Ladies Home Journal: Allergies Suck!

Fight back! Photo from LHJ

I just picked up the May issue of Ladies Home Journal off the newsstand. The title of the article on page 152: Allergies Suck! The picture shows a woman vacuuming in a bright orange Hazmat suit…

My response: Fight back with proper treatment!

The writer, Laurie Tarkin, interviewed me a few weeks before about why so many people suffer with allergies despite all the readily available over-the-counter treatments. My gut reaction: allergy sufferers that take medications like Claritin, Allegra or Zyrtec can expect mild to moderate relief, but finding the cause of your allergies is the key to staying healthier and being symptom-free. The only way to find this out is to get tested!

Testing is not as onerous as it used to be. In our office, we typically do a simple blood test called the ImmunoCap and send it to the lab. Usually within a week or two we get the results and I can advise my patient as to the specific allergens that may be causing symptoms. If the blood test doesn’t show a clear cut answer, we can do painless prick tests (similar to a plastic tooth pick) to get additional information. This time of year the tree pollen is on the rise and I’m seeing new patients who have nasal congestion, eye itching and throat itching. By the time May rolls around both the tree and the grass pollen are packing a one-two punch making allergy sufferers miserable.

The article quotes myself and several other prominent allergists: Linda Cox, Gary Rachelefsky and Mark Dyskewicz, and discusses the range of symptoms that a patient with allergies can have. Surprisingly, not all allergy symptoms are the classic ones, such as sneezing and runny nose, itchy eyes and asthma. Symptoms that sometimes get overlooked are: headaches, sinus pressure and, more recently, stomach pains. Allergy patients are 14 times more likely to have migraines.

My interview focused on one of my patients who was having a combination of stomach pains and throat tightening. She saw a gastroenterologist who diagnosed that her stomach pain wasn’t the typical acid reflux, but the acid was due to allergy cells called eosinophils. The eosinophils are activated by airborne or food allergies. A food allergy can cause an acute severe reaction, such as difficulty breathing or a dangerous drop in blood pressure. However, a relatively new condition called Eosinophilic esophagitis or gastritis, has been found to cause acid reflux that doesn’t respond well to even the strongest acid blockers.

The key allergy testing and treatment for some of these patients is to test them for food allergies and if a positive test is found, try and eliminate this food from the diet. In this case, it was interesting that my patient was worried that she had Celiac disease, a condition where you are immunologically intolerant to wheat. My testing showed that she wasn’t allergic to wheat, but to barley, which is used in many wraps and sandwiches today. She was also allergic to mustard which surprised both of us. Her symptoms have improved greatly since she has avoided these foods.

Fortunately, as an allergist in NYC, I have yet to recommend a Hazmat suit for any of my patients. I have a better weapon for the outdoor and indoor allergens – Allergy drops. The last page of the article mentions: Try The New Drops . Although it mentions only 6% of the allergy doctors are prescribing it, I have been doing it for 13 years and have seen incredible results. If you want to read further about allergy drops, you can find my book: Dr. Dean Mitchell’s Allergy and Asthma Solution (Marlowe 2006 ) on or through Barnes and Noble’s e-reader.

If you see anyone walking around New York on a sunny, spring day when the pollen is high, and they are wearing a bright, orange Hazmut suit – I know you won’t find my business card in their pocket.

Dr. Dean Mitchell
Mitchell Medical Group, NYC & Long Island


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