“New year, new me.” That phrase gets tossed around frequently this time of the year as people start making their new year’s resolutions. For many people, being healthier usually includes a focus on exercising and eating right, but what about the other aspects of health? Allergies and asthma are often forgotten in winter, yet there is no better time than now to plan an attack on upcoming springtime allergies.
In a few short months, springtime tree pollen will be everywhere and you’re sure to take notice. Do symptoms like sinus congestion, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes sound familiar? These are some of the most common tell-tale signs that allergy season is ramping up. Tree pollens bloom in early spring, followed by summertime grass pollens, and weed pollens in the fall.
So, if you’re tired of the miserable symptoms that come with seasonal allergies, the time to prepare is now! This year, you’ll want to get outside and enjoy beautiful budding trees, warm sunshine, and colorful falling leaves.
ALLERGY TESTING AND TREATMENT
Beginning your allergy treatment plan early is the key to avoiding discomfort later in the year. Taking over-the-counter or prescription medications like nasal sprays or antihistamines a few weeks before pollen season can help your body prepare and block reactions before you experience symptoms.
If you are looking for a more long-term solution to your allergy symptoms, consider allergy shots. Also known as immunotherapy, regular allergy shots allow your body to build up a tolerance to the allergens that trigger reactions. Each new patient begins this process with a round of skin testing before any treatment can begin. Before beginning immunotherapy, Family Allergy and Asthma physicians review your skin test results and patient history. They then will determine which allergens are most bothersome for you and create a personalized immunotherapy treatment plan.
Allergy shots are administered in two phases. The first phase acts to build up your allergen tolerance. One tolerance is established, shots continue as maintenance. Many of our Family Allergy and Asthma offices offer three different allergy shot schedules – traditional, cluster, and rush. Our goal is helping all immunotherapy patients reach the maintenance phase. The timeline of these schedules ranges anywhere from 6 months to a few weeks for reaching the phase when symptoms become manageable.
When you start early and begin a treatment plan in winter, you’re likely to notice an improvement in irritating allergy symptoms when pollen peaks this spring. Allergy shots are nearly 90 percent effective at reducing symptoms within the first year, and patients who receive immunotherapy are less likely to develop asthma.
If you have any concerns about a possible asthma diagnosis or your treatment plan, address the issue right away. Asthma is a serious and chronic lung disease that can be life-threatening, especially when uncontrolled. This time of the year, a few common things that can trigger an asthma attack or flare-up include:
- Extreme weather conditions (below freezing temperatures)
- Exposure to airborne allergens (dust mites, mold, pet dander)
- The common cold
Before getting their asthma under control, many of our patients experience coughing, trouble breathing, a tight feeling in their chest, or wheezing. Our team of allergists can help diagnose and treat asthma through preventative maintenance medication, oral medication, and more.
As you consider your 2022 new year’s wellness resolutions, be sure to think beyond gym sessions, weight loss strategies, and better nutrition. You deserve to get your seasonal allergy symptoms under control so you can get outside this spring! Your body will thank you come pollen season. Reach out to us soon and schedule your appointment with one of our board-certified allergists to begin the allergy testing and immunotherapy testing process. Put your health first this year!