As 2016 comes to an end, it is time to look forward to the New Year and all the excitement and opportunities it will bring. Allergies often get overlooked until symptoms worsen but beginning allergy treatment this year is a New Year’s resolution you can definitely keep! Given the long-term benefits to your body and to your happiness, here are four main reasons why you should make allergy treatment a priority in 2017.
Houston Climate Makes Allergies a Year-Round Issue
It has been estimated that 70% of Houstonians suffer from allergies. However, on a national scale, allergies affect roughly 30% of adults and 40% of children. As you can see, Houstonians are hit by allergies at a significantly higher percentage! Houston has a humid subtropical climate and, as such, the temperature here is often much warmer than most parts of the country. This environment is ideal for allergens like pollen, ragweed, mold, oak, cedar, and more. Some of the most common results of these allergens include nasal congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, itchiness, post-nasal drip, and sinus pressure.
What does this mean for allergy sufferers? Pollen levels fall substantially during cold weather, but since Houston has a temperate climate, high levels of pollen can extend throughout a majority of the year. Rather than a mere annoyance, your allergies may become a daily problem that negatively impacts your day-to-day. Chronic sinusitis is a recurrent condition that may be caused by allergies. Symptoms include facial pain or pressure, nasal congestion, headaches, post nasal drip, loss of smell, and bad breath. You may also experience a compounding effect where a symptom like nasal congestion leads to difficulty sleeping, ultimately resulting in daytime tiredness and fatigue. These issues are all interconnected, but since you’re experiencing several problems at once, you may not realize that allergies are the underlying theme.
Medication Only Provides Temporary Relief
If you woke up every morning with a headache, would you continue to take aspirin and not see a doctor? If you have recurrent headaches, aspirin does not address the underlying cause. Similarly, taking allergy medication only provides temporary relief and does not address the root cause of the problem. Common side effects of allergy medicine include drowsiness and dry mouth. There are also rare side effects such as blurred vision, chronic trouble sleeping, and seizures. Studies have shown that people believe their allergy medication gets less effective over time. Our Center recommends taking control of your allergies by identifying what triggers your allergies and then using modern, scientifically proven methods to reduce your recurrent symptoms. Our program is designed so you can take your allergy shots in the convenience of your own home. If you don’t like shots, allergy drops are an equally effective alternative. After you are trained on how to administer your immunotherapy treatment, you will only have to visit our office once every three months for a higher concentration of serum.
Avoidance May Be Impractical
For some allergies, there are often steps you can take to limit your exposure. For instance, if you know you’re allergic to dust mites, purchasing dust mite resistant bed sheets and pillows may help. However, many allergens, including pollen and dust, are difficult, if not impossible, to avoid. If you work outside, you are exposed to pollen day in and day out. Even if you work indoors, you are still exposed to pollen as you walk to and from your car both at home and at work. This applies to pet owners too! It could be your pet’s dander that is making you sneeze, but you wouldn’t want to get rid of your furry friend, right?
Avoidance may also impact your ability to pursue your hobbies or interests. You may enjoy a variety of activities that take place outside, whether it’s running, playing sports, attending a live concert, sitting out on the patio at your favorite bar/restaurant, etc. When it’s warm and sunny, you want to be outside. This is often the case in Houston, putting you in a tough spot. Do you sit at home and miss out on fun activities or do you expose yourself to the elements and suffer the consequences? With allergy treatment, you don’t have to choose.
Long-Term Relief Doesn’t Have to Be a Long-Term Commitment
Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots or sublingual drops, is one of the only scientifically proven methods to control allergies for the long-term. The goal of immunotherapy is to allow you to be exposed to your allergic triggers (i.e. pollen, dust, etc.), without producing allergic symptoms. Immunotherapy works by reducing your sensitivity to whatever triggers your allergies by building up your immunity. By slowly introducing small amounts of that allergen into your body it allows your immune system to “get used to” the exposure and build up a tolerance. With our office, immunotherapy is easy and convenient. We encourage home immunotherapy by teaching you how to handle your shots safely and effectively. After that, it’s only necessary to visit our office every three months for your serum.
As you ring in the New Year, keep your allergies in mind. Imagine how nice it would be to go through an entire year without recurrent allergy symptoms! If you would like to learn more about our approach to treating your allergies, make an appointment with us today. Happy New Year!