If you have allergies, you may have noticed your symptoms getting worse with each passing year, a trend many experts attribute to rising Young woman with cedar allergiestemperatures associated with climate change. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), our shifting weather patterns increase both the levels of pollen and the amount of time it sticks around.

And while some people have seasonal allergies, year-round allergies caused by dust mites and pet dander may be worsened by airborne allergens like pollen.

In addition to climate change and longer pollen seasons, many medical experts believe the “hygiene hypothesis” may also play a role in the increase of allergies; it states that being too clean (overusing hand sanitizers, etc.) stunts our immune system development.

The good news is that no one needs to suffer through allergy season. By working with your physician and employing a few smart strategies, it’s possible to find relief and take charge of your allergies.

Check pollen counts daily

The 2019 allergy season is already upon us and it’s showing signs of being a bad one.

Climate change has led to warmer climates, early spring season, and longer and later seasons that allow for the eyes, nose and throat to be exposed to pesky pollen. In addition, urban areas and cities are more likely to have greater level of air pollutants, causing more intense allergy seasons.

To help prepare yourself, get in the habit of checking the pollen count in the same way you consult the weather forecast. If it’s high, try to stay indoors and close your windows. Think about purchasing a good mask for outdoor activities like yard work, and shower to wash off allergens before going to bed.

Being aware of the allergen types floating around may help, too. In areas of the country where you have three or four seasons per year, allergy season may start in February and March depending on the weather. It can begin with tree pollen, going through spring until just before early summer in many areas. Grass pollen season also overlaps and appears again in many areas by mid-spring and through summer. Lastly, weed and ragweed pollen levels rise during summer and go into the fall—and mold allergies can happen anytime.

To check for specific pollen and mold counts in your area, visit the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology pollen count website at aaaai.org or pollen.com.

Get a head start on treatment

If you have seasonal allergies, it’s best to start treatment before your symptoms become severe.

Steroid nasal sprays are the first-line treatment for seasonal allergies and can be obtained via prescription or over the counter (OTC); Flonase Allergy Relief and Rhinocort Allergy are two popular products. Some people manage their allergies with OTC oral antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin) or cetirizine (Zyrtec), while others may need to consult a physician if nonprescription medications don’t help or if allergy symptoms worsen.

Consult an allergist

While mild allergies or occasional flare-ups may be controlled by OTC medications, talk to your doctor if you experience symptoms such as chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion or difficulty breathing.

For long-term allergies, patients often do better with a nasal steroid (such as Flonase or Nasonex). Unlike nasal decongestant sprays (such as Afrin) that are only supposed to be used for a few days and can cause rebound congestion, steroid nasal sprays reduce swelling and sensitivity in the nasal passages, making them less susceptible to allergy triggers.

Your doctor may also refer you to an allergist. Some patients may be good candidates for allergy shots, or sublingual immunotherapy (where a pill is taken orally and dissolves under your tongue). Both of these treatments start by introducing a patient’s immune system to a small bit of pollen weekly, eventually making them less sensitive to the allergens.

Allergy-proof your home

In addition to managing seasonal allergies with medication, it’s also important to allergy-proof your home against indoor allergens including dust, mold and pet dander. Doctors can even provide blood tests to determine exposure or sensitivity to these and other allergens.

Bedrooms are the most important rooms to allergy-proof. Vacuum frequently since rugs and carpet can trap allergens and put hypoallergenic covers on your mattress and pillows to protect against dust mites, the tiny organisms that live in the dust and fibers of household objects.

Washing your sheets once a week can also get rid of built up allergens and having an air purifier in your bedroom can help filter out pollen, pet dander and mold spores and help improve air quality.

Ultimately, allergy season may only get worse, but improving your awareness, treatment and home environment could save you a lot of misery—and tissues.


Physician of the Year

As the embodiment of a well-respected physician and great team player, Dr. Fred Fung, Internist, was the recipient of the ADC Distinguished Service Award (“Physician of the Year”) for 2015.  Dr. Fung joined The Austin Diagnostic Clinic in 2002 and has earned the respect of his colleagues and love of his patients many times over during these thirteen years.  He has a deep passion for medicine, but has varied interests in reading, photography, cooking, travel, art and spending time with his beloved family.

New Board Members

The Austin Diagnostic Clinic elected three new board members at their Annual Shareholder’s meeting on Thursday, February 18, 2016.   Newly elected members are Raymond Paxton, MD, Internist; Mara Tache, MD, Pediatrician, and Matthew Pearson, MD, Urologist, all of whom will serve five year terms.   ADC Chairman of the Board John Villacis, MD presented appreciation awards to outgoing Board members surgeon Thomas Brown, MD, who served for 7 years and pediatrician Dick Worrel, MD who served for ten years, during which he held the positions of Board Vice-Chairman and Board Secretary/Treasurer.

John Villacis,MD, Allergy and Immunology doctor

John Villacis, MD, ADC Chairman of the Board

Allergist, John Villacis, MD elected to Board of Directors

The Austin Diagnostic Clinic (ADC) announces the election of new Board Chairman allergist John Villacis, MD.  Dr. Villacis follows the transition of former Chair and Internal Medicine specialist Laura Guerrero, MD on November 15, 2015. Dr. Guerrero will continue serving the organization as the Board Secretary/Treasurer.

