Get some relief this Ragweed Season

Get some relief this Ragweed Season

Fall is just around the corner. As the season changes we trade I the sweltering hot days of summer for the cooler, crisp days of autumn. The humidity drops, the days get shorter and the nights longer. Being outdoors becomes much more comfortable. The fall season brings changes to the weather, but other things in the environment change as well.

For people with allergies, the fall season can lead to increased suffering. At SIMED Allergy & Asthma autumn triggers Ragweed Season and a significant increasing allergic reactions. Ragweed Season usually begins in the late summer, peaks in mid-September and lasts into November. For some people ragweed pollen is simply a nuisance creating a little sniffle, but for others it can interfere with daily living and comfort resulting in constant runny nose, sneezing and/or itchy eyes. Some may even develop asthma symptoms.

What could you do if you have ragweed allergy?

The best way to minimize ragweed allergy symptoms is to stay indoors in an air-conditioned environment. When outdoors activities occur try to minimize being outdoors early in the morning and wash off quickly once coming indoors. Over-the-counter, long-acting, non-sedating anti-histamines are good for treating the itchy eyes, nasal drip and sneezing. Taking anti-histamines daily starting just prior to and throughout the season works best at preventing the symptoms from building. The best medications for treating airborne allergies are the nasal steroid sprays.

If medications aren’t controlling symptoms, or you are not a fan of taking pills there are methods to desensitize your allergies. Desensitization uses allergy shots to reduce your response to ragweed exposure.

SIMED’s allergists have specialized training and expertise above and beyond any other medical or surgical specialty to evaluate your allergies and develop a treatment plan for your individual condition. The goal is to enable you to lead a life that is as normal and symptom free as possible.

For more information about our allergy division please visit SIMED Allergy & Asthma, or to schedule an appointment at any of our locations including Gainesville, Ocala, Chiefland and Lake City please click on this link to request an appointment online.

Allergy & Asthma Awareness Month

SIMED Celebrates Allergy & Asthma Awareness Month

Asthma has many causes, one of which is allergies. SIMED Allergy and Asthma Board Certified Allergist-Immunologist, Mercedes Pernice, MD, talks about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of these two very prevalent issues in North Central Florida.


Every individual has unique allergic triggers.

"When the body comes into contact with an allergen, a chemical immune reaction occurs. This reaction inflames the nasal passages or bronchial tubes. Some reactions may cause skin reactions, as well," says Dr. Pernice.

People who have allergies in the fall tend to be reacting to ragweed. Summer allergies are likely due to grass pollens, ragweed and molds. Spring seasonal allergies peak in North Central Florida from February to May, when trees begin to pollinate.

The allergic reaction for many individuals, causes them to experience frustrating symptoms of itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, congestion, throat irritation and more.

According to Dr. Pernice environmental and lifestyle changes can reduce your exposure to seasonal allergens.

"During the spring, keep windows closed and keep your air conditioning on to filtered and circulate the air. Stay indoors as much as possible, if practical."

Allergic reactions to animals or dust are also common.

"For indoor allergies, avoid dust mites and dander's, ideally do not own animals, and consider purchasing a HEPA filter," says Dr. Pernice

If you don’t see significant improvement to environmental or over-the-counter allergy remedies, a board certified allergist-immunologist physician can help you identify the source of your allergies and suggest more effective treatment based on your allergies.

Additionally, always tell your physician about your allergies if symptoms are prolonged and affect daily life.

"If you are missing school or work, experiencing headaches, having trouble sleeping, or frequently experience infections or asthma, consider having your allergies evaluated," says Dr. Pernice.


Allergies are the most common trigger of asthma, however asthma can be caused by a variety of triggers.

Dr. Pernice says there are two general categories of asthma: 1) Extrinsic asthma, which is triggered by the outdoors, and 2) Intrinsic asthma triggered by chronic inflammation within the body.

"When someone has asthma, there is a degree of inflammation in the bronchial tubes, which narrows the airways causing coughing, chest tightness, or wheezing. Often times, patients report prolonged and recurrent coughing or wheezing," says Dr. Pernice.

