Myth-busters in Medicine

As an allergist  in Tulsa, the myths that surround asthma, food allergy, hives, hay fever abound and patients often come in to the office telling ME what they are allergic to or how to fix the problem. Let me give you some examples:

  1. We resist the diagnosis of #asthmaI cough and I wheeze, but I don’t have asthma! Unfortunately, what you don’t diagnose, you can’t possibly treat–or at least not effectively.  As health care providers, we’ve been trying for decades (literally) to convince patients to take #preventive medications for their asthma so they won’t have to run to the emergency room and it’s not working. What’s the myth? Isn’t it expected to be treated in the emergency room for your asthma at least once per year? Our old dogma for asthma would suggest a frail, undernourished child who never keeps up with everyone else on the playground. So of course, they’ll be in the emergency room with every viral infection during the school semester. Fortunately for you, asthma is now easier to treat than ever, and we expect more from specialist care. That being said, you have to believe you have asthma before you’ll treat this condition like a chronic illness. What do I mean by that? Using your inhaled #corticosteroids as prescribed, which means every day, you can not only treat your CURRENT cough and wheeze, but you can prevent FUTURE attacks. Think about it! If you could prevent future heart attacks or strokes with a simple daily medication, wouldn’t it be worth it? 
  2. Food allergy is also a constant source of medical myths. And who better to explain a medical myth about food allergy than #ZDogg? You can’t call a doctor ZDogg and keep a straight face can you? See, I knew you would try! Home allergy testing is a scam and he’ll tell you why. By the way, I published this particular video on #LinkedIn already and got lots of likes and questions–people really don’t know if home allergy testing using IgG is true or not.

Let’s move on with allergy myths because it gets better.

  1. Hives can be a mess when recurrent itching doesn’t go away and you are covered with welts. Everyone must think there is “something” causing the hives…at least that’s what I am told in the office. “I had my allergist check me, but they couldn’t find anything”, say most frustrated urticaria (hives) patients. The truth is most hives never have a cause that’s easy to identify. In fact, 60% of #hives are idiopathic, meaning there is no easy trigger. Even if you don’t find the reason for the hives, this condition is treatable, and with the use of Xolair (omalizumab) can provide significant relief.
  2. Let me introduce Dr. Dave Stukus to you. If you’re on Twitter for any length of time, you’ll see comments from Dr. Stukus. His passion is to expose all these allergy myths that lead to misinformation, delayed treatment, and basically a miserable existence. For example, skin testing isn’t always positive. Many patients have allergy symptoms we call rhinitis, but no molecule called IgE which allows us to “desensitize” you to your specific allergies. In this case, you’re out of luck for the use of allergy shots, but if you’ll use your nasal spray, the results are quite satisfactory. This condition is called “vasomotor rhinitis” and we still don’t know the mediators or causes of this condition, except that irritants are causing the runny nose, congestion, and allergy-like symptoms.
  3.  And no!, there are no hypoallergenic dogs. But don’t take only my word for it, listen to a medical school instructor debunk many of the myths surrounding allergies and asthma. Dr. Stukus trains doctors to become allergist at Ohio State University, so he’s got to know what he’s talking about. Plus, if you hear it on Twitter it’s got to be true! His explanations about allergy myths with my fav ZDogg is more like a classroom lecture (45 minutes), but it’s well worth your time and will definitely educate on myths you most likely have. Don’t be stupid about allergies; learn the truth and your health will be better off for it.

So the bottom line…go see your board-certified allergist to answer your questions about hives, allergies, asthma, chronic infections and get on the right track to feeling like a million bucks. And I guarantee it won’t cost that much.

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