ST. GEORGE – Have you or someone you know been experiencing a constant cough that just doesn’t seem to go away? Perhaps you have been on a series of antibiotics and other medications only to continue to hack and cough? What you might be experiencing is a chronic cough that is related to asthma or allergies.
Dr. Kenneth R. Pinna, with Southwest Allergy and Asthma and the only board certified allergy and immunology specialist between Provo and Las Vegas, has been practicing in St. George for 10 years. He sees many clients every month who have been misdiagnosed or mistreated due to asthma or allergy-related cough, he said.
Allergy symptoms are different from person to person and from one type of allergy to the next. Even within the same family unit, members may experience differing allergy symptoms.
To find an accurate diagnosis Pinna runs a series of tests so he can form an effective treatment plan. Diagnostics might include a chest X-ray, complete allergy and asthma testing and sinus imaging.
Once a diagnosis is made and a treatment plan is laid out, patients generally will go back to their primary care doctor for maintenance.
“I generally only have to see a patient one or two times,” Pinna said. “I don’t need to have them come back for monitoring. Their primary care doctors can do that.”
One misconception is that a person diagnosed with allergies will have to be given a series of allergy shots in order to overcome the allergy symptoms.
“Only about 5 percent of the patients I see require allergy shots,” Pinna said. “Of those 5 percent, the allergy shots have a 75 percent success rate, and can cure the patient of the allergy for good.”
According to The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 1-in-5 Americans suffer from some type of allergen. It can be something we breathe, eat or touch. Finding a quick and proper diagnosis is key to laying out the right treatment plan.
Allergens and allergies
The most common indoor allergens often include pet dander and dust mites. When the options for allergy relief are to get rid of the pet or desensitize the patient, he said, allergy shots can be quite effective in desensitizing a patient of certain allergy triggers.
Outdoor allergens include many types of grasses and pollens. If left untreated, reaction to this type of allergen can leave a person limited in regards to outdoor activities.
There are many over-the-counter medications that can mask or cover up allergy symptoms. These sometimes become overused and undereffective after long periods of use.
Children and allergies
Children can exhibit another type of allergies. There are several symptoms that a parent can look for that can be directly related to pediatric allergies or pediatric asthma, Pinna said.
A lot of these symptoms have a negative effect on school attendance, so quickly finding the correct diagnosis becomes an absolute priority. Many of these symptoms also bring about misdiagnosis of an infection and the child is treated with antibiotics that aren’t needed and don’t address the underlying problem.
Allergies and asthma are very closely related, for example, and the symptoms often times overlap, Pinna said. This is why comprehensive testing by a board certified specialist is important.
Benefits of proper treatment
An accurate diagnosis, education and treatment performed by a board certified specialist can improve a person’s quality of life, reduce hospital and emergency room visits, and give them the tools they need to control the disease process. Southwest Allergy and Asthma works with patients to achieve resolution, which in turn allows them to engage more in sports and other outdoor activities and to understand the effects of the environment they live in.
- Southwest Allergy and Asthma | 515 S. 300 E., Suite 101 in St. George | Telephone 435-688-8413 | Most insurance plans accepted | Clinic hours Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
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