In the United States, 1 in 5 people suffer from allergies and/or asthma.
40% of children suffer from allergies. Allergies can be seasonal, for
example, for one month only when certain plants or trees bloom, or they
can be year round, where a patient can have symptoms and suffer all year.
Some obvious and not so obvious symptoms of allergies include:
- runny or itchy nose
- scratchy throat
- watery, itchy and/or red eyes
- cold or sinus infections at the same time each year
- trouble sleeping
- dry or itchy skin.
“There are many medications, both over-the-counter and those prescribed
by a medical provider, available to help to try to control the symptoms
of allergies,” said Dr. Witke of
Catawba Valley Family Medicine – Mountain View. “For many patients, these medications can help control or improve
the symptoms but they do not cure the underlying allergies.” In
addition, these medications can have side effects including but not limited
to: irritability, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, depression, altered thinking
and upset stomach. This can lead to decreased productivity at work and
increased risk of accidents on the job or at home.This is where allergy
testing may be an excellent option.
Allergy testing involves, in the office, skin testing of 48 common airborne
and environmental allergies from our area. This includes pet allergies,
dust mites, tree, grass and weed pollens, mold spores and insect droppings.
“Based on a patient’s reactions to this allergen exposure,
we attempt to identify ways to avoid exposure to what the patient is allergic
to as well as suggest medication changes that may help control the symptoms
better,” explains Dr. Witke.
In addition, some patients will be identified as possibly benefiting from
allergy shots or immunotherapy to control and even eliminate the symptoms
of the allergies. These patients will be taught to give themselves their
own allergy shots at home and not have to come to the office weekly for
injections as required by some offices in the area. In addition, this
treatment is performed by a primary care office, so there is no specialty
Starting in early May,
Catawba Valley Family Medicine – Mountain View, with Dr. Witke and Nurse Practitioner, Christi Lucas, began a partnership
with United Allergy Services to provide allergy testing and if needed
immunotherapy in their office. These services are covered by the majority
of insurance plans in the area. Of note, this service is available at
other Catawba Valley Medical Group practices as well. If this is something
that interests you, or you have questions regarding the potential benefits
to you or your health, please contact
Catawba Valley Family Medicine – Mountain View at 828.330.0511.