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

###

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.

Read more


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.

Read more


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.

###

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.

Read more


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.

Read more


UAS WAO Abstract Published Online

Congratulations to Frederick M. Schaffer, M.D., CMO; Larry Garner, allergy consultant; and Andrew Naples, clinical research coordinator; on the recent publication of The Safety of the United Allergy Services Immunotherapy Protocol. The abstract was published online in a supplement to the World Allergy Organization (WAO) Journal on February 3, 2014.

WAO

Click the link to access the publication: http://www.waojournal.org/content/7/S1/P24

The data was presented at the WAO Annual Symposium on Immunotherapy and Biologics in Chicago. The team earned Top Abstract Award by the WAO and was honored at the symposium in December.


Something To Sneeze At: National Survey Reveals That Majority Of Seasonal/Perennial Allergy Sufferers Want To Be Treated By A Primary Care Physician--Not An Allergist

SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the results of a recent United Allergy Services survey, two-thirds (68 percent) of U.S. seasonal/perennial allergy sufferers would rather seek treatment for their allergy symptoms from a primary care physician (PCP) than an allergist. Allergies are the fifth leading chronic disease in the U.S. among all agesi, and, with repeated exposure to allergens, many patients can develop allergic asthma. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that today, approximately 50 million Americans suffer from allergies and allergic asthma, and the prevalence is increasing.

Read more


Allergists Accused Of Shutting Out Competition

The Academy of Allergy & Asthma in Primary Care and United Allergy Services hit several coalitions of board-certified allergists, including the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, with a lawsuit in Texas federal court Monday, alleging anti-competitive practices.

Read more


Less Variety in Babies’ Gut Bacteria May Lead to Asthma Risk

Swedish study followed 47 infants for 7 years.

FRIDAY, Jan. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Infants with fewer types of intestinal bacteria are at increased risk for developing asthma, a small new study suggests.

Researchers assessed the varieties of gut bacteria in 47 infants and then followed them until they were 7 years old. At that age, 17 percent had chronic asthma, 28 percent had hay fever, 26 percent had the skin condition eczema, and 34 percent reacted to the allergens in a skin prick test.

Read more