Like many people who suffer from seasonal allergies, Sheli Snyder and her 6-year-old son, Colten, are affected by both molds and ragweed. But you won’t be able to gauge how bad the fall allergy season is by the amount of tissue boxes the Snyder family goes through.
Under the direction of allergist Erik White at Akron Children’s, they no longer turn to daily allergy medications for relief. They get allergy shots instead.
“Both spring and fall can be rough for Colten and me,” said Sheli. “But the shots help us so much. I used to get sinus infections every month before I started seeing Dr. White. Now, I am surprised if I get more than one a year.”
Dr. White says allergy shots actually treat patients with the very things they are allergic to.
“As we introduce small amounts of the allergen, we are able to down regulate your immune system to not respond so your response is not as pronounced,” said Dr. White. “Over time in some patients, the shots can actually be curative.”
Wondering if you’re suffering from fall allergies?
Common fall allergy symptoms include runny or stuffy noses, frequent sneezing and watery, itchy eyes.
“If you are also experiencing a sore throat, fever or body aches, it probably isn’t caused by allergies,” Dr. White said. “You probably just have a cold. And a cold clears up in about a week, but allergies will typically last 3 or 4 weeks.”
Some families try to soldier on through their allergies, and Dr. White cautions that all that suffering isn’t necessary and can actually be harmful.
“Studies show you don’t function as well when you have allergy symptoms,” Dr. White said. “You don’t sleep as well and you feel tired from the inflammatory symptoms. We’ve also seen studies that show kids aren’t able to pay attention at school and their performance decreases.”
Sheli agrees allergy shots have made a world of difference for her and Colten.
“He sleeps so much better when he’s being treated, so therefore he does better in school,” said Sheli. “Dr. White offered to let our family physician handle the shots because we have to travel about 30 minutes to get to Akron Children’s Hospital from our home in Seville. But Colten wouldn’t hear of it. He loves the staff at Akron Children’s. They really do a terrific job of making him feel comfortable each time we come to get the injections.”
If you think you have fall allergies, talk to your doctor. If you’re considering the injections for treatment, you can call Akron Children’s allergy and immunology center directly at 330-543-0140.