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April 23
Free Seasonal Allergies Webinar

Interested in learning more about the causes and treatments for allergies or would you like the opportunity to ask a physician all of your spring allergy related questions?  

Join us May 20th at 9:00 PM EST for an interactive, live webinar!  Follow this link to register or scan the QR code below.
  
Feel free to share this link with your family and friends so they can participate too!
 
WebinarAR.jpg

 

 

April 15
Dr. T. was featured again in the local news!

​Dr. T. was featured in a CBS6 news report about pollen season:

 

April 03
How to beat your spring allergies

Spring time is coming soon or is already here for many parts of the country. Along with the warm weather and birds singing we also see large amounts of tree and grass pollen. For those of us that suffer from spring time allergies this can be a really tough time of year with symptoms such as runny/congested noses, itchy/watery eyes, and (in some) increased cough and wheezing. We manage allergies in three ways:

1.       Avoidance: Pollen is prevalent in the southeast for 9 – 10 months a year. It’s difficult to avoid pollen, but simple avoidance measures such as keeping bedroom windows closed, using central or window air conditioning and changing filters monthly can help. Also, shower and shampoo hair as soon as you are done working or playing outside, and keep animals outdoors as they carry pollen on their coats. Click here to see our Environmental Control Handbook.  Keep track of pollen counts to know when allergen levels are high.
2.       Medications: A variety of medications are useful in treating symptoms. Antihistamines are useful for alleviating itching and sneezing, while decongestants alleviate congestion. Nasal sprays (both steroid and antihistamine) effectively treat many nasal symptoms while a variety of antihistamine eye drops are available for eye symptoms. Many allergy sufferers start their medication regimen before pollen season begins to prevent symptoms from becoming too severe. If you suffer from asthma, there are different types of inhaler medications that can treat ongoing symptoms and others that help prevent symptoms from occurring in the first place.
3.       Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is a very effective treatment for allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis and asthma. Unlike medications that treat symptoms only, immunotherapy desensitizes the immune system and prevents symptoms from developing in the first place. Immunotherapy is effective in approximately 85% of patients and reduces symptoms, decreased the need for medications and may prevent asthma in young children. There are multiple studies that show that immunotherapy decreases health care costs in both adults and children. Immunotherapy also has the potential to create long term relief from allergy symptoms even after the treatment is completed. Immunotherapy is traditionally given as allergy shots (subcutaneous immunotherapy), but a newer method is with allergy drops under the tongue (sublingual immunotherapy). For those patients that are only allergic to grass pollen (which pollinates in the late spring and early summer) there are even sublingual grass immunotherapy tablets that have been approved by the FDA.
If you have symptoms that are uncontrolled please talk to your trusted health care provider. If you haven’t already seen an allergist consider doing so, they can provide you with detailed information on what you are actually allergic to and give you the best customized treatment options available. As always, you can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for daily pollen counts, office information and more. If you enjoyed this post please “Like” us on Facebook and “Share” the article.
 

 

Dr. Ananth Thyagarajan (Dr. T.)

 

April 01
Dr. T was interviewed on the local news

Click on the link to see Dr. Thyagarajan (Dr. T.) being interviewed about the upcoming spring allergy season here in Richmond:

http://wtvr.com/2014/04/01/spring-sneezing-commences/

March 31
Dr. Blumberg and Dr. Thyagarajan named as Richmond Top Docs

Congratulations to Dr. Blumberg and Dr. Thyagarajan (Dr. T.) for being named Richmond Top Docs for 2014!

March 12
Should I Start Allergy Shots?  How do I Decide?
If you have had allergies for a period of time, at some point you may be faced with the option of starting allergy shots as suggested by your doctor. Here is at least a partial list of things you should consider before going ahead with them: 
 
1.      Your philosophy: allergy shots are in a way a more “natural” treatment than medications.  They are like vaccinating you for your allergies.  With allergy shots, you are given small but increasing quantities of the specific pollens, dust, pet dander and/or molds to which you are allergic.  It changes the way your immune system responds, thus reducing the allergic response and therefore the amount of medications you will need to control your symptoms.  Also, after 3-5 years of adequate doses of allergy shots, studies have shown continued benefit from the shots for 3-10 years even after stopping them. So if your philosophy is that you want to minimize the use of medications, then you should choose allergy shots.
2.      Skin tests: Your allergist will most likely only recommend shots if a) your skin tests are positive and b) the specific allergens that are positive correspond to your symptoms.  For example, if your symptoms are present only in the fall, but your skin tests are positive only to spring pollens, allergy shots would not be appropriate.  Conversely, if you have symptoms all year around but worse in the spring and your skin tests are positive for spring and fall pollens   in addition to allergens which may affect you year-round, such as dust mite and pet dander, then you are a good candidate for allergy shots. There are some people who suffer with nasal symptoms all year around or have asthma all year around who have completely negative skin tests.  These people have non-allergic rhinitis or non-allergic asthma and shots will not help them.
3.      The severity of your symptoms:  If your symptoms are mild and/or last only a few weeks per year, then the commitment of taking allergy shots may be too much for you. But if your symptoms last several months during the year, for example all spring and all fall, then allergy shots would make more sense. Or, on the other hand, your symptoms are severe and you have tried several kinds of antihistamines in addition to nasal steroid sprays with only partial relief, then allergy shots would be the next step even if they only last for a short time during the year.
4.      Cost:  your cost for the allergy shots will depend upon your insurance plan.  Our office will submit your information to your insurance company to get an estimate of what your out of pocket costs will be.  Since allergy shots reduce your need for medication, some studies have shown that allergy shots are cheaper than taking medications. Click here to read about a study that shows this.
5.      Effectiveness vs. medication:  Over the long term, allergy shots are more effective than medication. In fact, allergy shots are effective approximately 85% of the time.  Compare that to the most effective type of medication, steroid nasal sprays, which are effective 37% of the time. With allergy shots, you are likely to be able to decrease the amount of medication that you need, or even eliminate medication.
6.      Commitment: Although allergy shots have many advantages over medication, they do require more commitment. You need to start getting injections once per week.  Traditionally, this goes on for 4-6 months, depending upon how well your body tolerates the rate of increasing doses. After that, you continue on maintenance every 2 weeks for 3-5 years. There are two other types of schedules.  One is called the Cluster Method. If your schedule allows you to come in for 2 hours for several weeks in a row, you can complete your build up to maintenance in as little as 9 weeks.  There is a third schedule that is in between those first two.
 