There are many specific kinds of asthma, which can be determined by a board certified allergist-immunologist. It is important to understand the cause of ones asthma in order to treat it effectively.

Treating asthma is based on general guidelines, based on the severity of symptoms.

"First you start with a rescue inhaler, many of which contain the medicine Albuterol. Rescue inhalers relax the muscles in the bronchial tubes to open them up, and ease breathing. These are used on an as needed basis," said Dr. Pernice.

If a patient needs to use their rescue inhaler more than twice per week during the day-time or twice per month at night, other treatment options should be considered.

Depending on the severity of a patients symptoms they might find relief using inhaled corticosteroids, which decreased bronchial inflammation.

Non-allergic asthma triggers, like infections or underlying conditions such as chronic sinus disease or acid reflux, can cause asthma.

"One cause of asthma is upper respiratory infections. Patients may report having recurrent cold symptoms, and whenever they have these symptoms they 'go into my chest.' An average patient may get rid of a cold in about 7-10 days. However patients with asthma will have prolonged illness, lasting weeks to months." says Dr. Pernice.

Board certified allergist-immunologists have specialized training to evaluate and treat a broad range of allergy and immunology issues.

"We are trained to manage immunologic problems, for instance immune deficiency and recurrent infections, in addition to allergy problems," says Dr. Pernice.

If you are trying to decide whether or not to see board certified allergist-immunologist, ask yourself the following questions:
  1. Do you want to know what your allergic triggers are?
  2. Do you want a variety of treatment options for your allergies, beyond medication?
  3. Do you want to avoid allergic triggers, rather than take medications to treat the symptoms throughout your lifetime?
  4. Do you need a diagnosis that looks at a broad range of diseases, that may require special treatment?

If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," Dr. Pernice recommends scheduling an appointment. SIMED Allergy and Asthma offers treatment for allergies, asthma, and immunological conditions throughout North Central Florida. Our physicians are board certified Allergist-Immunologists, ready to help you breathe easier. Click here to request an appointment online.

Suffering from Seasonal Allergies? SIMED Allergy & Asthma can Help!

Suffering from Seasonal Allergies? SIMED Allergy & Asthma can Help!

At SIMED we’re often asked "Why should I see an Allergy – Immunologist? Can't any doctor treat my allergies?"  The reason you should choose a Board Certified Allergy – Immunologist is because they are specialists who are uniquely trained to diagnose and treat allergy and immunology disorders. While other doctors claim they can treat allergies they are not Board Certified allergists and have not had the additional years of training and expertise that comes with Board Certification.

Board Certified Allergists complete an additional 2 (or more) years of training in allergy and immunology with an accredited training program. Most are certified in internal medicine, pediatrics (or both) and have passed the examination given by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

The Allergist-Immunologist is uniquely trained in the following:

  • Allergy testing (skin test, in vitro studies)
  • Allergy test evaluations
  • Environmental control instructions
  • Immunotherapy
  • Food & drug challenges
  • Drug desensitization
  • Evaluation of immune competence
  • Education (disease, medication, and monitoring)
  • Management of chronic or recurrent conditions in which an allergy is not always identified (rhinosinusitis, conjunctivitis, asthma, cough, urticaria-angioedema, eczema, anaphylaxis)

The allergist-immunologist can also help manage the following cases:

  • Anaphylaxis (systemic allergic reaction)
  • Asthma
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Chronic Cough
  • Dermatitis
  • Food & Drug Allergy
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
  • Insect hypersensitivity
  • Occupational allergic diseases
  • Primary immune deficiency
  • Rhinitis-rhinosinusitis
  • Urticaria-angioedema

SIMED Allergy & Asthma strives to provide exceptional healthcare coverage for our patients. In order to help achieve this goal we provides three Board Certified Allergist-Immunologists on staff covering our Gainesville, Ocala, Chiefland and Lake City locations.

To see if an Allergist-Immunologist is right for you, contact one of our offices to set up an appointment:

  • Gainesville - (352) 331-3502
  • Ocala - (352) 547-1016
  • Lake City - (386) 755 - 1651
  • Chiefland - (352) 493 - 2305

CLICK HERE to request an appointment online.