Back to School is the time to get tested before Fall Allergy Season begins

As Americans return to work and school from summer vacation, the fall allergy season will begin to impact many of the nearly 50 million allergy sufferers across the country. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Americans lost more than 6 million work and school days in 2018, costing about $18 billion. While this is a busy time for many, we recommend that those suffering take control of their allergy symptoms by getting tested before symptoms are present.

A key step in understanding what triggers your symptoms is with an allergy test. Through a series of gentle skin pricks, a patient’s skin is exposed to geographically specific seasonal and perennial allergens plus common indoor allergy triggers. Evaluation of the skin’s reaction identifies the allergens to target for each individual.

“For almost any medical condition, early detection often yields the best results. Allergies should be treated no differently,” said Dr. Frederick M. Schaffer, chief medical officer of United Allergy Services. “As allergy sufferers know, a rise in allergy symptoms typically coincides with an increase in medication use. Because the presence of antihistamines can impact the accuracy of test results, we try to encourage people to get tested before their allergy triggers are in the air.”

While allergic triggers vary between regions and patients, the most common cause this time of year is ragweed, a common allergen that can travel for hundreds of miles and has a pollination season that continues to lengthen.

Once test results are analyzed, a patient has several options for treatment. The most effective option is immunotherapy, with up to 85% seeing improvement through the course of treatment. Through treatments like ours, patients can undergo immunotherapy at home while under the care of a general practitioner, taking control of their allergies and working towards long-term relief from their symptoms. While we recommend at least three years of treatment for patients to experience long-term results, many experience some symptom relief after the first 12 months, which could be good news for when fall allergy season comes around next year.

 

Sources:

CDC, Gateway to Health Communication and Social Marketing Practice, Allergies, 2018
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Fall Allergy Capitals report, 2018
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Climate Change Indicators: Ragweed Pollen Season, 2016
“Allergen-specific immunotherapy provides immediate, long-term and preventive clinical effects in children and adults,” Jacobsen et al. Clinical and Translational Allergy, 2012