According to Austin, Texas-based allergist William Howland MD, allergies are the main cause of children missing school. Dr. Howland also reports that allergy rates have risen substantially over the last decade.
One theory for the allergy upswing, says William Howland MD, is the “hygiene hypothesis.” This view speculates that western society has eradicated so many infectious diseases that our immune systems have shifted. In the past we were fighting off infections but now our immune systems have switched to producing allergens, reports William Howland MD.
William Howland MD also believes that there is a genetic component at play. Statistically, says William Howland MD, an allergic child will have at least one parent with allergies. From his Austin practice, William Howland MD sees how allergies in children can exhibit themselves as asthma, hay fever, food allergies and sinus problems.
Hay fever, says William Howland MD, is a common form of allergy in children. Children become congested and suffer from itchiness and sneezing. William Howland MD also works with children who suffer from asthma and says that this disease has been increasing in children. Early warning signs of asthma, explains William Howland MD, are children coughing while playing sports and general difficulty while exercising.
William Howland MD also has patients with children who have food allergies. Like hay fever and asthma, food allergies are becoming increasingly common. Dr. Howland has seen first hand how peanut allergies have doubled in the last decade. Children can also become allergic to eggs and milk, adds William Howland MD.
Dr. Howland can perform skin tests to determine what food a child is allergic to. William Howland MD also asks that parents of children with food allergies keep an EpiPen (adrenalin) on hand. For children with extreme food allergies, he says that adrenalin is literally a lifesaver.
William Howland MD comes by his concern for allergy sufferers through personal experience and empathy. As a boy, Dr. Howland grew up in Austin, Texas, “The Allergy Capital of the World.” William Howland MD suffered with asthma and allergies and knows how problematic it can be to play athletics with breathing problems.
William Howland MD has been the Principal Investigator in over 200 clinical trials for medication involving allergies, asthma, arthritis, COPD, diabetes, headaches and hypertension. William Howland MD is also a published author of numerous articles and abstracts. He is in private practice in Austin at the Allergy and Asthma Center of Austin (www.nosneezes.com)