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Why are allergy patients so frustrated?

Mark E. Reiber, MD, FACS, FAAOA

In 2002, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America survey found fascinating answers:

Problem 1: Patients are using multiple medications without satisfaction:

An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure

Using medications before symptoms start is important. The natural tendency is to wait, but this is wrong.

That's the best I can do under the circumstances...

For severe cases, medications may be only a partial answer. Environmental control and immunotherapy are essential as well.

The right tool for the job

Not all "allergy medications" are alike. Some work for itchy, runny, watery symptoms, while others are better for blockage, pressure and congestion.

Be sure it is allergy

Not everything that seems like allergy is allergy. Migraines, TMJ and other non-allergic diseases mimic allergies.

Problem 2: Patients are discontent with their doctors:

There's never enough time

"My doctor doesn't spend enough time with me". Physicians are challenged to increase efficiency and yet be compassionate and attentive. To reinforce our office teaching, we developed this website.

Know it, but we are trying

It is not possible for physicians to be experts in every area. Upper respiratory allergy includes medical and surgical knowledge of the ear, nose, sinuses, throat, lungs, eyes, and skin. As ENTs (otolaryngologists) we are uniquely qualified for this.

Problem 3: Patients' perceived knowledge exceeds actual knowledge:

Almost all patients surveyed felt they were "somewhat" or "very" knowledgeable about allergies, but when asked basic questions, the majority answered incorrectly. Up to half of the patients didn't know the contents of the medications they were taking.

We believe education is the most powerful weapon for allergies.