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How Dr. William Howland Treats Children with Allergies

In Health and Beauty on September 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm
Dr. William Howland

Dr. William Howland

In his years of practice, Dr. William Howland has seen numerous children suffering from allergies and asthma. Dr. William Howland knows how difficult it is for parents to watch their children struggle with allergies and strives to help children through his practice and his medical research company, Sirius Clinical Research.

Dr. William Howland blames the increase in child allergies on a couple of things. First, Dr. William Howland cites the hygiene hypothesis, which states that our modern world has become so hygienic that our immune systems are not exposed to enough infections to strengthen them. Another reason for the increase in childhood allergies and asthma, Dr. William Howland believes, is genetics. Most of the children Dr. William Howland sees have at least one parent with allergy problems as well.

When Dr. William Howland sees children, it is generally to treat one of five conditions prevalent in childhood allergies. One of those five issues, Dr. William Howland says, eczema.  Dry, red, itchy skin is often the first sign of allergies in an infant. Good skin care measures using mild soaps and moisturizers are the first treatments.  Rarely eczema is a sign of food allergy and sometimes allergy testing is helpful to guide dietary changes.

The second allergy problem that develops early in childhood is hay fever. With symptoms such as runny nose and itchiness, hay fever tends to be more unpleasant than life threatening, Dr. William Howland says.  Though not life threatening, significant hay fever can cause sleeping difficulties, daytime drowsiness, and interfere with learning and memory.

On the other hand, Dr. William Howland says asthma can be much more serious. Without speedy treatment, asthma can result in hospitalization, permanent scarring of airways, and very rarely even death. Luckily, medications are now available to get childhood asthma under control. The key is early diagnosis.

A fourth childhood allergy Dr. William Howland often sees is childhood food allergies. According to Dr. William Howland, most children are allergic to one of five foods: peanuts, soy, milk, egg and wheat. In most cases, Dr. William Howland alters the diet of a child, but he also provides an EpiPen (autoinjectable epinephrine which can stop and reverse a food reaction) for parents to keep on hand at all times.

Sinus disease is the fifth condition Dr. William Howland’s office most often treats in children. Blocked sinuses are a result of allergies swelling a child’s nose, Dr. William Howland says, with dental problems and chronic coughing also a symptom. Early identification of these problems is the key to having your child once again breathing freely.

Dr. William Howland is an Austin-based medical doctor specializing in the treatment of allergies and asthma. Board certified in Allergy and Immunology, as well as Internal Medicine, Dr. William Howland is research director at Sirius Clinical Research, an allergy research facility in Austin.

William Howland MD Discusses Common Texas Spring Pollens

In Health and Beauty on September 13, 2011 at 11:54 am
William Howland MD

William Howland MD

In Texas, trees and grasses are the leading cause of spring allergies, explains Austin-based allergist William Howland MD. In Austin, the heaviest pollinating trees are oaks. Ash and elm trees pollinate in mid-February, reports Dr. Howland. In March, oak pollination starts and levels peak around April 1st. Cottonwood and pecan trees are the last to pollinate in May, states William Howland MD.

Oak trees become covered with green and yellow catkins. On windy days they burst and spread a large amounts of pollen, says William Howland MD. The catkins cover the ground, sidewalks, yards, streets and cars in mid-April. However, sweeping the catkins spreads and releases more pollen, cautions William Howland MD.

William Howland MD explains that in Austin, commonly pollinating grass varieties are rye, Johnson and Bermuda. Unfortunately, if a person is allergic to rye grass they are allergic to all grasses, states William Howland MD. Rye grass tends be located on lawns and in agricultural areas. Johnson grass is usually found on pastures and right-of-way areas and along stream banks. However, Bermuda grass is a perennial that is difficult to escape. It grows in such varied places as coastal areas, golf courses, lawns, parks, and recreation areas and on sports fields, explains William Howland MD.

Like all pollen allergies, people who are allergic to grass tend to suffer from hay fever, says William Howland MD. Typically, people with hay fever are congested, sneeze and have itchy eyes. The symptoms aren’t often as severe as they are for a ragweed or tree allergy, because grass pollen counts normally aren’t as high in Central Texas, explains William Howland MD. However, grasses may pollinate from March to November depending on rainfall during the summer, so people with allergies suffer a little bit longer. William Howland MD suggests that a grass allergy can be minimized with prescription antihistamines and nasal sprays. You can even start prescription allergy-preventing nasal sprays before the allergy season starts, says William Howland MD.

William Howland MD suggests that people who are sensitive to pollen should run the air-conditioning instead of having their windows open in the house or in a vehicle, if possible. Another way for people to protect themselves is to limit exposure outside, William Howland MD points out. Peak pollen hours are between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., and people who suffer from allergies should avoid outside activity during that time. William Howland MD also suggests that patients don’t hang clothing out to dry during grass pollen season, as it could end up on bedding.

William Howland MD has been voted one of the best doctors in Austin by the magazine Austin Monthly. In addition to his busy private practice, Allergy and Asthma Center of Austin (www.nosneezes.com), William Howland MD conducts research in the field of allergies and asthma, seeking to find new medications to ease symptoms. William Howland MD has a special interest in Cedar Fever, a wintertime allergy that affects Texans. His research has been widely published and he hosts a regular televised segment on KVUE news about allergies.