We hope you had a safe healthy holiday.
On December 26, I notified you that a household member of one of our staff had been diagnosed with a COVID infection and that we would be closing the office from December 28 to January 3.
I am happy to report that all of our other staff members have been tested for COVID in the last week and are negative. Therefore, we conclude that the very strict precautions we have in place in our office to prevent COVID transmission have been successful, as we have not had a single documented incidence of a patient (or a staff member) becoming infected with COVID while in our office throughout the pandemic.
We will be re-opening the office on Monday, January 4, 2021 and will continue with our very stringent precautions to prevent the transmission of any infection, which include cleaning all surfaces hourly and treating the air in the office with a disinfectant mist throughout the day. As we have been warned that the next few weeks will be particularly troublesome in terms of COVID rates, all individuals will continue to have their temperatures taken before they are allowed entry into the office and all individuals will be required to wear a mask which covers both their mouth and their nose the entire time they are in the office, including when inside an exam room (even when alone), unless specifically instructed to remove the mask by a health care provider or staff member (for example, for a physical exam). Staff members will have their temperatures checked twice/day to check for any variances.
I apologize again for the inconvenience we caused by closing the office last week and we appreciate your patience as we re-open and catch up with phone calls, prescriptions, and other requests, but, as I said in my previous communication, our patients’ health and safety is our number one priority.
Thank you for your understanding and best wishes from all of us at The Allergy and Asthma Clinic for a Happy, Healthy New Year!
Andrew Engler, MD
Video Visits with an Allergy and Asthma Clinic Health Care Provider are Available Now!
We now offer you secure video visits. Video visits can be a convenient way to have a live video telehealth visit and is appropriate for many types of appointments; including follow-up visits, sick visits, review of current medications, new allergy and/or asthma symptoms.Want a Telehealth video visit, in office appointment or have a question?LEARN MORE ABOUT TELEHEALTH REQUEST ONLINE
COVID-19 UPDATE - A MESSAGE TO OUR PATIENTS
Over the last several months, we have seen the benefits of social distancing measures and aggressive hygienic practices in reducing the spread of COVID-19. As you know, our office has taken very proactive steps to adhere to the guidelines recommended by the CDC, WHO and the San Mateo County Health Department. In compliance with these agencies most recent recommendations, since April 20, 2020 we have been requiring all patients coming into the office to wear a mask/face covering to further diminish the chance spreading COVID-19.
In a recent statement by CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield, “we are not defenseless against COVID-19,” and “cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.” He goes on to say that “we can control the virus in 4 to 8 weeks if everyone in the United States wears a mask”.
According to the Health Officer of the County of San Mateo, the mask/face covering can be made of fabric and should not have holes or valves. Note that any mask that incorporates a one-way valve (typically a raised plastic cylinder about the size of a quarter on the front or side of the mask) that is designed to facilitate easy breathing should not be used. These types of masks can permit droplets to be released from the mask, putting others nearby at risk.
We at The Allergy and Asthma Clinic are, like all of you, very concerned about what we can do to protect ourselves, our families and our community from the current epidemic of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). We are also particularly mindful of the need now, more than ever, to make sure our patients' allergy and asthma are under the best possible control so that your lungs and respiratory system will be strong enough to withstand any potential infection-- whether it’s COVID-19, the flu, or anything else.
As a medical office providing essential services, we plan to keep The Allergy and Asthma Clinic and Peninsula Allergy and Asthma Associates open, though we will be reducing our hours and days of operation. At this time, these are our current hours:
San Mateo Office:
Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays: We are open for allergy injections in the San Mateo office from 9:00 AM-5:30 PM.
Fridays: We are open for allergy injections from 7:30AM-3:30 PM.
Until further notice, we will be closed on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Daly City Office:
Tuesdays: We are open for allergy injections in the Daly City office from 10:00 AM-12:00 PM and from 1:30 PM-5:30 PM.
Wednesdays: We are open for allergy injections in the Daly City office from 1:00 PM-5:30 PM.
Please understand this situation may change and we encourage you to check our website or call the office for the latest information on our hours of operation.
Your health and safety are our top priority. As we do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19, we ask that you please call our office to reschedule any appointments if you have or have had any symptoms of fever, especially if associated with cough and/or shortness of breath within the past 3 weeks. Also, anyone who is sick and plans to accompany a patient to the office should not come into the office.
We realize the above rules and schedule changes may be inconvenient for some patients, especially at this time of year when allergies tend to flare because of increasing pollen counts. However, we appreciate your understanding that the reason we are doing this is to protect the health and well-being of all of our patients, and to ensure we have adequate staffing to accommodate these exceptional times.
We will continue to monitor the data and recommendations from the CDC and WHO, as well as local health authorities, and keep you informed as more information becomes available.
So far our joint efforts have been very successful and your continued understanding during these unprecedented times is greatly appreciated. Together, we will get through these trying events.
