Thomas A. Kiefer, MD

  • Board Certified Allergy, Immunology, and Pediatrics
  • Asst. Clinical Professor of Allergy, Immunology, and Pediatrics, The Ohio State University College of Medicine
  • Attending Physician, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Section of Allergy and Immunology

Dr. Kiefer is an experienced allergy physician serving Columbus and central Ohio communities. He is also a dedicated teacher, instructing resident physicians from the Nationwide Children's Hospital and Grant Family Practice residency programs.

We care for patients of all ages and are dedicated to providing expert and compassionate care for the diagnosis and treatment of allergic disorders including:
  • Allergic rhinitis (hayfever)
  • Asthma (wheezing)
  • Hives and Angioedema (swelling)
  • Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction)
  • Eczema and rashes
  • Sinus disease
  • Food and Drug allergy
  • Stinging insect allergy
  • Influenza (flu) vaccine and egg allergy
  • Immunodeficiency (recurrent infections)

Allergy Seasons: Winter

While many of us anticipate Winter for its festive holidays, the late Fall and Winter can be a very uncomfortable time of year for those with allergies and asthma. Allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing and wheezing may never seem to end and may even worsen. Although the active pollen season may be over, you may still be exposed to pollens. Live evergreens collect windborne pollens in their branches throughout the year, and bringing a live cut Chistmas tree inside may also bring those pollens along with it. Try hosing off the tree before bringing it inside. Other common Winter allergens include dust, molds and animal danders. Closing the home and starting the furnace will decrease indoor humidity and increase the dust. Your furnace filter should be changed frequently and humidity adjusted to about thirty five percent. If you see condensation on the inside of your windows, the humidity is probably too high. Indoor wood burning fireplaces should be well-vented and ashes cleaned to reduce fumes and soot. The worst offender is cigarette smoke. Smokers naturally spend more time indoors during the Winter. Smoking should not be allowed in the home or car, especially if there is an asthmatic child in the home. Molds are plant-like organisms that reproduce by releasing spores into the air. Molds thrive outdoors in decaying vegetation and indoors in dark damp areas. Eliminating unwanted sources of water in the home such as in damp basements will reduce mold exposure. Animals brought inside during cold weather will increase the amount of animal dander in your home. The animal should at least be kept out of the allergic person’s bedroom and groomed by someone else.
The holidays also present special problems for those with food allergies, especially nuts. Nuts can cause severe allergic reactions and are frequently found in holiday cakes and candies. Let your child’s teacher know of any nut allergies that your child has. If your doctor has prescribed an Epi-Pen, review its use.
If you suspect that you have allergies, a board- certified allergist can best help you. Allergy testing is simple and painless. An accurate diagnosis will often prevent any unnecessary home and lifestyle changes, including purchasing expensive devices such as special vacuums which may be medically unnecessary.
There are a number effective medications for the relief of your allergy symptoms. Non-drowsy antihistamines are available without a prescription. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you choose. Nasal sprays containing either an antihistamine or a corticosteroid are effective and safe to use. Eyedrops such as Natural Tears are very useful to relieve eye dryness. If symptom relief from allergen avoidance and medication is not satisfactory, immunotherapy (allergy shots) prescribed by an allergist can be very effective in reducing allergy symptoms. Simple, practical allergen avoidance, reducing cigarette smoke, and the proper medication can make your holidays healthy as well as happy.