Family Medicine Services Can Increase Access to Allergy Care

UAS Advisory Board Member Bernice Gonzalez, MD, of Vital Life Wellness Center in San Antonio, has written an article that focuses on expanding access to allergy treatment through the primary care setting as part of the June issue’s theme, “The Fate of Specialties.”

Please see attached for a copy of the article. San Antonio Medicine is a monthly magazine produced by the Bexar County Medical Society

San Antonio Medicine


Clearing the Air: United Allergy Services

President & CEO Nick Hollis is featured on the cover of NSIDE magazine, a Texas-based business and healthcare magazine. Click the link below for an online preview of the magazine or open the pdf of the cover and feature article.

TxMDCover_Houston_MayJune2014

Online Link

http://issuu.com/getnside/docs/nsidetx_md_sa_mayjune2014

PDF

Texas MD- May/June 2014


The Most Challenging Places to Live With Asthma

The Asthma Capitals™ is an annual research project of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America® (AAFA) to identify "the most challenging places to live with asthma." This report provides a summary of factors used to compare and rank the 100 largest U.S. metro areas. Visit us online to learn how to manage your asthma better no matter where you live. Go to www.AsthmaCapitals.com, call 1-800-7-ASTHMA or write to info@aafa.org for more information. This year's report is made possible by a grant from Boston Scientific.

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Two-Thirds of Americans Suffer from Allergies but Only Half See a Physician

Sneezing, Coughing & Itchy, Watery Eyes? Relief from Allergy Symptoms Begins When Patients Discuss Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment with Their Primary Care Physician

SAN ANTONIO, April 23, 2014According to a recent national survey, while two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans suffer from seasonal or perennial allergy symptoms, only half of these sufferers are addressing the issue with a medical professional, leaving millions across the country unnecessarily suffering from ongoing coughs, sneezes and itchy, watery eyes often causing people to avoid outdoor activities.

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The 10 Worst Cities For Spring 2014 Allergies

Despite the lingering chilly temperatures and persistent threats of snowfall, millions of Americans have started heading to their doctors with itchy, watery eyes, runny noses, headaches, difficulty breathing and more of the classic symptoms of seasonal allergies.

For the nearly 45 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, the joy of springtime can be significantly dampened. But to help them plan ahead, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has once again compiled a list of the most challenging places to live for people with allergies this spring -- should it ever arrive.

In fact, because of the sporadic warm days followed by snowfall, mold may be a bigger issue this year in addition to pollen, according to the AAFA. "No matter what time of the year it is, and no matter what Mother Nature sends our way, people with allergies need to be prepared,” Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, M.D., medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of NY and an ambassador for the AAFA said in a statement.

Being prepared can include medications, but people with allergies can also cope with a handful of simple lifestyle strategies such as leaving shoes and jackets outside, keeping windows closed, washing hair before bed and staying inside when pollen counts peak.

To calculate the Allergy Capitals report, the AAFA tallied local pollen levels, use of over-the-counter and prescription allergy medication and number of board-certified allergists in each area. Then, each city is assigned a score out of a total of 100 points. Virginia Beach made the biggest jump from last year's rankings, up to 20 from 66. And Los Angeles dropped the most, from 38 to 77.

Below, you'll find the 10 worst U.S. cities for spring allergies. Head over to the AAFA site for the full list of 100.

  • 10
    McAllen, Texas
     Getty
    Rank last year: #4
    Total score: 87.61
  • 9
    Birmingham, Alabama
    Rank last year: #14
    Total score: 87.71
  • 8
    Richmond, Virginia
    Rank last year: #22
    Total score: 88.68
  • 7
    Dallas, Texas
    Rank last year: #23
    Total score: 88.82
  • 6
    Chattanooga, Tennessee
     Flickr: Space Ritual
    Rank last year: #3
    Total score: 90.18
  • 5
    Jackson, Mississippi
     Flickr / Ken Lund
    Rank last year: #1
    Total score: 90.61
  • 4
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Rank last year: #9
    Total score: 91.19
  • 3
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Rank last year: #10
    Total score: 91.93
  • 2
    Memphis, Tennessee
    Rank last year: #8
    Total score: 97.10
  • 1
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Rank last year: #5. This is Louisville's third #1 ranking in 12 years.
    Total score: 100.00

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March 31, 2014
huffingtonpost.com


Common Cold Meds May Pose Health Threats: Interaction of two ingredients could cause serious side effects, researchers say

WEDNESDAY, March 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Over-the-counter sinus and pain remedies that combine two common ingredients -- phenylephrine and acetaminophen -- might cause serious side effects such as high blood pressure, dizziness and tremors, New Zealand researchers warn.

