Doctors You Can Understand


A couple years ago, we wrote one of these columns as an April Fool's prank. On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Dust Mites, we asked patients to boycott The Allergy Clinic because we recommended ways that patients could reduce their allergy symptoms by reducing their exposure to dust mites. Well, it's April again, and we doubt you'll fall for that same trick.

Our approach this year is how to understand your doctor if he talks too much like a scientist. Here's one: If you go to the hospital and wind up getting much sicker with some horrible infection because someone never washed their hands before examining you, expect to hear, something about "…an iatrogenic nosocomial infection." To translate, that means an illness acquired in the hospital and caused by the hospital staff or the doctor. If your doctor says that your allergies or asthma are "exacerbated by a multifarious interaction among proinflammatory cells, mediators and cytokines resulting in abnormal airways hyperresponsiveness," well, that just means that evaluation and management of allergies are complicated; indeed, they are. But that doesn't mean we can't explain things in a straightforward way. How about, "the immune response to respiratory syncytial virus causes a predisposition toward an intense inflammatory reaction manifest as eosinophilic desquamative obstructive bronchitis"? I would rather tell you that asthma often flares up when you catch a cold.

Wouldn't it be nice if you got lucky and ended up with a doctor you could actually understand? When you choose The Allergy Clinic, you're assured of a complete allergy evaluation by nationally recognized experts who listen to you. If there is something you're confused about, we will carefully explain it to you—in language you can understand. And if the answer to the question you ask is, "Probiotics have the potential to reduce intestinal permeability and the generation of proinflammatory cytokines that are elevated in patients with rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, and food allergy," then I would say that eating yogurt may help improve your allergies.

Note: Information contained in this article should not be considered a substitute for consultation with a board-certified allergist to address individual medical needs.

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