Fit Louisville


Greater Louisville Health Guide is a directory and resource guide to health providers and services in Louisville, Kentucky. Includes listings of area doctors and dentists, hospitals, nursing homes and emergency care.

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F I T 2 0 1 8 - 2 0 1 9 9 ALLERGIST What are some of the newest allergy findings? "As far as what people are allergic to, I don't think there's anything new there. Especially seasonal allergies. We live in Louisville, Kentucky, so there's mold and pollens and dust mites, as far as inhalant allergies. There's been a lot of recent research into food allergies. It used to be that for all foods, all the time, the only treatment we had available was to avoid them. Now we have found that we can focus on prevention and we're finding that (it helps) if we feed these foods to young children earlier in life instead of saying, 'Don't give your child eggs, peanuts and other highly allergic foods.' Until children are two years old, we ask parents to start giving them these things when they're four to six months old, and not as many of them become allergic. So that part has changed. But do not do it without a doctor's advice and supervision, especially if you're in an allergic family. "As far as therapies, there have been some new things that are available in addition to standard allergy shots. And for ragweed and grass allergy, we now have another medication that is sort of like an allergy shot but it is in a pill form. We have several injectable medications for people with severe asthma and eczema. People very often go, 'Oh, I don't want an injection.' But the fact is, if you're not doing well and your symptoms are not in control, it might be worth your while to ask about it. A lot of these are things that you're not going to get at your regular primary-care doctor. You'd need to see an allergist and be evaluated." What's the most common reason people come to see you? "This time of year, we start with tree pollen. The trees start blooming in February and on into March and April. That's followed by grass pollen, which Dr. Barbara Isaacs private practice comes out around Derby and is around for May and June. Most of our pollen patients get July off, and then in August we start up again with ragweed from the middle of the month to the middle of October. Dust mites are little creatures that eat human skin scales and you find them where human beings are. They like humidity, and Louisville has lots of humidity, which increases the dust mite population. That also contributes to mold. Fallen leaves in the fall, those get moldy too. If you have pets and you say, 'I'm not allergic to my dog,' that may be true, but if the dog goes out and rolls in the yard and comes back in in the spring, you now have a pollen-coated dog in your lap. Or in the fall, he goes out, he's now a moldy-leaf-coated dog. You're trying to be a good pet owner, and you're holding or petting him, and he ends up putting all that pollen or mold in your face. "The other thing we have in Louisville (is caused by) the anatomy or the geography of the region. We're in a valley, and what happens is, we develop what's called an inversion layer, which sort of sits on top like a lid on the valley. The air in the valley doesn't really go any place. If you have pollen and mold in the air, it's not going to blow away like it would if you lived on the coast. That makes it worse, especially in August when we have pollution alerts. It goes on for days because there's nothing to blow it out of here." What are some easy habits to cope with these conditions? "When you've got a nice day, it's very tempting to open up your windows and let the 'fresh' air in. But on those nice days, it's breezy, and now you've got all the pollen going through the house. So, tempting as it may be, if you're an allergic person you should keep your windows closed and your air conditioning on so that when you go out, you can come back in to some place that's allergy free. Or relatively allergy free. (You can) use HEPA filters so your furnace and air conditioning get more things out of the air. When you dust around the house, use a Swiffer cloth that holds on to the dust; otherwise, all you're doing is moving things into the air and breathing them back in. If you're somebody who likes to hang your clothes outside, if you're an allergic person, that's not a good idea either. Hanging clothes on the line puts pollen and outdoor mold onto the clothes. You're better off putting it in the washer and dryer. The heat in the dryer will kill dust mites. If you've got a dog or cat, the more often you wash them, the better it is for you to get the dander off the animal, and it also gets off any pollen or mold." At what point should someone seek treatment? "If they're taking medicine more of the time than they're not taking medicine. If they're unable to participate in activities they would like to participate in. Somebody with exercise-induced asthma may not be able to participate in long-distance cross-country running, but they should be able to participate in athletics. If you watch the Olympics, you'll see people who — before they get on their skis, or on the ice-skating rink, or in the swimming pool — will use their asthma inhaler. If your kid isn't going out and their eyes are all swollen, and their nose is running, and they're feeling terrible all the time, it's time to take them in to get evaluated. I don't think that somebody who is severely allergic to mold and hay should be stuck in a barn with horses, but on the other hand, for most other things, they should be able to participate in activities. You don't have to lock yourself indoors."

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