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Allergies no longer control woman's life
|Allergy sufferer Lana Bergmann no
longer sees the world through itchy,
red, watery eyes. Gone are the persistent
headaches, congestion and fatigue.
This “night-and-day difference,” as she describes it, came thanks to treatment provided by Dr. James Larson, Sanford Health allergist.
Initially, Bergmann tried to manage her allergy symptoms with over-the-counter medications and later progressed to prescription medications. Neither option provided the comfort she desired.
“I wasn’t getting enough relief and was miserable so much of the time,” she said. “My only other option was the allergy shots.”Allergic to trees, grass, weeds, dust mites, cats and mold, she experienced symptoms year round. After she and her family moved
Lana Bergmann used to suffer allergy symptoms year round, but she found relief from an allergy-shot regimen and now can spend time outside without worrying about the
Dr. James Larson
|Bergmann fits the typical profile of
patients who choose allergy shots.
“Inability to control symptoms with
medications or the inability to control
exposure to the allergen is the primary
reason people choose the allergy-shot
program,” Dr. Larson said. “Other factors
include the severity of symptoms, the length
of the allergy season and desire to avoid
long-term medication use
For those spending up to $100 in medications each month, the allergy-shot program is comparable in price, running between $1,000 and $1,500 per year for the cost of the extract.Patients taking allergy shots experience a significant improvement within six weeks to three months and can anticipate an 85-percent improvement of
“Many people are drawn to an allergy-shot program because they can achieve a permanent modification of the allergy problem,” Dr. Larson said. “That’s significant, because in three to five years, I can probably eliminate a problem that would have lasted 30 or 40 years.”
Allergy shots work by decreasing sensitivity to allergens, substances that trigger allergies. After skin testing to confirm the patient’s allergens, increasing amounts of the allergen are injected over a period of three to five years.
There is an initial time commitment for those considering allergy shots. Patients begin with weekly shots. Once the maximum dosage is reached, the time between shots is extended to two to four weeks. During the allergy season, they are seen every two weeks and then monthly during the winter months. After each shot, patients must stay in the office for at least 20 minutes to make certain there isn’t a reaction.
“Dr. Larson has been phenomenal,” Bergmann said. “He asked me about my lifestyle to determine how it affects my allergies. He isn’t just treating your allergies—he’s treating you. That’s really important.”
Bergmann now is enjoying everyday activities without the influence of allergy symptoms.
“I don’t let outdoor allergens affect whether I spend time outside,” she said. “Allergies tend to make you extremely tired and grumpy. I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my mood and energy level.”
She recommends the allergy-shot program and has no second thoughts about the time commitment.
“It can be time-consuming and challenging to make the appointments each week, but in the long run, the effects of reducing your symptoms are well worth it,” she said. “My allergies no longer are in control.”
Click here for more information on Sanford Health allergy services.