Patient Information - Office Protocols
COVID-19 targets the lungs, which is why individuals who are most at risk of complications are those whose lungs have already been weakened by environmental toxins (such as smoking, air pollution, etc.), disease (including allergic disease), and age (over 60). We have already asked all patients to refrain from coming into the office if they have any indication of possible COVID-19 infection.
We want you to know of the additional steps we are taking in our office to further protect you. They are:
1) As we have always done, we are wiping down and disinfecting each exam room after every patient encounter. Additionally, our reception areas are being disinfected on an hourly basis, including pens. For the time being, we have also removed all magazines, so you may want to bring your own pens and reading material. As you know, we have wi-fi available. We are also disinfecting the injection area regularly.
2) All staff members have their temperatures taken when they report to work and, effective March 16, we are taking the temperature of all when they enter the office for allergy injections. (We were already taking the temperatures of all patients scheduled for an office visit.) We will also be taking the temperature of anyone else entering the office for any reason (for ex., persons accompanying patients, delivery people dropping off supplies, etc.).
Anyone with a fever will not be allowed to receive an allergy injection or enter the office for any appointments. Anyone with a fever or any other symptoms of COVID-19 should not come into the office, as they will not be allowed to remain in the office but will instead be advised to consult with their primary care physician, as recommended by the CDC.
3) Masks will be required for all patients, including individuals entering the office for other reasons. Note that any mask that incorporates a one-way valve (typically a raised plastic cylinder about the size of a quarter on the front or side of the mask) that is designed to facilitate easy breathing should not be used. These types of masks can permit droplets to be released from the mask, putting others nearby at risk.
4) All staff have been notified of travel restrictions, and will need to self-quarantine for 14 days if they have traveled outside of the state or if they have traveled anywhere by airplane. We also recommend to our patients that they avoid all non-essential air travel at this time.
5) Staff always wear gloves when giving injections and always wash their hands after they have contact with a patient while not wearing gloves (i.e, in an exam room). The injection nurses are also wearing face shields.
6) In addition, we have purchased machines that supply aerosolized disinfectant (all natural, non-toxic, hypoallergenic) which kills COVID particles that may be circulating in the air; this will enable us to more thoroughly disinfect our exam rooms after every patient visit so as to further protect our patients and staff.
Please Welcome Dr. Bhushan C. Gupta, MD
Dr. Bhushan C. Gupta is Board Certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and the American Board of Pediatrics. He is a member of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. Dr. Gupta specializes in adult and pediatric allergy and asthma and did his fellowship in adult and pediatric allergy and immunology at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York.
Prepare for Spring Allergies Now
Winter is a great time to prepare for spring allergy season. If allergen immunotherapy is or has been recommended after your allergy skin tests, you can start building your body’s resistance to your specific allergic triggers now to reduce the impact these allergens have on you in the spring months.
We are happy to help you check your specific insurance plan benefits and if there are any referral requirements for your visits. If you have any questions about your insurance benefits or to schedule an appointment, please call (650) 343-4597. You may also Request An Appointment through our website.
Early Morning Clinic Hours
For your convenience, we have expanded our allergy shot hours.
Allergy shots and office visits are now available in both the San Mateo and Daly City offices every Friday beginning at 7:30am.
Saturday Clinic Hours
For your convenience, we have expanded our office visit hours.
Office Visits are now available in the San Mateo office every Saturday beginning at 9:00am.
Mylan the maker of EpiPen is encouraging patients who are experiencing difficulty filling their prescriptions for EpiPens to contact Mylan Customer Relations at (800) 796-9526 for assistance in locating alternative pharmacies.
We are proud to announce that Dr. Engler was chosen as Top Doctors of San Mateo 2018 by Castle Connolly Ltd
A health care research and information company that has made it its mission to help patients find the best healthcare. Dr. Engler was chosen based on recommendations from licensed physicians and other medical professionals in the area. Candidates were evaluated based on their educational and professional experience, years of experience, board certification, quality of medical degree, hospital affiliations and whether they had received any disciplinary actions.
Dr. Engler was featured on KPIX news this week
El Niño Winter Contributing To Bad Allergy Season In California.
Do your allergies seem worse this year? You’re not imagining it, and recent wet weather is playing a role. Sharon Chin reports. (4/12/16)
Disclaimer: The Allergy & Asthma Clinic does not condone or affiliate with any advertisements that may accompany this video presentationWatch Dr. Engler on KPIX News here
Dr. Engler Chosen as One of the Top Allergists in the Bay Area
We are proud to announce that Dr. Engler was among 1 of 13 allergists chosen as “Our Best Doctors” in the January, 2015 edition of San Francisco Magazine. The list of doctors was chosen from nearly 3000 nominees in the 8 Bay Area counties based on recommendations from licensed physicians and other medical professionals in the region. Each candidate was evaluated based on their educational and professional experience, years of experience, board certification, quality of medical degree, hospital affiliations and whether they had received any disciplinary actions. San Francisco Magazine worked in collaboration with Castle Connolly Ltd—a health care research and information company that has made it its mission to help patients find the best healthcare.
