x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

New Dubai specialist clinic to treat patients with allergies opens

The clinic will not only diagnose the growing number of allergies but also help set up a continuing avoidance plan and medical treatment, if necessary.

DUBAI // Dubai Hospital has opened a specialist clinic for allergy diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

The clinic will not only diagnose the growing number of allergies but also help set up a continuing avoidance plan and medical treatment, if necessary.

Up to one fifth of the country’s population may have allergies, said Dr Hussain Hattawi, the head of Dubai Hospital immunology unit. A 2011 study found that a 10th of the world’s 400 million nasal allergy sufferers live in the
Middle East.

The national prevalence of asthma is about 13 per cent in children and 8 to 9 per cent in adults, while prevalence of nasal allergies is about 20 per cent in children and 10 per cent in adults.


“It’s good to have that kind of clinic,” said Dr Bassam Mahboub, the vice president of the Emirates Allergy and RespiratorySociety. “We expect that a GP should deal with 70 per cent of cases but then there will be 30 per cent who need a specialist because a) the treatment is failing, or b) we don’t know the reason for the allergy.”

Dust mite and cockroach allergies are the most prevalent forms in the UAE, said Dr Hattawi.

Dust mites thrive in humid climates along the coastline and Dr Hattawi estimates that 40 per cent of his allergy patients are allergic to them.

Pollution, construction and climate are contributing factors, while sandstorms can aggravate nasal allergies and asthma.

Pets, mould, junk food and some medications can also trigger an allergic reaction.

People should visit an allergy clinic if they experience symptoms, which include a runny or blocked nose, sneezing, itching and watery eyes. Respiratory allergy symptoms include coughing, wheezing and asthma.

The 2011 survey found that October and November are the worst months for nasal allergy sufferers in the UAE.

The Deira clinic, which opened on Tuesday, will diagnose patients through skin-prick testing. If medication cannot help patients they can be treated by immunotherapy, where a patient is exposed to the allergy in very small doses.

Some allergies can cause life-threatening anaphylaxis, though the clinic will not deal with emergency cases.

It will be open every Tuesday from 3pm until 9pm. Walk-in patients will require a passport and visa information to register and two doctors will be on hand to deal with queries. The facility is a sister clinic to the hospital’s immunology clinic.

azacharias@thenational.ae