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United Allergy Services launches mobile healthcare app to encourage patient medication adherence.

‘myAllergyPal’ Allows Patients Undergoing Immunotherapy Treatment to Track Symptoms, Medication and Medical Appointments

SAN ANTONIO, March 6, 2014 – United Allergy Services (UAS), a leading healthcare services company that enables family physicians, pediatricians and health systems to deliver safe and effective allergy testing and customized immunotherapy services, today announced myAllergyPal, an innovative mobile application that enables patients to track home-based immunotherapy treatment progress.

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Immunotherapy Best for Chronic Rhinitis

SAN DIEGO -- Treating allergic rhinitis with immunotherapy appeared to reduce the risk of chronic upper respiratory conditions, a Medicaid study showed.

Treatment for those conditions was three-fold more likely to decline in the 18 months after immunotherapy than in matched patients treated for rhinitis pharmacologically or otherwise (down 6% versus 2%, P<0.0001), Cheryl Hankin, PhD, of the health research company BioMedEcon in Moss Beach, Calif., and colleagues found.

The difference was significant in chronic sinusitis, pharyngitis, tonsil or adenoid disease as well as nasal polyps and influenza, they reported here at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology meeting.

The results weren't unexpected but should help in counseling patients considering immunotherapy for allergic rhinitis, Theodore M. Freeman, MD, an allergist in private practice in San Antonio, Texas, told MedPage Today.

"This is absolutely confirming what I hear from my patients," he said."Now with this data, I can say it's documented that you're going to reduce the number of infections you're going to get and things like that."

Another implication is validating immunotherapy as important for allergic rhinitis, Hankin told reporters at a press conference.

"The public health and public policy message is that allergic rhinitis is not just a nuisance disease but is a precursor for the development of serious and extremely expensive respiratory disease," she said, noting that it also adds impetus to fast referral from primary care.

Her group had previously shown cost-effectiveness of allergy immunotherapy for hay fever using the same Florida Medicaid databases from 1997 through 2009.

The new analysis included 4,967 patients who had immunotherapy (likely almost all subcutaneous, given that the oral form isn't reimbursed) for newly diagnosed allergic rhinitis, and an equal group of matched allergic rhinitis patients who didn't get that treatment.

The likelihood of a decline in use of outpatient services over 18 months after immunotherapy versus controls was:

  • 35-fold higher for nasal polyps (down 0.34% versus up 0.14%, P=0.0131)
  • Two-fold more likely for chronic sinusitis (down 3.81% versus 2.15%, P<0.0001)
  • 35-fold higher for "other" upper respiratory tract disease (down 0.30% versus up 0.06%, P=0.0131)
  • Eight-fold more likely for chronic pharyngitis and nasopharyngitis (down 4.57% versus 0.62%, P<0.0001)
  • Four-fold more likely for chronic tonsil and adenoid disease (down 1.39% versus 0.34%, P<0.0001)

The same pattern with generally even greater magnitude of difference was seen at 6 and 12 months.

Immunotherapy was also associated with a three-fold higher likelihood of decrease in flu-related treatments (down 1.05% versus 0.34%, P<0.0001), but Harkin said this was not likely causal.

Rather, it suggested "that by getting specialty treatment, they're also getting preventive treatment," she said. "Their specialists are looking out for them."

The results should generalize from the Florida Medicaid population to other settings, Freeman suggested.

The study was supported by AAAAI; the Joint Council of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology; and the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

Hankin reported relevant financial relationships with Teva and Greer Labs.

Freeman reported relevant financial relationships with McKesson and UpToDate.

Primary source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Source reference: Hankin CS, et al "Allergy immunotherapy significantly reduces outpatient services use for chronic respiratory conditions in patients with newly-diagnosed allergic rhinitis" AAAAI 2014; Abstract 579.

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By Crystal Phend
March 4, 2014
medpagetoday.com


Pollen Allergies Rise During Spring in South Florida

For many South Florida children, March brings pollen allergy symptoms.  As trees and grass blossom, they release pollens that can trigger a reaction in your child's immune system, leading to sneezes, coughs, itchy eyes or more serious allergic reactions.

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Is It a Cold or Winter Allergies?

If you’re sniffling and sneezing this winter, you might think it’s a winter cold or flu — but it could be allergies.

“In the winter, most of the allergies that you’re going to suffer from are going to be indoor allergies — mold, cockroaches, dust mites and animal dander,” Joan Lehach, M.D., an allergist and clinical immunologist with a focus on integrative medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, told weather.com.

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