FAQ’s for Dr. Given and his staff:
Q: What are the main conditions treated in your office?
A: Dr. Given and our Nurses evaluate and treat all forms of respiratory conditions, even those which may not be caused by allergies.
- All types of nasal and sinus conditions – both allergic and non-allergic
- Persistent Cough
- Shortness of breath
We also evaluate and treat certain other conditions:
- Sleep Apnea
- Urticaria (“hives”)
- Bee sting Anaphylaxis
Q: What are the most common allergies you see?
A: Environmental allergies are a major component of our practice. An allergy to pollen, pets and dust mite can be a cause of nasal congestion, nasal drainage, eye itching, ear itching and sneezing. Patients with asthma can also be affected by these airborne allergens. We do evaluate and treat patients with symptoms of environmental allergies. Allergic indications to pollen, molds and dust mite will require skin testing or blood tests.
Q: Do you treat all types of allergies?
A: The word “allergy” can mean many things to different people. A person who is frustrated with symptoms that are persisting might think, “Maybe it’s an allergy to something. Maybe I should be allergy tested.” We want every person to find the help they need to feel well and be well. As a specialty practice, we focus on conditions for which we can be most helpful. Sometimes, we have to explain, “Yes, you are having a real problem and you should be evaluated but the symptoms you have would not be caused by an allergy.” In cases where a consultation and testing in our office would not be helpful, we advise patients to work with their primary care provider.
Q: I have stomach problems, should I be tested for a food allergy?
A: For an allergist, a true food allergy is called “acute food allergy or “anaphylaxis to food”. This is a condition of immediate and sudden itching and swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, after eating the allergic food. The most common food allergies are peanuts, fish and shellfish. We do evaluate and treat these sudden food allergy reactions. Allergy skin tests are useful in identifying the allergic food. Patient education focuses on teaching how to avoid accidentally eating the allergic food.
Q: What are some examples of stomach or intestinal problems that might be mistaken as a food allergy?
A: Abdominal bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation are serious problems but are not due to allergy. We recommend patients with these problems follow up with their primary care provider or a G.I. specialist.
Q: Is the condition of Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EE) caused by fold allergy?
A: The eosinophil cell is a type of white blood cell which has been associated with respiratory allergies. But eosinophils can be activated by conditions that are not due to allergies such as acid reflux and/or intestinal parasite infection.
Q: Do you test for bee sting allergies?
A: Yes, bee sting anaphylaxis is a potentially life threatening condition in which a bee sting causes the rapid onset of swelling at the site of the sting, hives over the entire body, throat swelling, difficulty breathing and sometimes loss of consciousness.
Allergy skin tests help identify the particular type of bee such as wasp, yellow jacket or honeybee. These patients need to be given an action plan and taught to use an Epi Pen. For some patients, treatment with allergy immunotherapy can be a great help.
We do not treat delayed reactions such as large local swelling or itching, as long as there are no signs of a systemic reaction such as hives, throat swelling or difficulty breathing. These are not symptoms of an allergic reaction to the bee sting.
Q: Is it possible to test for an allergy to cigarette smoke?
A: Allergy testing can give accurate results for allergies caused by pollens, pet dander, mold or dust mites. There is no allergy test for cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke certainly can cause the same symptoms but this is due to the “irritant effect” of smoke, not as an allergy. Examples of respiratory irritants would be perfume, cologne or other chemicals in the air.
Q: What are some other conditions that might be mistaken as allergy?
A: ADHD, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and depression are all complicated conditions which can be difficult to effectively treat. We don’t know what causes some of these conditions but we do know they are NOT CAUSED BY ALLERGY. We recommend these patients follow up with their primary care provider or a specialist.
Q: Do you treat skin conditions?
A: We have a special program for the diagnosis and management of chronic urticaria which most people would know as “hives”. The hive “welts” are itchy, red bumps or areas of slight swelling that come and go.
We do not treat other types of skin conditions such as rashes, eczema or dermatitis and refer them to see their primary care providers or dermatologist.
Q: What are the signs of hearing loss?
A: Asking people to repeat what they say, turning up the volume of the television, avoiding social situations, hearing tinnitus, describing speech as muffled or mumbled, etc. Usually, patients are not surprised when they are told that their hearing test shows some hearing loss. The average person tries to adapt and compensate for their hearing loss for about 5-7 years until they are finally ready to get some help. We understand that finally making that phone call is a big step.
Q: How do I choose a hearing aid?
A: This is a great question and the answer is not straightforward. There are several great manufacturers that are actively involved in research and development. The task can seem daunting since there are so many products from which to choose, but this is a good thing since it also provides you with so many options. I welcome all these advances since it keeps giving me more tools to help my patients.
My best advice is to start with a hearing test and to spend some time discussing your lifestyle and goals with a professional that you trust. This way you are working with someone who is experienced in working with these products and can help guide you towards what will be best for you. Here, we set aside a lot of time for these appointments so that you can hear about what is available, have a chance to ask questions, look at models of hearing aids, and possibly try some on to see what they sound like.
Q: I know someone who can’t hear, but they refuse to get help. What can I do to make life better for them?
A: Whether you have hearing aid or not, Assistive Listening Devices (ALD’s) are products such as TV listeners and amplified telephones that can be very helpful to someone who has trouble hearing. There are also several strategies that can be used to make communication more effective, such as getting the person’s attention before speaking, talking at a reasonable speed, limiting background noise whenever possible, and making sure your lips are visible. The person with hearing loss can help advocate for themselves by giving the speaker some direction as to what is making listening difficult. Saying things like “Come closer, I did not hear you”, “Slow down, I did not catch that”, or “Speak up, that is not coming through” can be more effective that simply saying “what?”.
Q: I have a hearing aid that does not help me. What should I do?
A: You should schedule an appointment to have it checked. We welcome anyone to our office and work with most major brands of hearing aids. The hearing aid may need to be cleaned, adjusted, repaired, or replaced.
Q: I am pretty sure I have hearing loss, but I am not ready for hearing aids. What should I do?
A: You should still have your hearing tested even if you do not want hearing aids right now. This will show us if your hearing loss is due to any medical conditions that need to be addressed or simply due to a buildup of earwax. Additionally, this will provide a baseline that we can use for comparison down the road when you are ready. We get excited to share with you what is possible, but always respect your decision to wait.