The holiday season is upon us. Along with all the festive spirit and good cheer in the air are a slew of hidden dangers lurking right inside your home.
“During the winter and holiday months, people are indoors with Christmas trees, wreaths and candles,” Dr. Robert Ziering of Allergy & Immunology Medical Group said. “These are all things that can irritate allergy and asthma patients.”
Live trees, wreaths and garland should be avoided, Dr. Ziering said. “Smoke from fireplaces and wood burning stoves can also be an irritant,” he added.
And it isn’t just the decorations that can be harmful. “Patients with known food allergies should be especially cautious of hidden or unknown ingredients in holiday foods,” Dr. Ziering, who is board certified in allergy and immunology as well as pediatrics, said.
Allergy & Immunology Medical Group, located in the Vista Medical Plaza, treats adults and children with allergies and asthma. Common allergies can include pollen, mold, animals, dust, foods, insect stings, drugs and food. “Allergies tend to run in families,” Dr. Ziering said. If you have a family history of allergies, it is a good idea to be tested.
If you suffer from asthma, you are not alone. “Twenty-five million Americans have asthma, with symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness and wheezing,” Dr. Heather Volpp, a board-certified internest with the group, said.
Allergies and asthma are often connected. “Allergies are often a trigger of asthma, as are irritants such as smoke, pollution, strong fumes, some medicines, respiratory infections and exercise,” Dr. Volpp said.
Even if you are one of the many affected, the team at Allergy & Immunology Group can help you to live a full and happy life. “We treat the patient so they are able to work, go to school, sleep and play,” Dr. Volpp said.
“We start with environmental control — avoidance of things the patient is allergic to,” Dr. Volpp said. “We recommend medications that may reduce symptoms, and for many allergy patients we offer immunotherapy.” Immunotherapy is administered with shots of allergy extracts from whatever is causing the allergic reaction.
“Given in increasing doses until a maintenance therapy is reached, they can reduce allergy symptoms,” Dr. Volpp said.
She added that the extracts contain no medication and are individually prepared, based on each patient’s allergy test reactions.
Allergy & Immunology Medical Group is on the cutting edge of treatment for allergies and asthma. “Xolair is a relatively new injectable treatment for asthma patients with allergies and also for patients with hives,” Dr. Ziering said.
Also new is an oral medication for grass allergy. “We use traditional and many new medications,” he added.
As with any condition, a proper diagnosis is key. “It is important that a food allergy is properly diagnosed to determine if it is a true allergy, a food intolerance or symptoms of another condition,” Dr. Ziering said. “Food allergy can cause rash, itching, eczema and difficulty breathing. Anaphylaxis can occur, which is life-threatening.”
“Patients of all ages with allergies, asthma, eczema, hives and food allergies should come to see us,” Vicki Timerman, administrator and research supervisor with Allergy & Immunology Medical Group, said. “We can offer you a better quality of life and natural and safe treatments. Our doctors are board-certified and our practice bills most insurance carriers.”
In line with their mission to remain on the forefront, Allergy & Immunology participates in clinical research studies that they feel will benefit patients with asthma, allergies and COPD. “These studies provide patients who qualify with free tests, doctor visits and medication,” Timerman said. “Patients are also reimbursed for time and travel. We currently have a COPD study and several asthma studies.”
Allergy & Immunology Medical Group has been in the Tri-City area for 36 years. “Many of our patients and their family members have been coming to our office for treatment for many years,” Timerman said. “We have been a part of many success stories and enjoy watching our pediatric patients grow up.”
Allergy & Immunology Medical Group is located at 2067 W. Vista Way #140.
They are open Monday through Friday and offer walk- in shot hours as well as scheduled appointments.
For more information, call (760) 941-4444 or visit sdallergy.com. To find out if you qualify for any of the research studies, contact Dee Dee Tindall at extension 107.