Hindsight on childhood allergies

There are so many memories from my childhood about ear infections, sinus infections, migraines, hives, stomach aches, and the list goes on. I had friends and cousins with severe allergies who had “traditional” allergy symptoms – itchy eyes, stuffy nose, rashes, etc. But me? No way could my health problems have been allergies. Or so we thought.

I wish I could go back 30+ years and talk to my mom or doctor and tell them about sublingual immunotherapy treatment.As a young adult I developed asthma and was tested multiple times for allergies, and never had a reaction in the office. But within 24 hours, I would have large, itchy welts where they injected the antigens. The allergists were perplexed, prescribed antihistamines and nasal sprays to treat my symptoms, and sent me on my way.

Every year, I would have the same health problems – asthma from the Wisconsin winter, a 3 month sinus infection starting in January, and multiple ear infections in the spring or early summer, migraines, and eczema. It was incredibly frustrating. I was prescribed multiple antibiotics to treat the infections that would eventually go away.

An avid animal lover, I have a house full of dogs and cats (and yes, that’s me riding a horse when I was 7). Every time I would meet a new cat, I’d get itchy eyes and my nose would stuff up. But no, I wasn’t allergic to anything. I couldn’t go to my best friend’s house because my eyes would water non-stop, itch, and I’d start sneezing. But I wasn’t allergic to cats – the allergists had tested me for that.

Then came my lucky day – I was hired by Allergychoices! Reading and learning about allergies caused the proverbial light bulb to go off. I’ve always had allergies, but they didn’t present in a way my parents or doctors recognized as allergies.

My first appointment at Allergy Associates of La Crosse, Allergychoices’ sister company, was a wonderful learning experience. Turns out I’m allergic to dust mites, mold, dogs, cats, feathers, trees, grass, yeast, ragweed, and the list goes on.

One year into treatment with sublingual immunotherapy and I’m already feeling much better! I can be around any cat without having a reaction. This past winter, I had some sinus issues, but nothing compared to a 3 month sinus infection. We’re still working on getting my eczema and ear infections under control, but those should continue to improve as I continue treatment.

I can’t even begin to count the number of migraines I’ve had in my lifetime. But since I started treatment, the frequency of life-stopping migraines has greatly decreased.

You know the saying: “If you knew then what you know now, what would you do differently?”

I wish I could go back 30+ years and talk to my mom or doctor and tell them about sublingual immunotherapy treatment. I can’t help but think that if I’d been treated with allergy drops as a child, I wouldn’t have asthma or still be struggling with ear infections. Research validates this is often the case.

Unless someone invents a time machine, going back to my childhood isn’t an option. So instead I’ll just keep encouraging others – especially those with children showing allergy symptoms – to pursue sublingual immunotherapy.

So if you have a child who has “unusual” allergy symptoms, consider taking them to a provider who uses the La Crosse Method Protocol for sublingual immunotherapy treatment because it looks beyond the surface and treats the individual precisely. You and your child will be forever grateful!

By Beth Davidson, Allergychoices