Runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, and scratchy throats. These hallmark symptoms of allergies are a bane to many people's existence. Whether your reactions are seasonal or caused by something more consistently present in your life, there's no need to suffer from the symptoms endlessly.
by Featured Provider Jennifer Petts on Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Understanding Your Allergies
The first step toward more consistent or even permanent relief from your allergies is understanding the underlying cause. Even with seasonal allergies, there is often a specific type of pollen or dust that triggers the reaction. Pinpointing the cause is the key to unlocking your treatment options.
“Allergies are almost always completely treatable, but we get a lot of patients who are nervous about the testing process. But really, testing has come such a long way over the years, it’s not that scary anymore, and the information we can discern from skin testing is important,” Dr. Petts said.
Testing for allergies provides a better understanding of what exactly you’re allergic to and how severe your allergic reaction is. These two things will provide the best foundation for your treatment.
Allergy Treatments to Ease Symptoms
As with all treatments at The Iowa Clinic, Dr. Petts and her fellow specialists utilize evidence-based medicine to treat patient allergies. For patients seeking relief, there are many treatment options available.
Over the counter medicines work just fine, and if they are managing your symptoms well, Dr. Petts notes that there isn’t anything wrong with continuing to treat them in that way. However, she also implores people to understand the full spectrum of options they may have.
“For some people, it’s not just about symptom management - they want that allergy gone. They don’t want to have to worry about it anymore, and we have treatment options that make that possible,” Dr. Petts said.
Allergy drops, while not a new treatment method, have recently gained more popularity because of their ease of use.
Whatever method of treatment you opt for, Dr. Petts notes that there is no reason to live with intense allergy symptoms if you are willing to discuss those symptoms with your care providers.
Can Allergies Be Cured?
One of the most popular questions surrounding allergies is whether they can be cured. There seems to be a persistent idea that allergies are something you’re stuck with for life, but Dr. Petts notes that this is not always the case.
“The thing with allergy shots is that they offer long term relief. With the right treatment plan, you can cure the allergy in 3-5 years,” Dr. Petts said.
Allergy shots are administered in a phased approach. During the initial build-up of the treatment, patients receive shots weekly. Once they move into the maintenance phase, they receive shots every four weeks. All shots must take place in the clinic as they must monitor for any serious reactions within the first 30 minutes after the shot is administered. While lifetime remission of your allergies is not guaranteed, patients see great success with allergy shots and are often symptom-free for decades after the initial 3–5-year treatment period is complete.
Coordinated Care for Your Allergy Treatment
Allergies are a common part of life for so many people, but Dr. Petts notes that it’s not necessary to grin and bear it through symptoms. “If it’s hardly interfering with your day, it makes sense to go an easier route to treat your symptoms, but if your allergies are interrupting your sleep or making daily tasks difficult, make sure to talk to your primary care physician about it,” she said.
At The Iowa Clinic, your entire care team will work together to coordinate care across departments. With allergen testing and treatment, this coordinated care model provides the benefit of quick turnaround times and transparent communication about your health history and any previous reactions that may be in your records. If you’re tired of battling your allergy symptoms, call to schedule an appointment today.