Health Tips from the Doctors

The article outlines the outlook for fall allergies with quotes from Dr. Frederick Schaffer, board certified allergist and immunologist and Chief Medical Officer for UAL.

Allergy seasons are growing longer and stronger— and autumn 2011 is shaping up to be one of the worst on record, says Dr. Frederick Schaffer, a board certified allergist in private practice. Why?

1. Pollen seasons are getting longer.

“Ragweed usually dies off as the weather gets colder,” explains Dr. Schaffer, who is a fellow at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “But a pretty good study in Minnesota showed the ragweed pollination season increased by up to 27 days in 2010, and the fault wasn’t due to a late frost.” This means that millions of Americans with ragwood allergies will most likely sneeze and rub their eyes up to nearly a month longer than average in the northernmost parts of North America, perhaps even into November. In addition, reports from the East Coast indicate that tree pollen season—the bane of springtime allergy sufferers—may be lasting longer than usual, too.

2. More people are getting allergies. 

Just how many more is hard to pinpoint, but there’s little doubt the number of Americans with allergies is much higher now than 30 years ago. “Three factors are contributing to a general rise in allergies,” explains Dr. Shaffer. “Better diagnostics; the general population is much more knowledgeable than they were 20 years ago about potential problems; and, as air and possible water pollution worsens in urban centers, we see more symptoms among the people living in those areas.”

While non-sedating antihistamines, steroid sprays, and eyedrops offer a temporary fix, “seasonal allergy sufferers won’t get relief without an accurate allergen test,” says the expert. Allergy (or “scratch”) testing with a tiny comb is typically performed in practices specializing in allergies and immunology.  You can visit out allergy lab page for more information about immunology.

Tips for Avoiding Sports Injuries this Fall

-By Dr. Dar Griffith

 There’s nothing worse than feeling physical pain from a Fall day of sports. Nothing ruins a great round of golf like golfer’s elbow, or spoils a jog like runner’s knee. While it is not possible to completely avoid all types of injuries, by taking some precautions, it is possible to greatly reduce your risk of injury. However, simply reducing the risk of injury is not a task that is always easy to handle. By carefully following some precautions there are ways that you can avoid injuring yourself during this Fall season.


Start slowly. Your best bet is to prevent injuries before they happen.  Don’t expect to be in the same playingcondition that you ended up in last fall, even if you have been maintaining your fitness level. New activities require muscles and joints to respond in a different way. This may result in minor soreness while your body adjusts.  If you push yourself too hard, too soon, that minor soreness could turn into something more serious.

 Don’t forget to warm up. Although you may feel warm in good weather, you still have to give your muscles achance to go through the motions and get blood pumping to all the necessary areas. Gentle stretching before finishing your activity will help those hardworking muscles retain and improve flexibility.

 Treat injuries. For tennis elbow, runner’s knee and similar injuries, try R.I.C.E.–rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rest means that the injured area is not put through any undue strain. When icing a body part,apply the ice in a covering such as a cotton handkerchief so that it is not in direct contact with the skin. Ice theaffected area several times a day, for about 20 minutes at a time. Compression is the application of pressure tothe injured area to stop bleeding (if any occurs) or to reduce swelling. Elevation helps in these respects as well.Compression and elevation are to be used in the case of acute injuries, such as a twisted ankle.

 Take frequent breaks. Even tennis pros rest between sets. Taking a rest doesn’t mean that you have tocompletely stop all activity (although it may be advisable sometimes). Just rest the body parts that are workinghard and are susceptible to injury. Pay attention to your body. Don’t ignore the little aches and pains in thejoints and muscles. They are early signals that could help you prevent more serious injuries.


Avoiding injuries is a very important consideration for both the weekend warrior and avid sports enthusiast.By following the tips and suggestions mentioned above it should help to greatly improve your performanceand reduce your risk of injury all at the same time.


-Dr Dar Griffith is a Physical Medicine Doctor at TienaHealth Family Medicine.