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5 Clues It’s Time to See a Board-Certified Allergist


By Dr. Penelope Ewbank, Springfield Clinic Peoria Allergy & Asthma


As the trees bloom and the grass grows, many of us brace for the annual onset of spring allergy symptoms. While over-the-counter remedies and home adjustments might suffice, there are many times when they fall short. Here are five signs indicating it might be time to move beyond the pharmacy aisle and into a board-certified allergist’s office.


  1. Over-the-Counter Medications Aren’t Cutting It

You’ve tried every antihistamine, nasal spray, and eye drop on the shelf, but your symptoms persist. If over-the-counter (OTC) solutions no longer alleviate your sneezing, congestion, or itchy eyes, it’s a clear sign your allergies need professional attention. Allergists can offer more targeted treatments, such as prescription medications or allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots), tailored to your specific allergens. Even if medications help, allergy shots can decrease your reliance on drugs and lessen disease progression. It even cuts in half the risk of developing asthma.


  1. Your Symptoms Are Long-lasting or Severe

Allergy symptoms should be temporary and manageable with minimal medications. If you find yourself struggling with persistent symptoms that last throughout the allergy season or beyond, it’s time to consult an allergist. Similarly, if your symptoms are severe enough to disrupt your daily life, professional help can offer relief. An allergist can help identify the underlying causes and provide a comprehensive treatment plan.


  1. You Experience Frequent Sinus Infections

Allergies can lead to repeated sinus infections due to constant inflammation and blockage of the sinus passages. If you find yourself on a first-name basis with antibiotics for sinus infections, it’s an indicator that your allergies are not under control. Some sinus “infections” are actually flares of allergic “inflammation”, rendering antibiotics ineffective. True, frequent infections may also require expert work-up of your immune system which is done by an allergist/immunologist.


  1. Asthma or Other Respiratory Symptoms Are Worsened

Allergies not only cause nasal and eye symptoms, but they can also cause asthma. If you have asthma and notice that your respiratory symptoms worsen during allergy season, or if you experience wheezing, shortness of breath, cough, or chest tightness, an allergist is an asthma expert who can help. By treating your allergies, you may also achieve better control over your asthma, leading to fewer flare-ups and a better quality of life.


  1. You’re Unsure of Your Allergy Triggers

Knowing what triggers your allergies is crucial for effective management. If you’re unsure why your symptoms flare up, an allergist can perform specific tests to identify your allergens. This knowledge allows for targeted avoidance strategies and treatments, making it easier to navigate daily life without the constant burden of allergy symptoms.


Why and How Working with a Board-Certified Allergist Helps

Allergists are specialists trained to diagnose, treat, and manage allergies, asthma and other immunologic disorders. We take an all-encompassing approach to care by considering your environment, lifestyle, and medical history to create a personalized treatment plan. This may include allergy shots (immunotherapy), which gradually desensitize your body to allergens, offering a long-term solution not available through medications.

While managing allergies can often feel like an uphill battle, recognizing when to seek the expertise of an allergist can be a game-changer. If you’re experiencing any of the above signs, consider scheduling a consultation. As a board-certified allergist, I’m dedicated to helping my patients in Peoria and beyond find relief and enjoy life without the constraints of allergy symptoms.


     Dr. Penelope Ewbank is accepting patients at Springfield Clinic Peoria Allergy & Asthma located at 6615 N Big Hollow Rd, Peoria, IL 61615. Call 309.691.5200 to schedule your appointment.