Environmental Allergies

In the U.S., 20% of adults and nearly 40% of children are affected by environmental allergies, also known as hay fever.

Symptoms include:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Stuffy, runny nose and sneezing
  • Wheezing and coughing

There are five main environmental allergies:

These pesky culprits account for approximately 1.5 million school days missed annually and 28 million days of lost productivity for adults.

Globally, there has been a 100% increase in the incidence of “hay fever” or allergic rhinitis in each of the last three decades in developed countries.1

Many people with mild to severe environmental allergies prefer allergy drops rather than trying to avoid their allergies or take over-the-counter medication as a temporary fix. Allergies impact quality of life, and treating the underlying allergy improves symptoms, reduces the likelihood of new sensitivities developing, and can reduce the need for symptom-controlling medications. Immunotherapy, whether allergy shots or allergy drops, is the only treatment that actually modifies the allergic disease.

At Allergy Associates of La Crosse, we help you identify your environmental allergies through a detailed history, exam and one or more of our testing options. Once we have a complete allergy inventory and understand your allergic fingerprint, we will prescribe custom allergy drops. You may temporarily need symptom-relieving medications until your drops are able to help you build tolerance.

Some patients respond to sublingual immunotherapy treatment slowly and some respond quickly. As you might expect, it depends on the patient’s condition, how well they follow treatment, the allergies’ severity and how much allergen the patient is exposed to. The average treatment for environmental allergies is three to five years.

1. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

Did you know?

In the U.S., 54.3% of the population tests positive for one or more allergen. This has not always been the case. The rate of allergies has climbed substantially in recent decades and the results are heavily weighing on cases of allergic asthma. According to the Center for Disease Control’s study, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 56.3% of asthma cases are caused by having one or more allergy. Asthma affected 6.8 million in 1980, 13.7 million in 1994 and now 25 million (ACAAI).

Some of the most gratifying sublingual immunotherapy studies are those which have shown a decrease in asthma development in children. In one study (Novembre) the effect was a nearly four-fold decrease in the development of asthma in patients who were given sublingual immunotherapy versus control subjects. In another study (Di Rienzo) patients with asthma who improved on sublingual immunotherapy were still improved five years after therapy ended. In the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology September 2008, Marogna et al. published a study comparing sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) vs medications only. New allergic sensitizations occurred in 34.8% of controls, and in only 3.1% of SLIT patients. After three years, 45% of the control group had developed intermittent or persistent asthma. 13% of SLIT patients developed asthma. These studies show the benefits of treating the underlying allergy and encourage the use of sublingual immunotherapy in more patients with allergies and asthma.

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