Dr. Villacis has been an allergy and immunology specialist in Austin for over 12 years. He will continue his clinical practice at ADC North and Circle C, and balance this with leading the multi-specialty clinic.   Dr. “V”, as his patients know him, is a graduate of the Texas Tech School of Medicine, trained in Internal Medicine at UTMB in Galveston, TX and did his Allergy/Immunology fellowship training at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. He has served on several committees at ADC including the Peer-Review, Compensation, Contracting, Executive Operations Committee, Physician Recruitment and Retention and is the Allergy Section Chief.   Previously, he served as ADC’s Board Vice-Chairman in 2014 until the 2015 elections. He also is a graduate of the TMA Leadership College and serves on the TMA Council of Practice Management. Recognized as a “Super Doctor” by Texas Monthly Magazine, Dr. Villacis also acts as spokesperson for ADC in the media promoting and educating others the field of Allergy and Immunology.

“The Austin Diagnostic Clinic has served the community for over 60 years. We hold true to our values of being a thriving independent multi-specialty group practice. It truly is an honor to lead and represent this organization. The practice of medicine is changing significantly, and I think our organization is stronger than it ever has been to continue to provide compassionate care and excellent service to the Austin community.”

Two Central Texas-based businesses join together to improve patient and practice experience.

AUSTIN, TX — The Austin Diagnostic Clinic (ADC) announces that back-office revenue cycle business services for the 62 year-old clinic will be transitioned to Dell Services by September 2015.

In order to maximize efficiencies, reduce complexity and off-set the continuing reductions in insurance reimbursements, ADC, the second largest multi-specialty clinic in Central Texas [1], will transition its back-office revenue cycle business services to Round Rock-based Dell and its Healthcare Services Group. Dell has been ranked five straight years by Gartner as No. 1 Worldwide IT Services provider in Healthcare Providers based on revenue. [2]

“We are very excited about this transition. Dell brings the expertise and competitive edge that ADC needs to succeed in healthcare today,” said ADC’s Chief Executive Officer Ghassan Salman, M.D. “The Clinic will have access to a worldwide infrastructure and resources that will scale with our business needs as we continue to grow and expand services for our patients.”

Patients and physicians will benefit from a seamless transition and increase in the quality of services ADC will provide as a result of the change, noted Salman.

“Dell is pleased to bring its deep healthcare expertise and provider experience to help ADC focus on its mission of providing compassionate care and excellent service. Both organizations believe that information-driven healthcare can improve quality of care for the patients we serve, and we look forward to a long and fruitful collaboration with ADC,” said Sid Nair, vice president and global general manager, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Dell Services.

For updates and more information about the doctors, specialties and services at The Austin Diagnostic Clinic please visit ADClinic.com.


The Austin Diagnostic Clinic is a premier multi-specialty clinic comprised of an independent group of 125 physicians practicing in 21 medical specialties at nine locations throughout Austin and Central Texas. For more information about us visit ADClinic.com.

1] http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/subscriber-only/2014/03/21/medical-clinics-for-profit.html

2] Gartner, Inc., Market Share: IT Services, 2014, Kathryn Hale et al, March 31, 2015

Doctors elected to board of directors

Dr. Patrick Nolan (left) and Dr. Laura Guerrero (right)

Doctors of The Austin Diagnostic Clinic Tuesday evening elected members to the organization’s Board of Directors for 2013.

Patrick Nolan, MD, an ADC neurologist, was one of two physicians elected to the board for 2013. Dr. Nolan previously served on the board from 2007-2012.

Dr. Laura Guerrero, ADC Internal Medicine, was re-elected as an incumbent. Both physicians will serve five-year terms.

“These two physicians both have experience at the board level, and I feel confident that the Clinic is on a steady path toward improvement,” said Dr. Paul Moore, current ADC board chairman.

ADC board members serve as the leadership team responsible for the Clinic’s overall business and strategy.

Other current board members are surgeon Tom Brown, MD,  internist Jerry Hood, MD, endocrinologist Paul Moore, MD, hospitalist Ravjeev Prakash, MD, rheumatologist Monty Tew, MD, allergist John Villacis, MD, and pediatrician Dick Worrel, MD.

The board of directors elected the following officers:

  • Chairman of the Board – Paul Moore, MD 
  • Vice-Chairman of the Board – Laura Guerrero, MD
  • Board Secretary/Treasurer – Dick Worrel, MD

Physicians recognized

Beth Nauert

Dr. Beth Nauert

During the annual meeting, several physicians were recognized for their work at the Clinic.

Dr. Beth Nauert, ADC Pediatrics, was honored as the 2012 Physician of the Year. She was surrounded by her family and friends as her colleague, Dr. Diane Garza, ADC Pediatrics, acknowledged her many achievements.

Among them, Dr. Nauert has volunteered her time for the past 20 years with the Children’s Advocacy Center, where she gives medical examinations to children suspected of being sexually abused. She also testifies in court on their behalf.

“What a wonderful lady,” said Dr. Moore. “She’s a jewel! What she has given of herself for abused children is a wonderful thing.”

Dr. Nauert also mentors medical students in her practice.

Dr. Nauert’s colleague, Dr. Vanessa Chiapetta, ADC Pediatrics, was honored with the Clinic’s “Henry” award. The award, named after ADC founder Henry Renfert, MD, recognizes physician contributions toward outreach in the community.

Dr. Chiapetta received the award for working to create educational videos and write online articles about health topics.

Department honors

ADC’s Cardiology department was also recognized for the high level of care its doctors and staff members gave in 2012. The recognition was based on many benchmarks, including patient satisfaction surveys, in which cardiology received 100 percent.

ADC Cardiology doctors are Stuart Damore, MD, Jose Mejia, MD, and Joseph Imsais, MD.