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Best Allergist 

Bruce Finkel, MD

Watery eyes? Runny nose? Uncontrollable grumpiness? Dr. Finkel can help.

The Columbia, SC native has been helping Savannah manage its allergies for over two decades at Coastal Allergy & Asthma, the practice he co-founded with Dr. Brad Goodman in 1999. The good doctor keeps busy all year round with your nasal miseries, caused by the sticky yellow pollen falling from all that gorgeous foliage for which our city is so famous.

“Our tree season typically lasts from February to the end of April, while our grass season starts in mid-April and persists through July,” explains Dr. Finkel, adding that weed season starts in August and persists until the first freeze, with a hearty mold season in between.

“As such, people with seasonal triggers can actually have symptoms in our area for approximately ten months out of the year.”

That doesn’t even take into account perennial allergens like pet dander, dust mites and difficult relatives (OK, we made the last one up.) The allergy and clinical immunological expert says most of the patients he sees are there for chronic rhinitis (the inflammation of the mucus membranes that cause us to always tuck tissues in our pockets), but he also sees a fair amount of asthma, pruritic skin rashes, atopic dermatitis, recurrent infections and symptoms caused by congenital immune deficiencies.

Dr. Finkel says that avoidance is the most important therapeutic intervention for allergies. But since giving the cat away or going grocery shopping in a bubble isn’t always possible, he advises keeping windows and doors closed and AC units clean, washing sheets regularly in hot water and placing allergen-proof casings over pillows and mattresses.

He also often recommends over-the-counter nasal corticosteroids, such as Flonase and Rhinocort, and antihistamines like Allegra and Claritin, but says the generics work just as well.

Dr. Finkel spent his fellowship at Duke University and once considered a career in the laboratory. But there the allergens are relegated to petri dishes, and he realized he’d rather see what they do in real life.

“I’d always wanted to be an immunologist and I thought I’d be an academician,” he recalls. “Then I began doing research and decided I like taking care of patients better.”

Thank goodness for that, since we sure do need his services around here. But Savanah’s Best Allergist humbly insists that CAA’s other practitioners, nurses and administrators must share in this win.

“The provider in a practice is only one small part of the overall ability to provide care for our patients,” says Dr. Finkel.

“We are fortunate to have an excellent, knowledgeable and accomplished staff that enables us to effectively care for patients.”

—Jessica Leigh Lebos

Runner up: Dr. Brad Goodman

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