As #Christmas time approaches, it’s clear that Americans want choice. When I ask patients what they would like for Christmas, “I don’t know” is usually not their answer. Children’s eyes filled with sparkles at Santa’s coming, parents’ smiling at me and thankful I haven’t ruined their stories about Santa dominate our discussions about the holidays. Of course, I’ll always review medications and made sure that #asthma won’t ruin a perfectly good Christmas.
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:
The Fall cometh and we all have allergies (particularly #ragweed) to deal with. It always amazes me how much information about #fall allergies can be found on the internet–some true, but much isn’t close to giving you good information about how to treat your allergies. In fact, if you’ll remember, I asked where most of you get your medical information and 100% said “from a medical journal”. I’m not sure I believe that result or there wouldn’t be so many allergy myths in Tulsa! I’ve often wondered, why does it make any difference to have good medical information about how to best treat your allergies? Continue reading Well, you don’t say?
Excuse my ranting and raving about myths in #allergy, but it’s true our minds need to “get in gear” for what we believe. Does it really make sense and does information we believe come from reliable sources? Let’s try and debunk a few myths about allergy while it’s fresh in your mind.
- Once I start allergy shots, I’ll never have any problems. #Allergy immunotherapy or “allergy shots” are very helpful to relieve symptoms of #hay fever such as sneezing, runny nose and even wheezing, but they don’t cure everything. For instance, if you have sinusitis, don’t count on your shots to cure your symptoms–you have to treat the sinuses for relief. This may include antibiotics/prednisone for one month at a time, or even surgical intervention. This is the reason I will often obtain a CT scan of the sinuses before starting allergy shots–to make sure I’m not missing an infection or anatomical obstruction in the sinus cavities. You wouldn’t expect the patient below to improve with allergy shots because they have a concha bullosa on the left side causing obstruction of nasal airflow. Not a good remedy for allergy shots!
- Benadryl is the antihistamine of choice–pick an ER and you’re likely to find #benadryl used like candy. Medical conditions like #hives and unknown #allergic reactions should be treated with antihistamines, but benadryl, really? Better antihistamines are available OTC and include Zyrtec and Xyzal. They’re stronger, more potent and last up to 24 hours instead of 4-6 hours like cousin benadryl. Next time you get benadryl, substitute with a better antihistamine and see what happens. (I think you’ll be pleased).
- Nasal spray addiction–Here in America, we don’t like using #nasal sprays. Europe has no problem sticking lots of objects up their nose, but in this country, we’d rather take a pill than use the more effective nose sprays. Every single study that compares nasal sprays with antihistamines, finds that nasal sprays such as corticosteroids work much better for allergies than pills and sometimes even allergy shots. WORD of CAUTION: Nasal sprays such as Afrin or 4-way spray can be addictive and harmful to your health. I’m only comparing nasal sprays with antihistamines and #topical steroids which don’t have addictive potential.
- There has to be a cause to my hives—perhaps the most frustrating medical condition of all time is #hives. That pesky rash that can range from a few bumps to your body being covered from head to toe with incredible itch associated with difficulty breathing and swelling. Most patients come in to the office hoping to find a cause or trigger to avoid and thus cure the hives. Unfortunately, the cause for hives is never found in 70% of cases, only leading to more frustration and disgust. I will usually look for allergy, bone marrow problems (tryptase) and alpha gal sensitivity, but that’s about it for finding a cause. Symptom control is key with antihistamines and Xolair, but if you stop your medication, the hives are likely to return.
No, I’m not done with allergy myths, but part 2 is coming up later. Those topics to include the following:
- Can I get over asthma?
- Isn’t everyone allergic in Oklahoma? I’ve come to the right state;
- Food allergy–https://www.usatoday.com/videos/travel/experience/food-and-wine/2018/07/07/these-foods-can-help-you-feel-cool-heat/36661435/
If you don’t believe me, here’s an hour long lecture on “Allergy myths” given by Dr. Dave Stukus (teaches at Ohio State University) at the following link:
Ever notice how everyone has #allergies these days? I kid you not, almost everyday, a patient will tell me that #Tulsa (where I practice) has more allergies than any other place in the country. The irony of it all, is so did patients in Kansas, and patients say the same thing in Virginia and Texas. You get my point–we all love to be known as the Allergy Capital of the World! Maybe it’s because allergies make us feel so miserable, and we love to hear stories about how to deal with the nemesis. Or maybe we want some “inside information” to share with our friends & family who also suffer from allergy. Whatever the reason for our obsession with allergy, you can’t argue with the fact that good allergy advise is not only helpful for better quality of life, but it’s crucial in making sure that allergy sufferers avoid heeding the WRONG advice for treating #hay fever. This is the passion I experienced in order to complete a fellowship training in allergy– I wanted to be able to interact with patients about their #allergic symptoms on their journey to good health. But wait, why practice a specialty that has so much incorrect information on-line and no doubt, “everyone’s an expert in allergy” when you could be doing real medicine to treat someone’s heart attack? Here are four reasons I still practice allergy for your consideration: Continue reading Four reasons I still practice Allergy in the Information Age
Thanks for all your help with my #allergies, but I have a bone to pick with you. A few minutes into my visit and you’re talking about “rhinitis” and “IgE” and “desensitization”. By the time my brain catches up with you, our visit is over and I don’t feel like I really understand what condition I have. Could you slow down and explain what you mean by all that medical riff-raff?
Confused and a bit rushed Continue reading Dear Doctor…..
It’s difficult to find good material on the internet related to the practice of #allergy. Here is one such blog site: http://blogs.medscape.com/garystadtmauer. This blog originates from New York and the practice website is http://www.cityallergy.com. I will periodically post comments & articles from Dr. Stadtmauer’s blog and I’ve included one below about the coexistence of systemic allergy (that’s a positive skin or blood test) and LOCAL allergic rhinitis which has all the signs & symptoms of allergy, but guess what–skin & blood testing is all negative. Very frustrating for #patients to experience allergy symptoms, but go in to their local allergist and find nothing. I wish treatment would be more satisfactory, but as you can imagine, it’s unknown what allergens to mix up for your allergy recipe if all testing is negative. Continue reading What Else About Allergy is Out There?
The following YouTube video describes a process called “Rush Immunotherapy” conducted in Ohio. It’s now a more common way to deliver #allergy shots and reduces the total number of shots required to achieve clinical relief from your #allergies. Some caveats about #RUSH Immunotherapy need to be included and your bullet list is below the video.
I would make the following corrections to this video:
1. Unfortunately, you can’t answer all questions about immunotherapy (allergy shots) in a 3 minute news clip.
Never hurts to ask if interested in participating.
So, a week or so ago… I got an email from somebody asking me if I’d be interested in partaking in a research study that’s being done in an effort to rid people of their cat allergies. Since my skin reactions are so bad, I was definitely interested. I told them that as long as nothing in the study involved anything else I’m allergic to (such as chemicals) then I was game. I directed the person I spoke with to my list of allergies. She came back saying that I’m not an eligible candidate because I have seasonal allergies. Womp, womp. Seasonal allergies are really common, so it’s too bad that anybody with them can’t participate.
Anyways, not everybody HAS seasonal allergies, so I figured I’d pass along the information to you anyways – just in case you can use it!
Here ya go:
Cold Temperatures Force Pets Inside, Exacerbate…
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