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December 25, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

New Developments in the Field of Allergy Diagnosis and Treatment!


Dr. Neeta Ogden who is a board-certified allergist-immunologist who treats both adult and pediatric allergies in her private practice in Closter, NJ joined the show here on eHealth Radio. She discussed with Eric food and peanut allergies in kids, how allergies are affecting kids more than ever both food and otherwise, what kinds of treatments are there for allergies and more.

Note: Refer to audio player below to listen to this episode.

Neeta Ogden, M.D. is a board-certified allergist-immunologist who treats both adult and pediatric allergies in her private practice in Closter, NJ. Dr. Ogden specializes in treatment of all allergic diseases including asthma, eczema, hives and other allergic skin conditions, food allergy, drug allergy, allergy shots, eye allergies, insect allergy, sinus infections and immune system problems that might cause frequent infections. Dr. Ogden is a graduate of Yale University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She has is a frequent guest on Good Morning America Health and published work in leading academic journals and presented at national allergy meetings.


Partial Transcript of Interview with Dr. Neeta Ogden

Eric Michaels: Allergies are a really hot topic right now, especially food and peanut allergies in kids. why are they so prevalent now and has there been a marked increase in the last few years?

Dr. Ogden: Yes, there has been a distinct rise in food allergies in the last 10-20 years. it's been estimated that the incidence of food allergy in this country in the last 10 years alone has nearly doubled. there is no magic answer about why this has occured but there are a number of theories:

1. One of the main things is just increased awareness of, recognition and diagnosis--so this condition is just being reported more. 2. Another theory is the so called hygiene hypothesis--which sugges that because we've become too "clean" we aren't exposed to immune-building microbes and that allows the allergic part of our immune system to go haywire. 3. Other studies point to diet. One big thing is food processing--that for example in the US, our form of food processing--roasting and emulsification of peanuts--unlike China and Africa where they boil peanuts, may be causing an increase in peanut allergy. Other things related to diet--some studies have shown that a lack of Vitamin D, antioxidants and also Omega-3s and fish oilds can be causing this rise in allergies.

4. Finally, some are re-thinking when we introduce some of these foods that are considered very allergenic--that maybe waiting until we are 2-3 years old which is what was usually recommended in this country may be the issue. A study from Israel showed that there was a far lower incidence of peanut allergy in that country where peanuts are introduced less than 1 years of age.

As far as seasonal allergies, people are reporting more intense symptoms than ever before and that has been attributed to global warming which leads to earlier more intense pollen exposure. The hygeine hypothesis may also have a roll here as well. So again, a lot of theories, but no right answer just yet.

Eric Michaels: Allergies are affecting kids more than ever both food and otherwise. are there things that parents can do to help prevent them? also what tips would you give parents whose kids have food and seasonal allergies.

Dr. Ogden: There are a lot of things that parents can do. In terms of prevention, it can be tricky. Allergies tend to be genetic. Once a child has either parents or siblings with eczema, asthma or allergies, there is a strong chance that he or she will experience some form of allergic disease as well. If there is a strong histroy of allergy in the family--for example if a sibling has a history of a good allergy, then a mother can take certaon steps like delaying introduction of very allergenic foods until later in life, continuing breat feeding, when starting formula using partially or extensively hydrolyzed formulas. Environmentally there are also things parents can do especially when there is a history of seasonal allergies. First--be on the look out! A cold or chronic cough that lasts for longer than 10 days or 2 weeks may be signs of allergies or asthma. Once you suspect it see your doctor about treatment and possibly testing, the sooner you get a diagnosis the less time your child has to suffer or experience side effects like ear infections or sinusitis. Other things that can be doen around the house--during th ehigh pollen seasons like spring--get a weekly pollen report that prepares you for the bad days. Avoid going outside when the counts are high like early morning and evening. Keep windoes closed and run the A/C. Make sure that your home's A/C and heating filters are change regularly. When in the car keep vents pointed away from you. It's good to get a hepa filter to filter out even the smallest allergenic particles from the ambient air. And also vaccuum with a hepa filter. If dust mite allergy or eczema is a concern I recommend mattress and pillow covers to minimize exposure and also washing bedding in very hot water weekly and using a hot dryer cycle as well.

Eric Michaels: Once someone is diagnosed with allergies what kinds of treatments are there? are there over the counter treatments?

Dr. Ogden: There are a lot of effective treatments out there including over the counter medications. The main over the counter medications you might take are long acting, or what we call 2nd generation antihistamines and some common names are Claritin, Loratadine, Zyrtec. Benadryl, a 1st generation is good too because it's fast acting but it doesn't last as long and can cause sedation. Over the counter eye drops are also sometimes effective. I also strongly believe in saline spray and nasal irrigation either with a spray or netti pot to keep things flushed out. If these aren't effective yur doctor can prescribe other long-acting antihistamines, intranasal steroid sprays and if asthma is an issue--asthma inhalers and pills. Often people are on a combination of a bunch of these and that can lead to a lot of relief. However, for some people these medications don't work or they simply don't take medication all the time and for them allergy shots are a great option.


Want the entire audio version of this eHealth Radio Episode? 

Dr. Neeta Ogden discusses & answers:

  • What is new and on the horizon in the field of allergy diagnosis and treatment?
  • What are some of the most common things you encounter in your allergy practice that we might not have discussed so far?
  • Conclusion Tip...

Contact Information:

Web Site:

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Note: The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the show host or it's owners.

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