Experts predict Sonoma County allergy sufferers will have a lot to sneeze about

Linda Biggers, NCMA Allergy Center manager & clinician, talks about the impending allergy season and provides options for allergies sufferers.

We are able to test for more than 40 different inhalant allergens that are common to the area, such as trees, grass, weeds, molds, dust mites, animals, and others. From the results of these tests we are then able to advise patients on the best options for treating their individual allergy symptomsAn increase in wetter weather in the Northern California area naturally means a lot more green and growing foliage and plants, and along with that; a humdinger of an allergy season. A relief from drought conditions is most welcome, but for pollen sensitive allergy sufferers, it also means an increase in misery-causing grass and weed pollen.

“Our patients have been reporting the typical allergy season symptoms, such as itchy eyes and sneezing,” explains Linda Biggers, NCMA Allergy Center manager & clinician. “This is not surprising since according to the experts we are already well into grass pollen season. Grass pollen is the most allergy causing pollen; and it’s one of the most prolific pollen producers in our area.” Grass pollen levels typically become most prevalent though the month of June. “This year the pollen intensity might go on a bit longer thanks to the current uptick in heat we’re experiencing,” she added.

Although allergies might be a challenge to deal with, it is a normal physiological reaction to airborne allergens. Typical reactions include a runny nose and a swelling of the sinus passages as the body tries to block the allergen from getting into the system. The immune system reacts defensively to the pollen and responds to attack by producing large amounts of antibody. This allergic reaction can cause symptoms including; itchy watery eyes, runny nose, itchy throat, hives, fatigue, and irritability.

Understanding pollen season

Anyone who suffers from seasonal pollen allergies probably knows that it’s spread by the wind. Any warm afternoon breeze can be loaded with pollen from trees, grasses, flowering plants and a plethora of weeds. Although springtime may be the launch of allergy season, many plants pollinate year-round. And according to online pollen reporting sites, pollen counts vary from day to day and hour to hour depending on heat and precipitation.

According to researchers, nasal allergies affect about 50 million people in the U.S. and it’s a problem that is on the increase. As many as 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children report allergy symptoms. Allergic disease including asthma, is the now the fifth leading chronic disease in the U.S. in people of all ages. It has been estimated that between 24-40 million of allergy patients suffer specifically from an airborne allergy resulting in hay fever or Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis.

Allergy independence with immunotherapy

Over-the-counter remedies and staying indoors might not work for everyone and that’s when doctors might recommend immunotherapy. This type of allergy therapy follows a thorough allergy test to screen for which allergens are causing the problem, patients are then set up on a schedule of injections that are geared toward not only relieving allergy symptoms but eliminating them altogether.

“We are able to test for more than 40 different inhalant allergens that are common to the area, such as trees, grass, weeds, molds, dust mites, animals, and others. From the results of these tests we are then able to advise patients on the best options for treating their individual allergy symptoms,” said Biggers

“In order to get a person’s immune system to stop over-reacting to allergens, we may offer immunotherapy which uses a gradual desensitization process that involves injecting extracts of identified allergens. Normally these injections are given once a week over the course of several months,” she explained. “We then graduate treatments to bi-monthly and eventually to just once a month. The goal is to make you feel better while cutting back or eliminating your allergy medications.”

About NCMA Allergy Center

The NCMA Allergy Center provides patients with a clear solution to the treatment of allergies using a collaborative team of board-certified otolaryngologists and allergy specialists. SRHN physicians are members of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy. For more information on the NCMA Allergy Center visit the NCMA website or call 707-523-7025 to schedule an appointment.


Dr. Michael Lazar Noted For Comprehensive Approach to Treating Patients

testimonialAs a retired malpractice insurance professional, Charles Lawrence is very familiar with the many complex problems in today’s healthcare industry. He knows what to look for in a good doctor, and he deeply appreciates quality healthcare services. When Charles thought he was having urinary problems, he came to see Dr. Michael J. Lazar in Santa Rosa for an examination. Dr. Lazar didn’t find any problems with Charles’ urinary system, and Charles’ symptoms went away on their own shortly thereafter. The appointment proved to be well worth Charles’ time, however, as Dr. Lazar discovered a lump, also known as a nodule, in his thyroid that other physicians had failed to find in past appointments with Charles.

Charles explains, “The busyness of doctors is a major problem in our healthcare system today. It’s not easy for a doctor to spend an hour with every patient, but Dr. Lazar is proof that it is possible.

