In keeping with AchooAllergy.com's commitment to making information about allergies, asthma, and related conditions accessible, we like to speak with medical professionals about matters such as allergy-related current events or the reasons to apply specific allergy treatments, like nasal irrigation. We work closely with allergists and other health experts to ensure that the both the educational material we pass on to you and the products we offer are grounded in medical science.
This month, we checked in with Dr. Larry Posner of North Bay Allergy & Asthma to keep in tune with an allergist's perspective on the current state of the allergy world. Here are some of the questions that we asked Dr. Posner and what we learned:
In general, what trends are you observing in allergies in your patients (food allergies increasing, seasonal allergies, patients asking for specific treatments, anything that comes to mind)?
"There are increasing trends in all allergic diseases: seasonal allergies, food allergies, allergic asthma, and anaphylaxis. This trend has been tracked over the past 25 years, although reasons for the increases are not clear."
What is your perspective on sublingual immunotherapy? Do your patients ever ask for it? Do you recommend it? Why or why not?
"U.S. trials have not repeated the efficacy shown in European trials. Patients are asking for it, but insurance will not cover it so there is a cost issue. In addition there are case reports now of anaphylaxis with sublingual immunotherapy, although there are no deaths. Precise dosing has yet to be determined for sublingual immunotherapy."
How often do you recommend allergy relief products to your patients for their treatment and why are you a proponent?
"The published data on allergy relief products is clearly mixed. It seems that often single interventions are not effective and a more comprehensive approach is necessary. Logically it makes sense to decrease exposures to allergens people test positive for. So I routinely recommend allergy relief products that are specific for a patient's allergic sensitization."
What are your favorite allergy relief products?
"For dust mite allergy, mattress covers, pillow encasings, and duvet covers, removing stuffed animals and other mite breeding areas from the bedroom, and washing bedding in hot water or with tannic acid in cold water wash. HEPA air cleaners seem to make the most sense for animal, mold, and pollen allergy."
Is there anything else pertaining to allergies that you would like to mention to our readers?
"Chronic rhinitis can have very insidious effects on people's quality of life, affected sleep patterns, focus and concentration, learning ability in school age children. With the pharmacotherapy and interventions available today and little cost and without significant side effects, there is no need for patients to go untreated."