Pediatricians, Pulmonologists, ENTs, Allergologists in the Philippines — Just a Few Observations

My daughter was diagnosed with asthma when she was about four years old, and developed allergic rhinitis when her asthma disappeared, so we have been fixtures of hospitals and doctors clinics over the past years, meeting with pediatricians, pulmonologists, ENTs, allergologists in the Philippines.

Now that my daughter is in college, we still go to doctors every now and then, particularly allergologists and pulmonologists.

Just want to share bits and pieces of our experiences; first, to just let out my burdens, and, second, to share some info and probably help some one out there.

1.  Many of the best pulmonologists, ENTs, pediatricians, and allergologists in the Philippines are not affiliated with HMOs.

Sad to say, these doctors are so good and so well-known among can-afford patients that they don’t need marketing help from HMOs. They don’t even have enough time for their existing patients, so they don’t need to get more patients thru HMOs.

During times when we don’t have other options, we go to these doctors, and we wait for hours for the doctor to arrive from their clinics at Asian Hospital or Makati Med or Saint Luke’s, and again wait for some more as those with appointments are seen first.

However, this is not at all a put-down to doctors affiliated with HMOs. There are a lot of good, well-educated, experienced HMO doctors. In some cases, compassion may be among the reasons why they have HMO affiliations. They want to reach out to the working population.

2. HMOs make deferred and discounted payments to doctors.

This means that doctors earn less from an HMO patient than from a cash-paying patient. So what do you think is the effect of this on some doctors in relation to the quality or length of consultation? Haven’t you noticed that in some clinics, cash-paying patients stay longer in the room, and HMO patients are rushed?

The same with some dentists, by the way. The better option if you’re an HMO cardholder is to have your HMO-paid dental service done at a dental clinic where there are several dentists, and these dentists are working on a salary basis.

3. Allergologists or allergists can only do so much.

Like many other kinds of illnesses, allergists, not only in the Philippines, but also in other countries, even the wealthy ones, are limited to what they can do. Up to now, they don’t have remedies that can permanently stop allergic rhinitis.

We’ve gone to at least three allergists also suffering from allergic rhinitis, and who were sniffing, whiffing and winkling as we consulted about my daughter’s allergic rhinitis.

The antihistamines and the steroids can only be used for a time. Prolonged use can damage the body’s systems. What’s more, the better antihistamines cost much, such as Virlix, which is nearly 50 pesos each. The inhaled products also hurt the throat.  You cure the allergy, but you get another illness — sore throat.

We’ve tried almost every type of anti-allergy product introduced in the Philippines, I think, except the anti-allergy shots or immunology shots, which require months or years of taking the shots, and then not being sure if they’re going to be effective. It was found that these shots don’t work for everybody.

I’ve also read that if the shots are effective, they’ll be effective for only a set period of time, meaning you get monthly shots that cost about 500 to 1k pesos per shot for about 2 years, and be allergy-free for about one or two years, if effective.

4. Is “magpa-alaga” sa iisang pulmonologist or allergist effective?

There are some who would recommend magpa-alaga sa isang doctor. The ideal set-up would be for the patient to be monitored by the doctor, with changes, improvements or side effects recorded.  We tried this advice.

With at least two doctors, I thought it was going well. Later on, as good doctors have plenty of patients in several hospitals and clinics, they lose the monitoring and turn to routine, until the time comes when you can guess exactly what they’re gonna ask, say and prescribe.

In several instances, because of the years we’ve been going in and out of clinics, I diagnosed and tested my daughter, prescribed treatment, bought my prescription, and it worked. Don’t do this, of course. Do this only if you have gone through years of observing and learning from doctors, you read dosage and side effects on MIMS, you’re 100 percent sure, and you don’t have any doubt and fear.

5. Allergy test

During the time I had an HMO card, allergy tests were not covered. When finally HMOs covered the skin test for allergy, I was no longer employed and had no more HMO.

I was not so gung-ho about the skin test, as we already knew what were triggering my daughter’s allergic rhinitis. I know the culprits were road dust, household dust, grass pollen, strong perfume, smoke, extreme heat or cold, molds, strong odors.

Nevertheless, we got the money for the skin test, about 3,000 pesos, and had her get the test, and yes, you guessed it, the major allergy triggers were those I mentioned above — the same things we already knew.

I should put my daughter inside a balloon with air inside, or she should get extremely wealthy so she can create her own clean world. I always tell my daughter to do well, or marry well (joke), as household chores sometimes trigger her allergy. I’d ask her to wash the dishes, or sweep the floor, and minutes later, she’d be sneezing, winkling, sniffing, snuffing, whiffing, sniffling.

