Intermountain Health Experts Say There is Help for Those with Seasonal Allergies

Sunday, June 16, 2024 at 3:21pm UTC

Pollen, dust, or dander can all lead to allergy symptoms, but Intermountain Health allergists say there are options to help alleviate discomfort or even treat causes.

(PRUnderground) June 16th, 2024

Runny noses and itchy eyes are here. With warmer weather come seasonal allergies, which affect as many as one in four people. You just might be one of them.

Many people find relief during the cold winter, but spring brings symptoms back full force. Although everyone experiences seasonal allergies—also called “hay fever”—differently, symptoms typically include:

  • Itchy nose, throat, eyes, sinuses, or ear canals
  • Runny or congested nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Under eye circles
  • Headache
  • Wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath

But what is it about the spring that causes seasonal allergies? The most common culprit is plant pollen. It’s nearly invisible to the eye, but these small particles can cause major problems.

“In people with allergies, the body’s immune system has produced antibodies which tell allergy cells to release chemicals, including histamine. This histamine can trigger things like a runny nose or itchy eyes and you may experience more allergy symptoms on windy days when pollen counts are high,” said Dr. Ed Kemp, an ear, nose, and throat physician with Intermountain Sevier Valley Specialty Clinic.

Dealing with seasonal allergies can be a miserable experience. Thankfully, there are some things individuals can do to prevent and ease symptoms, like staying indoors when pollen counts are high or using antihistamine medications or nasal sprays.

“It’s a good idea to discuss your seasonal allergies with a doctor,” said Dr. Kemp. “They can recommend over-the-counter and prescription medications that will help you feel better.”

These medications provide relief for many. They’re not enough for some, though. If symptoms are severe, or if antihistamines and nasal sprays have lost potency or are an inconvenience, Dr. Kemp recommends allergy testing and immunotherapy.

“If allergy medications like Claritin, or even the nose sprays like Flonase or Astelin or Astepro, aren’t holding for you, if they’re not doing the trick, or if you’re just tired of taking them and you want something more permanent, it’s time to discuss a targeted approach like immunotherapy.”

Allergists and ear, nose, throat physicians like Dr. Kemp, are uniquely certified to treat allergies and can prescribe treatment beyond over-the-counter meds, like immunotherapy. The treatment targets specific allergens in each patient, and it’s commonly called allergy shots or drops. This treatment is a long lasting and convenient way to handle seasonal allergies when over-the-counter remedies don’t do the trick.

Dr. Kemp starts his allergy immunotherapy patients with a blood test or skin-prick test to identify the patient’s specific allergen triggers. Then, a personalized medication can be prescribed and taken daily as oral drops or administered in shots.

Brent Schmidt, Intermountain Sevier Valley Hospital president, sought treatment for his seasonal allergies and has had a positive experience.

“I always look forward to spring because we’re getting out of winter, and it’s just that time of year. But secretly I also dread it because I know allergy season is coming. I’m usually on all sorts of different medications, but I have not had to take anything since starting this treatment. This has been a game-changer for me in terms of being able to really enjoy this time of year,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt has been taking the oral drops for over a year, which is about the halfway point for immunotherapy treatment. Amazingly, a person taking the medication for just three-to-five years can expect around 20 further years of benefit according to Dr. Kemp.

“Essentially, your immune system is hyperactive in response to certain allergens, and we’re creating an environment where your immune system no longer hyper-focuses on those allergens or creates an immune response,” said Dr. Kemp.

This treatment has been life-changing for many. Dr. Kemp noted patients, who he calls “graduates of the program,” have experienced overwhelming success. He also added that many health insurers cover allergy immunotherapy, so cost is not an issue.

For those struggling with food allergies, like a peanut allergy, this treatment is also an option and can improve quality of life.

If pollen allergy symptoms or food allergies are making it difficult for someone to work or go about normal activities, or if over the counter medication is not working well, patients may want to discuss allergy shots or drops with their doctor.

About Intermountain Health

Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Health is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see

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