All posts by CharlestonAllergy

Allergy sufferers look to needle-free treatment for symptoms

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Traditionally, allergic rhinitis has been treated with incremental increased dosing of inhalant allergens to which the patient is sensitive, given subcutaneous injection (“allergy shots”). This subcutaneous (SC) immunotherapy has been used safely and successfully for over 100 years and is currently seen as the gold standard for allergy treatment.

Although SC immunotherapy is minimally painful, many patients, particularly children, would prefer an oral alternative which they might take at home instead of in the allergist office. Attempts began in Europe to formulate effective oral versions of allergy extract immunotherapy and European allergists have documented some success.

Oral Immunotherapy has quite a bit of appeal because needles are avoided and doses can be administered at home. Documentation of the effectiveness of this therapy has been ongoing in the United States and safety and efficacy has been demonstrated in several recent studies. The FDA has just approved two oral (sublingual) grass pollen products for use in the US.

These products have not been made available for prescribing at this time although we anticipate availability soon. No oral products are yet approved for trees, weeds, animal protein, dust mite, cockroach, or mold spores. As these new oral products will only be effective for individuals with isolated grass pollen allergy, individuals who are sensitized to multiple types of inhalant allergens would not benefit from this therapy.

We do anticipate the availability of additional oral allergens such as dust mite in the future. The availability to these new and future products will add to our arsenal of immunotherapy alternatives for our allergy patients.</div>

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Deadly Fire Ant Attacks Becoming Major Problem in the Southeast

fire-ant

Days ago a 12-year-old boy from Texas died due to a severe allergic reaction to fire ant bites. The boy was attacked while warming up for the second half of a football game and eventually fell unconscious before being taken to the hospital. In July, 2013, a Georgia woman age 65 also passed away due to a severe allergic reaction to the same type of fire ant venom. After being bitten by the pool at her condo, she fell into anaphylactic shock and died in a hospital days later from complications.

Allergy to fire ants has become an increasing problem in the Southeast as these imported insects become more widespread.  Fire ants are actually native of South America, having spread to the Southeastern United States in the early to mid 1900s.  Currently fire ants can be found throughout the Southeastern United States up to the Mason Dixon line and in western states including New Mexico and  Arizona. These aggressive ant species have almost completely eradicated native ant species in the Southeast.

Fire ants are ubiquitous in both rural and city areas, with estimated current sting rate for fire ants in the low country area approximately 30% of the population per year!

How do fire ant attacks occur?

Fire ants bite with their jaws and while holding on with jaws, will repeatedly sting with abdominal stinger.  The sting area will usually develop a sterile pustule within 3-4 hours of sting but this pustule may not be visible immediately after sting.  Reactions can range from local painful reactions, particularly if multiple stings, to more severe systemic reactions including anaphylaxis.  Fire ant sting deaths have been reported in both humans and livestock in the Southeast.

If the patient develops a generalized anaphylactic reaction to fire ant with symptoms including hives, swelling, flushing, itching, vomiting, and respiratory difficulty, they should be evacuated immediately to an emergency room.  Epinephrine should be given immediately if available. Epinephrine is the only drug that can reverse a serious life-threatening reaction to fire ant stings.

How can someone prevent this from happening?

If the patient has allergies to fire ants confirmed by allergy testing, they can receive allergy extract immunotherapy – a therapy which can prevent future life-threatening reactions.  All patients with fire ant allergy should have an EpiPen or Auvi-Q automatic epinephrine injection device available when outdoors. A variety of insecticides have been used for fire ant eradication however all of these insecticides are only transiently effective and at present, we are certainly not winning the battle to control the spread of these dangerous insects.

via Post and Courier

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Charleston Ranked 26th Worst for Fall Allergies

While Charleston is certainly a scenic, beautiful place to live, it can be tough on the allergies this time of year.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranks Charleston as the 26th-most-challenging city to live in with allergies this fall. The report is based on pollen levels, use of allergy medications per patient, and the number of allergists per patient.

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