrigation was good, “add-in” topical steroids were better; leukotriene antagonists (Singulair) and oral antibiotics also showed improvement in not just sinusitis, but also resolution of nasal polyps.
  • And now let me introduce DUPIXENT! Approved for use in treatment of nasal polyps even without steroids. That is the problem with research–shelf life isn’t the greatest.

I’ve included the abstract below for easier reading–>

IMPORTANCE: Chronic sinusitis is a common inflammatory condition defined by persistent symptomatic inflammation of the Sino nasal cavities lasting longer than 3 months. It accounts for 1% to 2% of total physician encounters and is associated with large health care expenditures. OBJECTIVE: To summarize the highest-quality evidence on medical therapies for adult chronic sinusitis and provide an evidence-based approach to assist in optimizing patient care. EVIDENCE REVIEW: A systematic review searched Ovid MEDLINE (1947-January 30, 2015), EMBASE, and Cochrane Databases. FINDINGS: Twenty-nine studies met inclusion criteria: 12 meta-analyses (>60 RCTs), 13 systematic reviews, and 4 RCTs that were not included in any of the meta-analyses. Saline irrigation improved symptom scores compared with no treatment (standardized mean difference [SMD], 1.42 [95% CI, 1.01 to 1.84]; a positive SMD indicates improvement). Topical corticosteroid therapy improved overall symptom scores (SMD, -0.46 [95% CI, -0.65 to -0.27]; a negative SMD indicates improvement), improved polyp scores (SMD, -0.73 [95% CI, -1.0 to -0.46]; a negative SMD indicates improvement), and reduced polyp recurrence after surgery (relative risk, 0.59 [95% CI, 0.45 to 0.79]). Systemic corticosteroids and oral doxycycline (both for 3 weeks) reduced polyp size compared with placebo for 3 months after treatment (P < .001). Leukotriene antagonists improved nasal symptoms compared with placebo in patients with nasal polyps (P < .01). Macrolide antibiotic for 3 months was associated with improved QOL at a single time point (24 weeks after therapy) compared with placebo for patients without polyps (SMD, -0.43 [95% CI, -0.82 to -0.05]). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Evidence supports daily high-volume saline irrigation with topical corticosteroid therapy as a first-line therapy for chronic sinusitis. A short course of systemic corticosteroids (1-3 weeks), short course of doxycycline (3 weeks), or a leukotriene antagonist may be considered in patients with nasal polyps. A prolonged course (3 months) of macrolide antibiotic may be considered for patients without polyps.

  • Fungus among us–we don’t think very often about fungal sinus infections, but in this study, symptoms improved with antifungal treatment. Fortunately, this is topical amphotericin B as the IV route was called “amphoterrible” for good reason.
  • IgE is an antibody used for diagnosis and treatment of allergic rhinitis (one of the biological measurement of IgE is skin testing), but can also be used to measure inflammation due to infection.
  • In this study, almost 25% of ALL participants had recurrence of chronic sinusitis, but it was improved in the amphotericin B rinse group. IgE went down as well. It’s nice to know that something works for sinus problems, but now that we have DUPIXENT, the results are probably even more of a game changer!

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of topical antifungal irrigation fluid containing amphotericin B on nasal polyp and their recurrence pattern, and to study the association of serum IgE in predicting the presence of fungus along with the nasal polyps. METHODOLOGY: All adult patients having nasal polyps, who had not undergone any previous nasal surgery, were included in the study. Patients aged under 18 years, history of granulomatous diseases, immunosuppression, invasive fungal sinusitis, and pregnant ladies were excluded from the study. The ratio was kept as 1:2; one receiving irrigation with amphotericin B and the other only saline nasal irrigation without the medicine. Serum IgE level of more than 250 ng/ml was taken as a high value. RESULTS: A total of 87 patients were inducted. Overall 22 (25.3%) patients had recurrence of symptoms at six-month followup visit. Twelve (13.7%) of these were in the placebo group and 10 (11.5%) were in the amphotericin B nasal irrigation group. Serum IgE level preoperatively ranged between 52 – 9344 ng/dl; postoperatively it ranged from 13-1050 ng/dl. CONCLUSION: Amphotericin B improved the CT scan score of the patients. The nasal irrigation of amphotericin B did not show significant change in the recurrence pattern of chronic sinuses with polyps. Serum IgE can be used as marker for the presence and response to treatment for non-invasive fungal sinusitis.

  • Bacteria have evolved sneaky ways to protect themselves from death by antibiotics. Thus, bacterial infections in the form of adherent biofilms are frequently implicated in the pathogenesis and recalcitrance of chronic rhinosinusitis. You dirty rat! That’s for you Jimmie Cagney from “Taxi” (actually a misquote, but that’s for another time!)
  • Lots of methods to suck out your boogers from battery powered to suction from your own mouth into a separate “trap”. Oh parents will do anything to suck out moist mucous!
  • Who would be recruited for this study? Yuck
  • We are left with that SNOT score again to measure any benefit from our treatment with the Snot Sucker.
  • Battery powered nasal irrigation (snot suckers) came up with 2.5 million hits on Google–it’s popular.

