This afternoon, I had my appointment with an allergist at Allergy and Asthma Care in Overland Park. For the past several years, I’ve noticed my seasonal allergies become worse, and after moving to KC last summer, it seems they took off and have been out of control.
After my last bout with a sinus infection and bronchitis, after the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon, I decided to call and see about visiting with an Allergist. I was seen today by Dr. Tran at Allergy and Asthma Care, and now I have some answers!
I started off with a Pulmonary Function Test, as she was concerned about my many bouts of bronchitis. Then I took an albuterol breathing treatment (if you’ve ever done that, by the way, WHOA boy, I was shaky afterwards!), and repeated the Pulmonary Function Test, and my scores increased across the board. Dr. Tran told me that because my scores increased so much after the breathing treatment, I have asthma, which is likely exacerbated by seasonal allergies.
So, I have asthma. Great.
Next, my back was pricked with many allergens, and I had to wait 15 minutes to see if my skin reacted. I developed welts on a few of the allergens, especially dust mites and a few grasses. After that, my arms were tested with a small shot of the allergens. The allergens they put into my arms went under the skin, rather than just on top of the skin, like on my back. I again had to wait 15 minutes, and watched welts develop in many of the areas.
All in all, I’m very allergic to dust mites, grass pollens, molds, weeds, and tree pollens. I’m also allergic to cat dander, and mildly allergic to dogs and ragweed.
Great. I’m allergic to all the things that grow, basically.
So what does this mean? Next week, I begin allergy shots, or immunotherapy, to build up my resistance to what I am allergic to. The doctor said I will have to have shots weekly (or twice a week) for 6-8 months, followed by a maintenance phase of shots every 2 weeks (or up to a month between shots) for up to 3-5 years. The idea being that my body will build up immunity to the allergens I am most allergic to, and my allergy symptoms will decrease, or in some cases, disappear. You can read up on allergen immunotherapy here.
My hope is that I will begin the shots and begin building up my tolerance for the allergies I have, and I will get fewer sinus infections and cases of bronchitis. I certainly feel the photo below is true, it really feels like I’ve barely done any running this spring, my colds have had me down.
When the appointment was finished, Dr. Tran gave me an antihistamine so the welts would subside, and now that it’s been a couple hours, I barely have any bumps left on my arms, and the welts no longer itch or sting. She also gave me an inhaler to use for my asthma and changed my allergy medications, so hopefully the new cocktail will lessen my symptoms for the remainder of the allergy season.
I read up on some of the information Dr. Tran sent home with me, and one of the tips for dealing with cat dander allergies is to bathe the cat every 2 weeks. BWAHAHHA, if you could only imagine. I will just try to start brushing him again, there is NO way he will be subjected to a bath.
All in all, I’m pleased at how the appointment went. I did not expect to be diagnosed with asthma, but was kind of figuring I would be allergic to a lot of things. Mom is currently receiving allergy shots, and dad did when he was a child, and I know allergies are at least somewhat hereditary. I am not really looking forward to getting shots every week, but I know how well immunotherapy works, I’ve heard many success stories from friends and family. If it helps my allergies be less annoying and helps me not to succumb to bronchitis and sinus infections as much, I’m happy to try!