Perhaps this is the reason I’m working so hard, so I can leave some money for her to use when I’m gone.

These are just a few of the things I can say about pulmonologists, ENTs, pediatricians and allergologists in the Philippines. As I have said earlier, perhaps I just want to let out some of my burdens.

4 Comments

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  1. Hi,

    I also have allergic rhinitis for a long time and it recently had developed in to asthma. So, I know how you (and especially your daughter) feel. I’m also allergic to those culprits you mentioned: road dust, household dust, grass pollen, strong perfume, smoke, extreme heat or cold, molds, strong odors. It costs me a lot with meds, maintenance especially during Summer, and it affects my work and my life, in general. I visited an allergist few days back and she recommended to have the allergy shot.

    If you don’t mind sharing where you had the skin test? And for the allergy shots, how much, how often and for how long have your daughter had it? I would appreciate any response (or even an email). Thank you so much. 🙂

    1. Hi love, my daughter had asthma since about 4 years old, and when she seemed to get over asthma in her teen years (high school years), she developed allergic rhinitis. We had the skin test at Case Medica at SM Southmall, pediatrics allergologist Mary Anne Castor. If you’re planning to get immunology shots, I suggest you ask around for an allergist/immunologist.
      I did not push through with immunology because I read that this procedure takes about 2 years or more and the effect is not guaranteed. At saka dapat merong shot for every type of allergen. At meron ding side effect. Kris Aquino and her brother Pnoy have allergic rhinitis, and I’ve read that they’re using antihistamines to control the condition. I’d asked myself if they ever tried immunology shots.
      I’m constantly searching for natural ways to treat allergic rhinitis — my daughter prefers to suffer rather than take Virlix (also expensive). I work harder for her Virlix budget, but she says it isn’t effective anymore, and it makes her feel worse. Co-altria also worked for a while, but she refused to take it later on.
      She’s graduating this March, and so busy with school work. We will have time to experiment with natural treatments after. I’ve been researching on youtube.com. Just type allergic rhinitis natural treatment on youtube.com and see if you like to try those suggested treatments like ayurvedic. Some suggested natural treatments can also be dangerous to health, if overdone or overdosed, so take extra care in applying the suggested treatments.
      One thing she does is listen to music constantly. Sometimes it’s irritating talking with her because she always has these earphones on her ears but she says it diverts her attention from her sneezing, sniffling, and all other ings and makes these ings stop. And of course, I always pray for her, always asking the Lord to treat her finally, or if not yet, to give her the strength to overcome. You can too.

  2. Hi, my name is Grace and I’m 25 years old. I just want to share with you my experience with my allergies. When I was growing up I never had nor experienced allergies except when using fake jewelries. When I reached college and turned 19 that was the time I suffered with an allergy that I never knew what it caused and the reason it came out. It actually started from a single dot and started scratching it and later on a certain muscle movements or certain electric shook my body and I saw my entire body was filled with rushes and red tiny spot combining all together and in just 20 minutes my body is “namamaga” , I had a hard time breathing, I coughed so badly and my voice was fading and my speech was slurrdy. My head felt light my eyes were watery, itchy body, I can hear my heart palpitated so fast, my stomach felt painful and all of a sudden I just don’t feel my feet working anymore. I found myself in the hospital. It actually happened to me 3 times and everything happened when my body is at rest and resting.all of those allergic attack happened around 2 or 3 in the morning. The first attack happened at early 2007 the second and third was during 2008. The doctors just diagnosed me with allergies but without the specific one. They only gave me antihistamine to maintain and said to avoid certain foods, but as time goes by I was able to eat those prohibitted foods and live the normal way. Though I was not diagnosed with what I now know “ANAPHYLAXIS” or “ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK” because some of the doctors from the province do not know and haven’t encountered such thing. I made a thourough resaerch and had my questions answered. Now, everytime I felt something itchy and starts to palpitate I just rest and take some antihistamine medicine before night time so I can rest. Though it gives me a very drowsy effect but better take that having thosr attack again. Right now I’m still earning that money to get to an allergologist and have my test since through researching it would cost much of money.

    I hope your daughter won’t be feeling any of her allergies at all because we don’t have anybody to rely to but only our parents whou knew much more of us.

    Stay possitive always and keep praying it is the most powerful medication for all sort of illness.

    1. Hi Grace, thank you very much for sharing your experiences with allergy. This will help me and others. I’m glad that you researched thoroughly about your condition and that you’re very positive and prayerful about it. Indeed our God is the ultimate healer of all illnesses. Thanks a lot again

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