Saturday July 4, 2020



April 01

Spring Allergies

Spring Allergies

Spring is the time of year that we normally think of when it comes to seasonal allergies. As the trees start to bloom and the pollen gets airborne, allergy sufferers begin their annual ritual of sniffling and sneezing. Each year, 35 million Americans fall prey to seasonal allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever.

Although there is no magical cure for spring allergies, there are a number of ways to combat them, from medication to household habits.

What causes spring allergies?

The biggest spring allergy trigger is pollen -- tiny grains released into the air by trees, grasses, and weeds for the purpose of fertilizing other plants. When pollen grains get into the nose of someone who’s allergic, they send the immune system into overdrive.

The immune system, mistakenly seeing the pollen as foreign invaders, releases antibodies -- substances that normally identify and attack bacteria, viruses, and other illness-causing organisms. The antibodies attack the allergens, which leads to the release of chemicals called histamines into the blood. Histamines trigger the runny nose, itchy eyes, and other symptoms of allergies.

Pollen can travel for miles, spreading a path of misery for allergy sufferers along the way. The higher the pollen count, the greater the misery. The pollen count measures the amount of allergens in the air in grains per cubic meter. You can find out the daily pollen count in your area by watching your local weather forecast or by visiting the NAB: Pollen & Mold Counts page on the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s web site.

Here are some of the biggest spring allergy offenders:


Alder, Ash, Aspen, Beech, Box elder, Cedar, Cottonwood, Cypress, Elm, Hickory, Juniper
Maple, Mulberry, Oak, Olive, Palm, Pine, Poplar, Sycamore, Willow

Grasses and weeds

Bermuda, Fescue, Johnson, June, Orchard, Perennial rye, Redtop, Saltgrass, Sweet vernal, Timothy

Allergy symptoms tend to be particularly high on breezy days when the wind picks up pollen and carries it through the air. Rainy days, on the other hand, cause a drop in the pollen counts because the rain washes away the allergens.

April 01

Helpful Allergists

Consultation and Referral Guidelines Citing the Evidence: How the Allergist / Immunologist Can Help

The statistics are clear. Lack of appropriate management of allergies and asthma results in a tremendous financial burden and impacts the quality of life for millions of people with allergic disease. For many of these patients, working with an allergist / immunologist can be beneficial in managing their disease.

These consultation and referral guidelines developed by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology assist patients and healthcare professionals in determining when referral to an allergist / immunologist is needed. The support of an allergist / immunologist may include single or limited consultation, co-management between a primary care provider and an allergist / immunologist or ongoing specialty care by the allergist / immunologist.

Providing information based on evidence to assist in the decision-making process benefits both patients as well as our healthcare system.

The evidence included in these guidelines is based on:
• Diagnostic evidence: tests performed or interpreted by allergist / immunologists facilitate diagnosis
• Direct outcome evidence: evidence that intervention by an allergist / immunologist improves outcomes
• Indirect outcome evidence: evidence that interventions performed by allergist / immunologists improve outcomes (evidence to support established pharmacologic management will generally not be reviewed)

Included here are specific referral guidelines for 14 categories of allergic diseases, along with the rationale for the referral, scientific references and the type of evidence provided. The categories are listed alphabetically for easy navigation and do not relate to prevalence of the individual disease.

Role of the Allergist / Immunologist
An allergist / immunologist is a physician certified in either internal medicine or pediatrics, who has completed an additional two years of training in allergy and immunology at an accredited training program and passed the examination given by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI).

The allergist / immunologist is uniquely trained in:
• Allergy testing (skin, in-vitro)
• History-allergy test correlation
• Bronchoprovocation testing (e.g. exercise, methacholine)
• Environmental control instructions
• Inhalant immunotherapy
• Immunomodulator therapy (e.g. anti-IgE, IVIG)
• Venom immunotherapy
• Food and drug challenges
• Drug desensitization
• Evaluation of immune competence
• Education (disease, medications, monitoring)
• Management of chronic or recurrent conditions where allergy is not always identified: rhinosinusitis, conjunctivitis, asthma, cough, urticaria/angioedema, eczema, anaphylaxis

Source: American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology 

March 30

Spring Allergies

March 29

Allergies and the Time of Day

During the pollen season for grass and plants from May onwards, plants release pollen early in the morning. On a sunny day, as the day gets warmer and more plants and flowers pollinate, pollen levels can rise, and the pollen is carried high up into the air. The pollen count is therefore at its highest in the early evening, so if you have hay fever, it is a good idea to avoid going outside at this time of day. On humid and windy days, pollen spreads easily. If it is raining, pollen may be cleared from the air causing pollen levels to drop.

March 28

Influenza in Bats

Influenza Found in Bats

A new subtype of the flu virus is identified in Guatemalan yellow-shouldered bats, and it may share its genes with the human version.

Scientists have discovered another flu strain in a completely novel flu reservoir—bats. According to a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, some bats in Central America harbor a strain of influenza that, while genetically distinct from the one that afflicts the human population on a seasonal basis, may have implications for the evolution of the human virus.

“Despite its divergence from known influenza A viruses, the bat virus is compatible for genetic exchange with human influenza viruses in human cells, suggesting the potential capability for reassortment and contributions to new pandemic or panzootic influenza A viruses,” the authors wrote.

Ruben Donis, chief of molecular virology and vaccines in the influenza division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, and colleagues identified the virus in two populations of yellow-shouldered bats in Guatemala, and are now surveying bats in South America, Africa, and Asia to see how widespread the H17 virus is, according to Nature.

“We are far away from speculating on any pandemic potential of this virus, but finding this ancient influenza subtype stresses again that bats are an important source of animal viruses,” Ab Osterhaus, head of virology at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, who was not involved in the work, told Nature. After all, “most influenza A viruses circulate in waterfowl, but those that infect mammalian hosts are thought to pose the greatest risk for zoonotic spread to humans and the generation of pandemic or panzootic viruses,” the authors wrote.


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Today's Date: July 04, 2020
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