Living With Allergies
Allergies: Not Just for Summer Anymore
By Kevin Wilson
Nearly 50 million people battle allergies of some kind, including pollen, animal and food allergies. And when summer is over, it doesn’t mean allergy season is behind us. Some of us suffer from allergies triggered by our everyday surroundings all year round.
As seasons change, we can find ourselves spending more time indoors and we expose ourselves to a host of irritants that don’t go away.
What some may think is a seasonal cold might be allergies set off by dust mites, insects, mold or dander from pets, such as cats or dogs. When we are indoors fighting “cabin fever” we are also fighting allergens that can range from mild to severe, depending on our tolerance.
To date, nasal steroids and antihistamines are the typical course for minor allergies. Those with more serious allergies are candidates for allergy shots, or immunotherapy.
Shots have been used successfully for many years and have proven to be the most effective long- term solution for people suffering from allergies.
Allergy shots may be a good treatment choice for you if:
- You are unable to avoid the things that cause your allergic reactions, and allergy medications don’t control your symptoms
- Allergy medications cause bothersome side effects or interactions with othermedications you need to take
- You wish to reduce your long- term use of allergy medication
- You are allergic to insect stings
Even though immunotherapy has been proven to be extremely effective, allergy symptoms don’t disappear overnight. Patients usually improve during the first year of treatment, but more noticeable improvement comes during the second year. By the third year, most people are desensitized to the allergens contained in the shots and no longer have significant allergic reactions to those substances.
After a few years of successful treatment, some people don’t have significant allergy problems even after allergy shots are stopped. Other people need ongoing shots to keep symptoms under control.
Immunotherapy is currently one of the most effective FDA-approved methods of getting those problematic allergies under control, but there is good news on the horizon for those who find shot therapy an inconvenience.
An investigational approach to shot therapy is being symptoms triggered by:
- Seasonal allergies. If you have seasonal allergic asthma or hay fever symptoms, you may be allergic to pollens released by trees, grasses or
- Indoor If you have year-round symptoms, you may be sensitive to indoor allergens, such as dust mites, cockroaches, mold or dander from pets, such as cats or dogs.
- Insect stings. Bees, wasps, hornets or yellow jackets can trigger allergic reactions to insect
Whether you have a cold or an allergy, it just makes sense to visit your local allergist. Start living your life free of sneezing, sniffling, watery eyes, aches and pains—and more.