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April 26, 2018

Treat your allergies now so your future self doesn’t suffer

Here you are again. Another allergy season with a stuffy nose and a sinus headache. You told yourself last year you weren’t going to put yourself through this again, yet here you are suffering from the same allergies that come back year after year.

It’s no secret that for many of us out there, we won’t address a problem until it becomes a BIG problem. Our service engine light could be on for months and we won’t get our car taken to the shop until it dies on the side of the road. Not addressing our allergies when we know allergy season is coming is a lot like not paying attention to that light.

Allergies generally become progressively worse over time with repeated exposure, and I oftentimes see so many patients that won’t come in for allergy testing until it has become debilitating.

When they do finally come in to see me, it’s like having the smoking car from the side of the road towed to a mechanic. A couple months ago, it was a simpler option to address, but now it’s more complicated and requires more steps. Each recurrent sinus infection you get can cause potential injury to the sinuses resulting in chronic facial pain, congestion, sinus drainage, and headaches. For these patients, we often recommend a sinus evaluation in addition to allergy testing to determine if minimally invasive procedures like the balloon sinuplasty could provide relief along with the allergy treatments.

Allergy testing requires you to not take antihistamines for 5 days prior

Let’s address the first thing that’s going to make you groan when you try to schedule an allergy test as soon as possible. For an allergy test to be accurate, you’re going to need be off any antihistamines for 5 days before your test. This is the standard for all allergy tests, so you’re not going to be able to find someone that will take you in the next day if you’re suffering.

Antihistamines suppress our body’s allergic symptoms and allergy tests rely on us finding which allergens are causing these symptoms through histamine production. If antihistamines are present, our test will not be able to determine what you are allergic to. So imagine being in a terrible state of allergies already and then having to go 5 days without any sort of help from your Benadryl – it’s not fun.

Immunotherapy takes time

The fact is that immunotherapy simply takes time for its effects to kick in. Most people will usually see signs of relief within the 3-9 month range, so if oak is kicking your butt right now it’s going to keep doing that until the pollen is out of the air. This is the number 1 reason we recommend people to come in BEFORE you start feeling awful. It gives a head start on the process and will build a tolerance to the allergen before the season begins. That being said, if cedar is your worst allergy like it is for so many people, right now is the perfect time to visit us. You’ll get around 6-7 months of immunotherapy treatment before cedar even thinks to start blooming, and your body will notice a difference.

Day to day life will be so much easier

You don’t know how many people come in telling us how their allergies are affecting their day to day life. From kids to adults, we all have things that are just so much easier to do when we’re breathing easy. We’ve had a good number of kids who came in to visit us because their parents were concerned about their work in school. When a kid is missing classes or having a hard time not focusing on how he or she can’t breathe, it can be hard for them to perform.

If you wait to address this problem, you’re just letting the allergies get worse and increasing the chances of them affecting your life.

You’ll finally understand what you’re allergic to

The great part about allergy testing is that it tells us exactly what your allergic to and how much it affects you. You may choose not to go through with immunotherapy, but the information you receive about your allergies is still extremely valuable. You could have mild allergies but have one major one that is causing the bulk of your issues.

If you always sleep with a feather pillow and then learn you’re allergic to feather, that could be a significant step in reducing your allergies. Knowing allergies and the seasons that affect you will give you a huge advantage in controlling your health and symptoms.

If there’s a lesson to learn to this blog it’s that you shouldn’t put off things that you know you can fix. You don’t want to be the person stuck in bed with terrible allergies as much as you don’t want to be the person kicking your smoking car on the side of the road.

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