Allergies and immunotherapy.
Ah, the end of spring. Temperatures are warming up, flowers are blooming and pollen is...everywhere. How delightful. Now, in recent years, I would have punctuated that last sentence with a sneeze. But all that changed in the last six months. And I'll tell you why.
First, some background. I've had allergies my entire life. As a wee one, this meant cats and sulfa drugs, both of which are easy enough to avoid. As a teenager, feather pillows and down would bother me but again, not exactly everyday items. And then college, where chaos ensued. Grass, trees, mold, dust mites - you name it and I sniffled. In my twenties, a test showed I had developed an allergy to my pet rat some two years after I got him.
As is so often the case, things got worse before they got better and by last fall, I was barely functioning. A visit to my doctor confirmed that I was still allergic to the usual suspects but some new problems had surfaced. Namely, I was now allergic to my dogs. (And eggs for that matter). Knowing full well that I had no intention of giving up my dogs, I asked my doctor for a solution.
She recommended I try out sublingual immunotherapy. Translation: custom drops designed to break my specific allergies. Six months of drops as a tradeoff for non-stop sniffling and sneezing? Sold and sold, provided my health insurance would cover the cost of the drops. If not, it looks like this can cost around $2500. Yikes.
Luckily, my insurance picked up the bill and a few weeks later I stopped by the pharmacy for my order. Inside the bag were several individually packaged droppers with instructions. Overall, I received a six month supply of drops in six different bottles. Month 1 included trace amounts of the allergens and started with one drop a day under the tongue. By the end of the month, I was taking two drops twice a day.
I'll be honest - the first month was awful. I looked terrible and didn't feel much better. However, things started to progress and now a month after finishing the regimen, I think its safe to say it worked. My eyes and sinuses are clear and I can count the number of times I've taken allergy medicine on one hand. So is immunotherapy right for you? You'll have to ask your doctor but I definitely recommend exploring the option.