William Howland MD, an Austin-based allergist, explains that allergies are reactions to otherwise harmless substances which seriously affect people who are sensitive to them. Allergies may manifest themselves as allergic shock, asthma, eczema, swelling, hay fever, hives or intestinal symptoms, William Howland MD states. People who are susceptible to allergies develop symptoms because of the release of histamines and other allergic chemicals in localized sites like the eyes, lungs, nose, skin and throat, explains William Howland MD.
Substances that cause allergic symptoms are called “allergens,” says William Howland MD. Statistically, people inherit the tendency to develop allergy symptoms and William Howland MD reports that allergy symptoms can develop at any age. William Howland MD warns that many people develop allergies after living in Central Texas for a period of time, due to the the climate, molds and pollen. Cedar pollen in the winter may also be severe, says Dr. Howland.
According to William Howland MD, there are a large variety of allergens that will trigger allergies in a person who is sensitive to them. The basic groups are inhalaents (dust, dander, mold and pollen); ingestants (beverages, drugs and food); and substances that are injected (drugs, vaccines, insect venom). There are also factors which may trigger or exacerbate symptoms, William Howland MD explains, such as tobacco smoke and pollutants.
There are three ways to treat patients who have allergies, says William Howland MD – avoidance, medication and immunotherapy. He stresses that avoidance is the most practical for indoor allergens. Dr. Howland warns that medication may require multiple prescriptions and have side effects. Allergy shots/immunotherapy, on the other hand, can alleviate symptoms and reduce the need for medication.
William Howland MD reports that his hometown of Austin, Texas is usually rated in the Top 5 Worst Places for Allergies. Austin has 3 separate pollen seasons which can keep its residents sneezing and congested for 10 out of 12 months a year. William Howland MD explains that between ragweed in the fall, Mountain Cedar trees pollinating in the winter, Oak and other trees pollinating in the spring and grasses pollinating from March through September, Austin can be difficult for people sensitive to allergens. 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.
A native of Austin, Texas, 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 works with patients who suffer from asthma and hives and allergic reactions to insect bites, drugs and foods. Dr. William Howland MD sees patients as young as four years old and 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.