I copied parts of the above abstract for details–>

The Hydrodebrider, a disposable powered irrigation and suction device, has been developed specifically to remove biofilm from the paranasal sinuses. We conducted a prospective study to evaluate the tolerability and efficacy of the Hydrodebrider in the office setting with the use of local anesthesia. Of the original 13 adults we recruited, 10 completed the entire study protocol. All enrolled patients had previously undergone sinus surgery that involved the creation of a maxillary antrostomy large enough to allow placement of a Hydrodebrider device, and the endoscopic findings in all patients were consistent with chronic sinusitis. In conclusion, powered irrigation with suction is a well-tolerated procedure in the office setting and might be a useful short-term adjunct in the management of recalcitrant chronic sinusitis.

Surely, there has to be some conclusions from all this?

  • Don’t get overwhelmed with all of the choices for cleaning out your nose.
  • Using nasal irrigation can include antibiotics, topical steroids, anti-fungal medication, baby shampoo just to name a few. Every doctor who deals with this has their own cocktail.
  • Although clinical research shows that nasal irrigation has a place in the treatment of chronic sinusitis & nasal polyps, you may just want to see your allergist for more aggressive measures such as allergy immunotherapy (AIT), Dupixent, Fasenra, Xolair or many of the other biologics available to treat nasal polyps and chronic sinusitis without using all of those steroids.

#chronic-sinusitis, #nasal-flush, #neil-med-irrigation, #netti-pot, #sinus-irrigation

1-year-old Oklahoma girl fighting COVID-19 transferred to multiple hospitals in order to find an available bed

This is what we all want to avoid….no room in the inn!

As rural Oklahoma hospitals continue to stay full, medical officials tell KFOR they are having to send more patients miles away to metro areas. However, metro hospitals reveal they are already fill…

Source: 1-year-old Oklahoma girl fighting COVID-19 transferred to multiple hospitals in order to find an available bed

What Else Besides Allergy Shots?

If you’re like me, I don’t think of allergies during the holiday season. But wait. Spring season here in Tulsa is less than 3 months away, and this year we’ll probably have a #COVID-19 vaccine by the time Spring hits in full bloom. I’m quite amazed at the ignorance surrounding the use of allergy shots, even by physicians.

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#allergy-shots-2, #chronic, #chronic-sinusitis, #warren-clinic-allergy

National Jewish Health Study May Offer Hope For People With Multiple Food Allergies

A clinical trial is underway at National Jewish Health to see if eating small, gradually increasing amounts of three of those allergens, along with a medication, can prevent a severe reaction.

Source: National Jewish Health Study May Offer Hope For People With Multiple Food Allergies

Much is now being published about food allergy–the main question for researchers is can patients be desensitized to foods safely? At Warren Clinic the answer is yes! We’re working with a product called Palforzia which gives you small amounts of peanut over the course of one day and then every 2 weeks thereafter–it’s working great and patients really love the idea of tolerating the food (peanut) they have dreaded for so many years.

But there is much more to treating food allergy than just desensitization. The above article reports a study at National Jewish Health that adds a common asthma medication, Xolair, to food challenges. This process would be especially helpful for those patients with multiple allergies as Jeremiah in this report can’t tolerate > 6 foods. That is a bummer! Be thankful you don’t have that many food allergies, but also be thankful for new research that is looking for a cure!

The Cat’s Out of the Bag!

As the holidays approach, our travel will be limited by #COVID-19, but we still may visit relatives with #cats, and you’re allergic! Researchers from Nestle Purina Research in St Louis MO may have part of the answer. As cats groom (which they do all the time), Fel d 1 is distributed within the hair coat and can then be shed with the #cat hair and dander. Not good news if you suffer from cat allergy. And worse news for your relatives!

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Holiday office schedule

This is short and sweet–days off until Jan 2021 for Dr. Wiens include December 23, 24, and of course Dec 25th. Have a great holiday season and enjoy Turkey day and Christmas!

Always one of my favorites!

It’s a scam to our patients

Much of my medical office day is explaining to patients what they DON’T have rather than treating #allergy. Allergy has become the explanation for all medical disease. For instance, it’s rare for allergy to cause lack of attention, abdominal cramping (because of food allergy), or even constipation, but patients want allergy testing nonetheless. What are some “non-allergy” conditions that you’re likely to spend money you don’t need because of excessive testing?

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#allergy-shots-2, #food-allergy, #myths, #sinus-infections