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Blog - Texas Integrative Medicine
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CEDAR FEVER-SCOURGE OF CENTRAL TEXAS ALLERGY SUFFERERS

dr_tylerhappychildAs we approach the end of the year many Central Texas residents are suffering the misery of “cedar fever”.  Cedar fever is actually a misnomer as this illness which causes symptoms from December to February is caused by sensitivity to pollen of the ashe Juniper which is a small evergreen tree indigenous to Northern Mexico, South and Central Texas.  Symptoms of Cedar Fever  include itching of the nose and eyes, nasal congestion, runny nose, low grade fever, fatigue and may include headache, wheezing and cough.  The treatment for Cedar Fever involves avoiding exposure to the airborne pollen which is the offending agent.  This may involve limiting outdoor activities especially on windy days.  Performing frequent nasal irrigations with a clean saline solution can physically remove the pollen from the nasal mucous membranes which is often helpful to reduce symptoms.  When the pollen comes in contact with sensitized immune cells of the mucous membranes, the immune cells begin to release toxic mediators of inflammation like histamine which actually act much like poison.  Antihistamine medicines like Benadryl,  Claritan and Zyrtec work by blocking these toxic mediators but may be associated with undesirable side effects.  These medicines only provide symptom relief but do not change the allergic sensitivity.

For those individuals who do not get adequate symptom relief from avoiding exposure to the pollen and using available symptom-relieving medications there is another treatment option.  Administration of a solution containing an extract of the ashe juniper pollen has been shown to be effective in developing a state of immune tolerance to the pollen known as desensitization.  In the United States historically this desensitization has been performed by administering regular injections of  the pollen extract into the skin.  For many years especially in Europe the pollen extract has been given under the tongue in a technique known as Sublingual Immunotherapy or SLIT.  This method of treatment which has been endorsed by the World Health Organization and is being offered in many clinics in the United States and around the world is not yet an approved use of allergy extracts by the US FDA.  A number of allergy professional organizations in the United States have published position statements endorsing  this technique which has been shown to be effective and safe.  In fact  the drops can be administered at home and do not require a visit to the doctor’s office.  The avoidance of a needle stick has obvious advantages with children and needle-phobic individuals.

Often SLIT is used to desensitize the individual to multiple different allergic agents such as dog, cat, dust mite, grass pollen, tree pollen and mold antigens at the same time as the juniper pollen extract.  Dr. Taylor has seen in many of his patients that desensitizing a person to some of their worst sensitivities reduces their “total allergic load” and helps to reduce chronic inflammatory disease symptoms in general.  He has seen the frequency and severity of sinus infections decline significantly.  He has also had many patients report signficant improvement in allergy-related fatigue. Many patients have been able to reduce the amount of other medications that they need to take to control the associated inflammatory symptoms.  At Texas Integrative ENT and Allergy Dr. Taylor uses a simple blood test to identify and measure the degree of an individual’s allergies to a variety of different agents called allergens.

At Texas Integrative ENT and Allergy, Dr. Taylor has years of experience dealing with allergic disease and chronic inflammatory conditions affecting many systems in the body.  His integrated holistic approach including attention to problems with the digestive tract including food allergies, leaky gut and problems with the gut microbes as well as problems due to exposure to environmental toxins is often effective in normalizing immune system inflammation.  This often involves supporting metabolic pathways with nutrients that allow immune system function to perform in an optimal way.

Wally Taylor MD

RECENT TEXAS A&M STUDY FINDS LYME’S DISEASE BACTERIA COMMON IN TEXAS

Lyme Disease Bulls Eye Rashdr_tylerEarlier this year a study from a group of scientists associated with Texas A & M veterinary department published a study in the journal Parasites and Vectors which demonstrated that the germ that causes Lyme’s Disease was found in 45% of the Ixodes scapularis ticks (also known as black-legged or deer tick) that they recovered from small animals in the Southern Texas/Northern Mexico region of study. Prior to this study there had been speculation that the Lyme Disease bacteria was uncommon in Texas. Unfortunately this appears to not be accurate based on this study.

What is Lyme Disease? Lyme disease is an unusual disease caused by infection with a spirochete bacteria named Borrelia burdorferi. The bacteria is usually contracted through the bite of a deer tick carrying the germ inside it. In some patients shortly after becoming infected a disease happens with a “bull’s eye or target-lesion” rash called erythema migrans. Later a disseminated form may develop with headaches, shooting pains, loss of muscle strength on one side of the face (Bell’s Palsy), heart palpitations and joint pain or swelling. Finally a chronic late form-late disseminated form and even Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome can occur. These later forms masquerade as many other chronic debilitating diseases that are related to other environmental exposures so quite a bit of confusion exists about the later stages of this disease. Unfortunately some patients diagnosed with late stage disease do not recall a tick bite or the typical erythema migrans rash. There is also evidence that some people may harbor the Lyme Disease germ but not show any symptoms of it.

Since 2002 783 confirmed cases of Lyme Disease have been reported to the CDC although this number is thought to significantly underestimate the actual number of cases. In 2010 22,572 human cases of Lyme Disease were reported to the CDC from throughout the United States. Cases have now been reported from all 50 United States and at least 6 foreign countries.

A key to prevention is to always be vigilant for ticks when you are outdoors especially around areas of vegetation. You should seek medical attention immediately if you develop a rash and other symptoms especially if there is a history of tick bite. Lyme’s bacteria can be treated with antibiotics and the earlier the better. Diagnosis is controversial as there is not one best test for Lyme Disease. The symptom picture can also be mimicked by infection with a number of similar infective agents (bacteria, virus and parasites) as well as from exposure to a variety of environmental toxins.

At Texas Integrative ENT and Allergy, Dr. Taylor has years of experience dealing with Lyme Disease patients and others with diseases that mimic Lyme Disease. Management of chronic Lyme Disease requires also treating and supporting the body generally in order to allow the body to recover. This often involves supporting metabolic pathways that allow immune system recovery, hormone balance, toxin clearance and reduction of undesirable inflammation.

Wally Taylor MD