Allergy & Asthma Services
Asthma and allergies can disrupt your busy lifestyle. In some cases, symptoms can be life-threatening. At MUSC Health, you have access to specialized care close to home.
We offer complete care, including an accurate diagnosis and the latest treatments in one program. We help you find lasting relief so you can live life on your terms.
Why Choose Us?
Allergy and asthma problems require specialized care, and you’ll find it at MUSC Health. Our team offers a level of expertise that is not widely available in the Lowcountry.
Highlights of our program include:
- Highly Skilled Team: You receive care from a doctor who completed training programs (fellowships) in both asthma and allergy care (immunology). This level of training helps us efficiently care for people who suffer from both conditions. Our team includes respiratory therapists and nurses with special training to help you get the most out of treatment.
- Access to New Treatments: We are advancing asthma and allergy care through research and clinical trials. Our efforts give you access to new medications for uncontrolled asthma and complex allergies affecting the white blood cells (eosinophilic disorders). Some of these medications are only available in programs that conduct research.
- Coordinated Care: Partnering with other MUSC Health departments helps us make quick, informed decisions about the best way to treat complex problems. For complex asthma symptoms affecting the throat, we work alongside doctors from MUSC Health Ear, Nose & Throat Services When digestive disorders such as acid reflux complicate asthma care, we partner with experts from the MUSC Health Digestive Disease Center.
Conditions We Treat
Asthma happens when inflammation makes it difficult to move air in and out of your lungs. You may experience wheezing and shortness of breath. In severe cases, asthma can become life-threatening. We treat all forms of asthma including exercise-induced asthma.
Allergies happen when your body’s natural defense against disease (immune system) overreacts. You may experience sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes or a cough. Some people experience changes in the skin such as a rash.
We treat common and complex allergies including:
- Drug allergies
- Eczema, or patches of itchy, red skin
- Environmental allergies, which happen when you react to substances such as pollen that float in the air
- Eosinophilic disorders, which cause abnormal levels of white blood cells to build up in your body
- Hay fever
- Rashes that form after your skin comes into contact with a substance you are allergic to (contact dermatitis)
Dr. Maria R. Streck and Dr. Kelli Williams provide expert allergy and immunology treatments for all ages. The conditions they treat include asthma, sinus issues and other allergy related problems for young people and adults.
Your care may start with testing to determine what’s causing allergy symptoms. We offer deep experience in allergy testing, which helps you have a safe experience from start to finish.
- During a skin test, we apply safe levels of allergens (substances that cause allergies) to your skin. We may test for several allergens at the same time, including dust, mold, and hair from animals. If you experience symptoms, such as itching and swelling, you are likely allergic to the substance.
- We perform challenge testing for problems such as drug allergies. We give you several small doses of the drug that may be causing your symptoms. If you start experiencing an allergic reaction, you are likely allergic to the drug. In that case, we stop the test.
Allergy & Immunology Specialties
At MUSC Health, you have access to a broad range of treatments, including allergy shots, creams, and medication. If the problem is complex, we help you get the best possible care by working alongside equally skilled MUSC Health experts in:
- Dermatology: We offer a level of expertise that is uncommon in South Carolina for problems such as environmental allergies.
- Ear, nose, & throat problems: Our nationally ranked program includes the best available technology and expertise to get to the bottom of severe allergies affecting your sinuses.
- Pediatric allergies: Our pediatric experts specialize in meeting the unique needs of children with allergies.
as well as:
- Allergic rhinitis
- Drug allergies
- Eosinophilic disorders
- Eczema and contact dermatitis
We offer complete asthma care including tests that are not widely available. We also offer all the latest treatments, including bronchial thermoplasty for lasting relief of severe asthma symptoms. During this procedure, we apply mild heat to shrink swollen muscle tissue in the airways, making it easier to breathe. Our capabilities give you the best chances of achieving symptom control.
Your care may include:
- Testing: The best care for asthma starts with testing to confirm whether the symptoms you are experiencing are related to asthma and how best to treat them. We offer decades of experience in all aspects of asthma care, including testing, which helps you have a safe experience. Special asthma tests available at MUSC Health include:
- Methacholine Challenge: You inhale safe levels of methacholine, a drug that causes asthma symptoms. If you experience wheezing or shortness of breath, it helps us confirm an asthma diagnosis.
- Exhaled Nitric Oxide: We measure levels of nitric oxide gas in your breath to determine whether medications such as steroids will be effective.
- Medications: We offer all the latest medications and devices (inhalers) that deliver medications directly to your airways.
- Procedures: We use a special device that produces mild heat to smooth out swollen airway tissue, which eases breathing. For complex cases, we work alongside experts who specialize in procedures to treat complex lung and airway problems. Learn more about interventional pulmonology.
- Support: Our team includes a nurse with special training (called a certified asthma educator) that helps you avoid severe asthma symptoms. Our nurse works with you one-on-one to demonstrate how to use your inhaler and how to get additional help between appointments.