Allergy shots effective for baby boomers suffering from seasonal allergies

In recent years we have seen an increase in the number of people suffering from allergies, including baby boomers, as a result of numerous factors, including climate changes. Because older people often have other chronic diseases, diagnosis and management of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) can be a challenge. A new study shows immunotherapy (allergy shots or drops) reduced symptoms by 55 percent after three years of therapy, and decreased the amount of medication needed for relief of symptoms by 64 percent. Although highly effective for most patients, the decision to start treatment with immunotherapy should take into consideration the symptoms you experience, other medical conditions and medications that are taken for these conditions.

The study, in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), randomly sorted 60 hay fever sufferers, aged 65 to 75 years, into two groups. The first group received allergy shots for three years, and the second group received a placebo.

"Older people who suffer from hay fever may have health challenges that younger people do not," said allergist Ira Finegold, MD, ACAAI past president. "Hay fever is often ignored in older patients as a less significant health problem because of diseases such as asthma, coronary heart disease, depression and high blood pressure. Also, some baby boomers might not realize they have allergies, and their physicians might not suggest allergy shots. The research indicated that allergy shots were extremely effective for this group."

Although the guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of allergic diseases rarely focus on older patients, according to this study, hay fever is quite common in patients over 65 years of age. "It's important that allergy treatment methods commonly used in young people are also investigated for use in older patients," said allergist Gailen Marshall, MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. "More and more allergists are expanding the age limit for allergy shots as the baby boomer generation enters their senior years. Although there are no doubts about the effectiveness of allergy shots for both adults and children, there hasn't been much research until now in older patients."

The study authors state the results of the study indicate an aging immune system doesn't significantly influence the effectiveness of immunotherapy.

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms such as nasal or sinus congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip, sneezing, or stuffy nose, puffy itchy eyes, eye redness, or watery eyes, schedule an appointment to undergo appropriate allergy skin testing to get a definitive diagnosis, understand the cause of your symptoms, and to discuss options, including immunotherapy, to control and reduce your symptoms and help you feel better.

CHANGE IN ALLERGY SHOT OFFICE HOURS

Beginning March 7, 2016, we will be open for allergy shots on Wednesdays and Fridays from 12:00pm-4:30pm. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays we will be open for allergy shots from 9:00am-6:30pm. Saturday hours remain the same 9:00am-11:30am. Please arrive within these time periods to ensure you will be able to receive your allergy shot prior to the Clinic closing time.

Download March Newsletter 2016