Dr. Lazar discovered the nodule in my thyroid because he was thorough in his evaluation. It’s as straightforward as that, and I cannot be more appreciative of his comprehensive approach to treating patients. Dr. Lazar even had my wife sit in on the first 15 minutes of my appointment to include her input. After finding the lump in my thyroid, I was referred to a surgeon who removed it. The surgeon was blown away that of all types of doctors, a urologist had been the one to discover the nodule—which fortunately turned out to be benign.

Dr. Lazar and his office staff conduct business with an impressive adherence to professionalism with a personal touch. The office staff briefed me over the phone the day before my appointment for how to prepare for my examination, and treated my wife and I with respect upon our arrival. I was happy to find that I have a healthy urinary system, but if I ever have any problems I know I will be back to see Dr. Lazar.”

Charles Lawrence lives with his wife in Fort Bragg, CA, and he enjoys working in his garden in his free time.

Michael Lazar, MDMichael Lazar, MD – Urologist

Michael J. Lazar, M.D. graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1978 and completed postgraduate training in surgery and urology at LSU in 1983. He is four-­time board certified by the American Board of Urology and is Managing Physician Director of Santa Rosa Surgical Management Co., LLC, which manages Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital’s Ambulatory Surgery Center. He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of Redwood Health Services and is a member of the American Urological Association. For the last seven years, Dr. Lazar has worked tirelessly to advance High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) treatment for prostate cancer.

NCMA Staff Visits New Sutter Medical Center Facility

WP_001858NCMA staff recently was given a tour of the new Sutter of Santa Rosa Hospital next to the Wells Fargo Center. The facility, currently under construction, will open in 2014 and will bring with it a higher standard in healthcare to Sonoma County. The project is expected to cost the organization $284 million. The hospital will focus on the many advances, treatments and innovative technology in healthcare.

The new facility is built on a dynamic, green design that will result in a significant reduction in green house gas emissions. The hospital will also implement a water and energy conservation program. Upon completion, the new hospital is expected to be LEED Certified, the internally recognized green building certification system that uses a rigorous 100-point checklist. The building also will boast a seismically sound infrastructure, electronic health records and advanced imaging technology that will make the new Sutter Medical Center an unmatched state-of-the-art facility that will enhance 21st century healthcare in Sonoma County.

WP_001869Project managers showed NCMA staff around the grounds where the efforts and progress made by the collaborating teams has reached a level that is worthy of Sutter Medical Centers’ high standards. You can see the facility, its progress and innovate design on Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa’s website. Also, watch live video of the construction progress, as the hospital’s countdown to opening gets closer. See the photos on our Facebook for a complete insight into our visit and the progress of the new hospital.

Dr. Patrick Coleman named Physician Leader by Center for Well-Being

NCMA is proud to congratulate Dr. Patrick Coleman with the honor of Physician Leader 2013, named by the Northern California Center for Well-Being. Dr. Coleman is a leader in Cardiovascular Disease and has been with NCMA for over twenty years. His efforts in lifesaving research with the Coastal Valley STEMI program has significantly increased heart attack victim’s prognosis through a specialized treatment protocol in both Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Dr. Coleman additionally volunteers his time at the Department of Family Practice at UCSF as well as a staff teacher at Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa. He is constantly promoting health education within the community by speaking at local events.

Dr. Patrick Coleman, Cardiology

Dr. Patrick Coleman, Cardiology

The Northern California Center for Well-Being is a non-profit health education and wellness center that serves Sonoma County and surrounding areas since 1996. The center and its staff work with those suffering from chronic disease including diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. Their services include the only diabetes program in Sonoma County accredited by the American Diabetes Association as well as the only Phase III Cardiac Rehabilitation program in Santa Rosa. The over four thousand individuals the Center care for with chronic conditions are from low to moderate incomes and often have difficulty affording healthcare.

Each year the Center for Well-Being honors five outstanding individuals in Sonoma County who have demonstrated an unsurpassed commitment to community, family and individual health. This year’s event is Celebration of Dreams 2013 and honors individuals in the categories of Physician Leader, Community Leader, Healthcare Professional Leader (Non Physician), Healthy Business Leader and Youth Leader.

The event, Celebration of Dreams 2013: Honoring Leaders in Health and Wellness will take place September 27th 11:30-1:30 p.m. at Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club. This event presents a special occasion for local business and community members to support the Center for Well-Beings’ philosophy of providing health education, free services and programs to low income families to Northern California residents. All proceeds benefit the Center for Well-Being and their mission to provide patients with equal opportunity healthcare. Join us this year and honor Dr. Coleman on his dedication to advancements in healthcare. To become a sponsor or purchase a ticket visit their website for more information.