 This is a lot to think about.  Hopefully, these considerations will make your decision easier. As always, you can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for pollen counts, office information, patient education and more. If you enjoyed this post please “Like” us on Facebook and “Share” the article.

 

 
By Elaine S. Turner, MD

 

March 04
Oue previous Food Allergy Webinar now available on-line

 

Dr. Thyagarajan, Dr. T, presents on the topic of Food Allergy and then provides a live Q&A session with the audience.  Watch it now on our YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/myallergypartners.

March 03
Late Opening for Tuesday, March 4th

All of our offices will be opening at 9am.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

February 27
Why Allergy Partners?

More than 20 years ago in Asheville, North Carolina, Allergy Partners was founded on a simple premise: by working together, allergists can identify and implement best practices, which will result in improved patient care. By following that premise, we have grown to almost 100 allergists and 800 team members in 17 states. We are proud to provide care for more than a half-million patients. We are even more proud of the quality of care we provide.

 

All Allergy Partners physicians are certified by the American Board of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. That certification requires certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine or the American Board of Pediatrics followed by a minimum of two years of fellowship training. As a result, our physicians are uniquely qualified to manage conditions including:

 
• allergic rhinitis
• asthma
• allergic conjunctivitis
• chronic cough
• chronic sinusitis
• urticaria and angioedema
• atopic dermatitis
• contact dermatitis
• anaphylaxis(bee sting, drugs, food, or other causes)
• immune deficiencies
 
To make certain we remain on the cutting edge of our specialty, we created the Clinical Excellence Committee. Under the oversight of Dr. Spencer Atwater, our Chief Medical Officer, the Committee identifies opportunities for improvement, reviews pertinent medical literature and current standards, develops recommendations for optimal treatments, and engineers systems to make sure that treatment is delivered consistently. A perfect example of that is our state-of-the-art allergen immunotherapy program and extract lab. In many ways, immunotherapy is the cornerstone of the allergy specialty. To ensure that immunotherapy is as safe and effective as possible, we worked in conjunction with nationally recognized experts to develop our formulation processes and dosing recommendations. We invested in building our extract lab after seeking input from industry experts as well as the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. Today we produce over a quarter million vials of allergy extract annually following USP 797 guidelines for sterile allergenic extract processing. It is through this attention to detail that we can provide you assurance that the patients you entrust to us will be provided safe and effective therapy.
 
At Allergy Partners, we are committed to using the latest technology to improve patient outcomes. Each of our locations is not only using the same electronic health record, they are also configured as a single database. In this way, as opportunities to improve care become available, we can easily build and implement the forms that will encourage that care on an enterprise level. We can and do track the outcomes of that care delivery, and use that understanding to implement further change. We have published data in national allergy journals which we hope will help other practices with what we have learned.
 
We also use our information systems configuration to improve the quality of our consultations. We have an “All Doctors” listserv set up which enables our referring physicians to benefit from the expertise of not just one, but almost 100, practicing allergists. When any of our physicians confronts a particularly unusual or difficult case, he or she can immediately tap into the expertise of our entire network. With our current size, we see this oppor­tunity utilized once or twice every day. It not only provides access to much broader expertise for our patients, it also serves to educate our own physicians on a daily basis.
 
At Allergy Partners we are proud of our history and proud of the care we provide today. We are even more ex­cited about the future and the opportunities we have to deliver even better care. We have just implemented our patient portal, which increases our opportunities to interact with patients. We are in the process of developing more robust outcomes assessment capabilities. Additionally, we are exploring ways to integrate technology in ways that will help us work with our patients to make those outcomes even better. And most importantly, we are continuing to work as a group to build a patient-centered culture. As hard as we work behind the scenes to implement best practices and improve our specialty, we work just as hard to make sure our patients recognize that we care. We pledge to provide our shared patients the very best care and the best experience possible.

 

February 26
Dr. Thyagarajan was interviewed on CBS 6

Click on the link to see the video:

http://wtvr.com/2013/04/18/spring-allergies-explained/

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 About this blog

 
 

Welcome to our blog site! Stay tuned to get the latest news. We will share tips and techniques for living with and managing your Allergies & Asthma. We look forward to sharing useful resources with our patients!


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