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Carlos J. Vital, MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI | Vital Allergy and Asthma Center
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Q&A

Some Say Dirty Homes Contribute To Asthma, But Rates Plunged During The Pandemic. What Is Your Perspective?

More people were wearing masks, so their outdoor and indoor allergen exposure decreased, resulting in decreased exacerbations of asthma.

The pandemic led to “the quarantine 15,” which can worsen asthma due to weight gain. But for certain population subsets, working out and being more fit, losing weight and working remotely reduced asthma severity. Those able to wear masks avoided exposure to pollen, mold, and things of that nature, creating decreased asthma risk.

How Do You Detect Underlying Causes Of Allergies And Asthma?

First, we take a history and try to determine environmental sources. For example, those working in chemical plants, the cosmetic industry, or a hair salon have occupational asthma sources. Among those who didn’t work during the pandemic, asthma rates decreased.

Next, I use allergy skin tests to try to evaluate any indoor or outdoor allergen sensitivity. This is the most important part of my assessment as this serves as the patient’s biophysical blueprint for treatment. We test for sensitivity to pollens, mold, grasses, and food, trees, and weeds. 

Can you pinpoint food allergies and sensitivities?

Yes. Sometimes your pollen allergies indicate which foods they can be. For example, apples cross react with birch tree pollen allergies, and certain weeds, like plantains, cross react with bananas. You may not be able to eat tons of bananas or tolerate tons of latex with certain weed or pollen allergies. Pollen allergies can be so bad that fruits they produce make your mouth swell when you eat them. This phenomenon is called oral allergy syndrome. These same pollens and foods can cause allergic gastroenteritis, a gastrointestinal inflammation type.

With “wheat belly,” wheat allergies to things like certain beers can cause potbellies. Significant wheat and rye allergies can cause skin inflammation, weight gain, and even obesity.

Is Acne Treatment The Same For Individuals Across The Lifespan?

No. Acne can result from in-organ issues that can be affected by hormones. As anti-inflammatory hormone levels – testosterone in men and progesterone in women – decline with age, certain patient subsets can develop allergies later in life. They may show more inflammation, seen in multiple ways through the heart, lungs, or skin. In the skin, we see dermatitis, infective dermatitis, or facial acne. Inflammation from an unbalanced immune system or an allergic immune system ensues.

Inflammation from pollens, foods, or other external factors can also cause acne. We enhance your external beauty by finding and treating the cause from within.

Who Is Your Ideal Patient?

We can see a one-week-old or a 90-year-old person. We see all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Anybody with any questions, breathing or sinus difficulty, irritable bowels, are breaking out in hives, rashes, or untreatable acne. We work with all referring physicians including dermatologists and ENTs, and a lot of dermatologists come to see us as patients because we treated their patients with acne so well. We treat from within and add vitality to your life. 

About The Expert

Carlos J. Vital, MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI Vital Allergy and Asthma Center
Carlos J. Vital, MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI
Vital Allergy and Asthma Center

Dr. Vital is a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. He is HCA Texas Medical Center’s Section Chief of Allergy & Immunology and on the Texas State Board of Directors for the Texas Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Society.

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