If you experience a runny nose, post-nasal drip, nasal congestion, sneezing, watery or puffy eyes, redness of the eyes, itchy eyes, ears, or nose, sore throat, sinus pressure or pain, decreased sense of taste and smell, fatigue, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and/or coughing and cannot manage to feel at ease, you may be suffering from allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic conjunctivitis (eye allergies), and/or asthma. Allergies can affect your ability to feel healthy and comfortable as you go through your day to day life, and may adversely affect other aspects of your health like your ability to sleep peacefully throughout the night.
Individuals with allergic rhinitis can develop complications which may lead to sinus infections (i.e., acute sinusitis, chronic sinusitis, recurrent sinusitis), nasal polyps, ear infections (otitis media), learning impairment, decreased hearing, sleep loss, sleep apnea, and/or a decreased quality of life. Asthmatics may also experience complications if their allergies get out of control which can lead to serious asthma exacerbations which may require a trip to the emergency room or a hospital admission. In addition, there are complications of many of the medications used to treat allergic rhinitis. Many antihistamines are cause drowsiness which can affect one’s ability to drive, fly a plane, or operate heavy machinery. The nasal steroid sprays can cause a perforation in the septum of one’s nose as well as cause nasal bleeding and fungal infections in the nose.
Patients who have a short duration of allergy symptoms or who have mild symptoms are usually managed quite well without the need for allergy injections. There are a number of preventive and avoidance measures that one can utilize in order to minimize their allergy symptoms. These measures are always discussed in detail with patients at Black & Kletz Allergy in the Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland metropolitan area. There are also many allergy medications that can be obtained over-the-counter or by prescription from our allergists. When avoidance measures and medications are not enough to make the patient comfortable and the patient’s symptoms are multi-seasonal or perennial in nature, allergy shots are generally recommended assuming one’s history and physical examination warrant such a course of treatment. In addition, one must have positive skin or blood tests to the offending allergen(s) that are consistent with the allergy history gathered from the patient by the allergist.
Allergy shots (i.e., allergy immunotherapy, allergy injections, allergy desensitization) are a method of treatment that helps prevent allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic conjunctivitis (eye allergies), and asthma. They have been around for over a century and have been proven to be effective in 80-85% of patients taking the shots. They usually take about 4-6 months to become effective, and are necessary to take throughout the year, so they are effective whenever you come in contact with the offending allergen(s). Keep in mind that while many people only experience allergy symptoms seasonally to the pollens, many other allergy patients have year-round symptoms as they may be allergic to molds, dust mites, dogs, cats, and/or cockroaches which are always present. In either case, allergy injections need to be taken year-round in order to be effective. The frequency of the allergy shots, however, may vary from person to person. They may be taken anywhere from 72 hours to 4 weeks, depending on each patient’s severity of allergy symptoms. An example of this is a patient who has mostly Spring allergies. In this case, that person may get their allergy injections every 4 weeks from the Summer through the Winter and then increase the frequency to every 1 or 2 weeks in the Spring. Allergy shots can be given to small children and adults of any age. The average length of time on allergy shots vary, but usually range from 3-5 years. Women who become pregnant on allergy shots can stay on allergy shots, as long as it is approved by their Ob/Gyn physician. Allergy shots are not only very effective, but they get more to the root of the problem. They help prevent allergy symptoms and their complications, as well as provide a better overall quality of life.
The board certified allergists at Black & Kletz Allergy treat both children and adults and have been doing so for more than 5 decades in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. We have 3 convenient locations, all with on-site parking. Our offices are located in Washington, DC, McLean, VA (Tyson’s Corner, VA), and Manassas, VA. The Washington, DC and McLean, VA offices are Metro accessible with a free shuttle between the McLean office and the Spring Hill metro station on the silver line. If you have allergies or asthma, please call us for an appointment or you can click Request an Appointment and we will respond within 24 hours on the next business day.