By: Manujendra (Manu) Ray, MD, PhD
Spring marks the return of runny noses and itchy eyes that leaves many people running to the drugstore for relief from their seasonal allergies. Others, however, have become so accustomed to the symptoms and they accept them as a part of life, which could lead to health issues, says Colorado Allergy & Asthma Centers’ own Manujendra Ray, MD.
“When it comes to severe nasal allergies, we have to worry about what the long-term effects may be on quality of sleep and disease processes like obstructive sleep apnea,” Ray says.
Effective diagnosis and treatment can put an end to the suffering. For most people, skin and blood tests can help zero in on the culprit (or culprits). But sometimes it can be trickier.
“We may have individuals with significant symptoms — sneezing, itching, watery eyes in the spring — but their skin and blood tests come back negative,” Ray says. A new test method could help solve the puzzle for these patients who are thought to local allergy syndrome or entopy.
“We take an allergen extract, such as tree pollen extract, and we spray it into the nose and look for reactions,” Ray says. For some patients, that reaction makes it clear what’s causing their symptoms, making a course of treatment clear as well.
If you are experiencing early season allergy symptoms, make sure to get in to see your allergist as soon as possible in order to get on top of a treatment plan that best suits you and your lifestyle. Contact us today!
Injection vs. Drops
Injectable immunotherapy (allergy shots): Injections that expose patients to extracts of allergens in a slow, graded fashion over time. Can take three to five years, but often results in years of benefit.
Sublingual version (allergy drops): Delivers allergen exposure via oral drops that can be taken at home after an initial clinic visit. Only effective with some allergens and symptom relief may not last if treatment is stopped. Not FDA approved.