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Hoag Medical Group Expands Allergy & Immunology Program

Allergies and asthma are nothing to sneeze at. Each year, 30,000 people are rushed to the emergency department due to complications from food allergies. Asthma brought on by environmental allergies lands 20,000 people in the hospital each year. And the rates of both food and environmental allergies have dramatically increased over the past decade.

That is why Hoag Medical Group (HMG) is expanding its Allergy & Immunology Program in Newport Beach to include more board-certified experts, the latest detection and treatment protocols, and access to clinical trials and research.

By taking a comprehensive team approach, HMG can do more than clear sniffles. The allergists and immunologists work closely with patients’ primary care doctors and other specialists to manage care for the whole patient.

“Our mission is to serve the local community with the highest quality care all under one roof,” said Christina Schwindt, M.D., allergist and immunologist with HMG. “People can come here to get the best care and the latest resources and technology.”

HMG is committed to offering the latest tools to diagnose and treat these conditions.

For example, HMG offers a highly specialized form of immunotherapy to desensitize patients to the foods that sicken them — or even threaten their lives. These weekly treatments expose patients to small doses of the troublesome foods, gradually increasing the amounts until the patient builds up a tolerance to the food.

The need for these treatments cannot be overstated, said Min Lee, M.D., allergist and immunologist with HMG.

In the last decade, food allergies increased 50%, and the incidence of severe allergic reactions to food increased 377% between 2007 and 2016.

“Desensitization is not a cure, but it is a treatment that has given families peace of mind when they send their children off to school,” said Dr. Lee. “As new treatments become available, we would like to be at the forefront of offering those to our patients.”

Other forms of desensitization treatment are also being used for patients who have vaccine or stinging-insect allergies. HMG in Newport Beach also plans to be the one of the few facilities in the county to install a pollen counter machine to track and report pollen, mold spores and other allergen counts to improve treatment plans for patients.

“The program is committed to both treating patients, and to understanding why we’re seeing the increase in allergies. We are engaging in hypothesis-driven research, which is close to my heart,” Dr. Schwindt said. “We already have an amazing program. By expanding it, we’ll be able to truly understand the underpinnings of why our patients are experiencing what they’re experiencing. And this will give us the ability to help them even more.”

Dr. Schwindt said she was drawn to Hoag because of its dedication to providing patients with the best care and medical education.

“When patients come in, the entire team is watching them closely and making sure that they’re safe. This is not just a side project, it’s a dedicated program, and we are so lucky because the administration at Hoag really cares about the patients and the community,” Dr. Schwindt said. “They see this need, and they want to make sure that we have the right response.”

For more information, call 949-791-3202.