What is Cluster Immunotherapy?
Allergy immunotherapy is the medical term for a very effective treatment to help you become less allergic. Cluster immunotherapy is a process of giving allergy shots to treat your underlying allergies but unlike conventional immunotherapy, Cluster Immunotherapy allows the patient to reach their “maintenance dose” over a period of weeks, rather than months, thus allowing the patient to experience the benefits of immunotherapy sooner.
Helping our community and raising Asthma Awareness.
Our free asthma screening event on Saturday, May 26th at the Hillsdale Mall was a huge success. We had many visitors and the turnout was very successful. It was great fun and we were thrilled to have had an opportunity to educate the public. There were excellent questions being asked and we were more than happy to answer them. We were delighted to see that even some of our own patients came to visit thanking us for helping the community learn more about this very treatable condition. We particularly enjoyed our interactions with the children who seemed to enjoy blowing into the spirometer as hard as they could to test their lung function! Here are some pictures of the event.
Aspirin allergy and heart disease prevention
It is a well known fact that aspirin therapy is of extreme benefit for most cardiovascular patients, both in primary and secondary prevention of coronary artery disease (CAD). Long -term aspirin therapy reduces mortality in CAD patients after an initial coronary event. Aspirin therapy also significantly reduces major adverse cardiovascular events after coronary intervention procedures. Consequently, patients who have to avoid aspirin due to an allergy are at a significant disadvantage. However, proper classification of aspirin allergic patients and the potential for aspirin desensitization therapy would open up use of this highly cost effective therapy for cardiovascular patients. It is recognized by the American Heart Association that aspirin desensitization protocols facilitate optimal management of the cardiovascular patient with aspirin allergy.
Aspirin allergy and Asthma/Sinus Disease
According to Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, a study of aspirin hypersensitivity shows that approximately 15% of all asthma patients and 40% of asthmatics with nasal polyps and sinusitis are allergic to aspirin. Aspirin-Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (AERD) consists of asthma, nasal and sinus polyps and a respiratory sensitivity to aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen and naproxen). Patients with this syndrome have progressive inflammatory disease of the upper and lower respiratory tracts. The disease is often difficult to control and frequently requires multiple sinus operations and treatment with oral corticosteroids. Researchers at Scripps found that desensitizing AERD patients, in order for them to be able to take aspirin for other conditions, resulted in improvement in their upper and lower respiratory tract inflammation. The goal of aspirin desensitization is to follow it with long-term aspirin treatment, which has been shown to be effective in reducing upper and lower respiratory inflammation in these patients.
There are several ways patients with AERD benefit from aspirin desensitization treatment, in addition to its cardiovascular benefits:
- it can reduce your need for oral corticosteroids
- reduce the number of sinus surgeries.
- reduce the number of sinus infections
- reduce nasal congestion
- improve asthma symptoms
- reduce hospital visits related to asthma
- it can actually improve your sense of smell
We now provide aspirin desensitization treatments in our office. If you or someone you know have a concern about aspirin sensitivity and think you might benefit from this treatment, please contact us to discuss it. The treatment is safe and is performed in a controlled environment, using a successful, clinically proven protocol.
We now have Penicillin allergy testing available at our clinic
It is estimated that penicillin allergy is greatly overstated and a lot more people think they are allergic to penicillin than really are. Approximately 85% of patients who describe themselves as penicillin allergic will have negative skin tests and can safely receive penicillin. PrePen is the only FDA approved skin test for the diagnosis of penicillin allergy and we are excited to offer this service to our patients.
Penicillin allergy testing not only benefits patients, but also physicians and other health care providers, as well as surrounding communities. These benefits include fighting resistant bacteria and offering less expensive treatments for patients. As many of you know, drug-resistant bacteria pose a major public health threat in today’s world. Many patients thought to be allergic to penicillin are treated with very potent antibiotics which are often quite expensive. Continued use of these antibiotics may lead to increased drug-resistant bacteria, limited availability of alternative treatment for more severe infections, and greater side effect profiles.
How does one undergo Penicillin allergy testing?
After obtaining your medical history, you and your healthcare provider will decide if you are a candidate to undergo this evaluation. Penicillin allergy testing is performed via skin tests and if the skin tests are essentially negative, an “oral challenge” to penicillin is performed. Negative test results using PrePen indicate a 97% confidence that the patient can be treated without the fear of a life threatening reaction if they are to take an antibiotic in the penicillin family. It is important to note that penicillin allergy testing may be contraindicated in those patients who have had a systemic reaction to penicillin. However, many patients with a history of penicillin allergy had a rash many years ago or were told when they were younger that they were allergic to penicillin but do not remember the details. Most of the time, these people are good candidates for penicillin allergy testing and will be found not to be allergic to this antibiotic—thus making treatment of future infections much safer and less expensive.
If you or someone you know would like to consider undergoing an allergy evaluation to penicillin, please contact our office and our staff will be happy to assist you.