‘Breathing easier’ at Richards Memorial Hospital

Adminstrator one of first patients in new allergy treatment

Jeff Madison, RMH administrator, (R) gets allergy checkup from Dr. Ron Cox in RMH exam room. 
Reporter/Mike Brown Jeff Madison, RMH administrator, (R) gets allergy checkup from Dr. Ron Cox in RMH exam room. Reporter/Mike Brown The best allergy medicine won’t do any good if patients won’t stay with their series of shots, which can sometimes take years to offer relief.

But a new program, Cluster Allergy Immunotherapy (CAI), now available at Richards Memorial Hospital’s Family Care Center, offers relief in a matter of months and sometimes noticeable results in just weeks.

Allergist Dr. Ron Cox has been offering the program for three weeks, and is already seeing eight patients.

Jeff Madison, RMH administrator, thinks the results are amazing.

He shou ld k now. Mad ison is one of t he patients.

‘PRESENTEEISM’—Madison is one of the millions of Americans who suffer from severe allergies.

He says the new treatment has already made a difference.

“Allergies are a huge cause of lost productivity in the American workplace,” Dr. Cox said. “They are the number one cause of both absenteeism and presenteeism.”

What’s “presenteeism?”

“That’s when you come to work but are sick and you’re really of no use to anyone,” he said.

The traditional approach to treat allergies has been to diagnose the substances to which a person is allergic, then embark on a lengthy series of shots which may take nine months to a year before any real relief is seen.

“And the result is that one of every three people who start out on the treatment discontinue it,” Dr. Cox said. “Treatment really doesn’t do them any good.”

CLUSTERS—The key to CAI is to offer large quantities (clusters) of medication targeted to specific allergins, up front, offering relief much sooner.

“Typically, the first day you’d get a series of shots, wait 45 minutes, get a second series, wait 45 more minutes then get the third series,” Dr. Cox said.

In 2-1/2 months there’s usually enough improvement to scale down the treatment.

“This approach was developed by the Air Force,” Madison said. “You can’t really have pilots with chronic allergies. They wanted something to knock it our quickly.”

There are a number of precautions taken and procedures are closely monitored.

“About one in 500 persons experience a reaction,” Madison said. “In fact, I had one. They were watching me very closely, I got a shot to counteract it and everything was okay.”

Anyone interested in treatment with cluster immunotherapy can call either Little River Medical Association Clinic, 446-4545 or 446-4555.

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