Diagnosis & Treatment Options
We are here to bring you relief from seasonal allergies! Dr. Schulte has vast experience diagnosing and treating these issues. We will consult with you on your medical history and symptoms, and then recommend skin or blood testing so we can get to the source of your allergies.
After diagnosis, we will tailor a treatment plan to your individual needs. We explain lifestyle measures that can help you avoid allergy triggers. Some patients have success with allergy medications that we will discuss with you. Additionally, we offer treatment options including oral immunotherapy and allergy shots. Patients who go the allergy shot route frequently receive a personalized, tailored Cluster Immunotherapy plan from our doctors, which provides faster results than traditional immunotherapy. The allergy shots and oral immunotherapy decrease your immune response to allergens and mitigate symptoms. Our goal is to get you enjoying the outdoors without fear of the allergens floating through the air!
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In California, allergy season will peak in early April. As the days become longer, tree pollen begins to cover everything in a fine yellow haze, but that will wind down by the latter half of April, into May.
Still, if you suffer from pollen allergies, this is prime weather for sneezing, irritated eyes and itchy skin.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Pollen Allergy
Doctors use two tests to diagnose a pollen allergy.
Skin Prick Test In prick/scratch testing, a nurse or doctor places a small drop of the possible allergen on your skin. Then the nurse will lightly prick or scratch the spot with a needle through the drop. If you are allergic to the substance, you will develop redness, swelling and itching at the test site within 20 minutes. You may also see a wheal. A wheal is a raised, round area that looks like a hive. Usually, the larger the wheal, the more likely you are to be allergic to the allergen.
A positive SPT to a particular pollen allergen does not necessarily mean that a person has an allergy. Health care providers must compare the skin test results with the time and place of a persons symptoms to see if they match.
Specific IgE Blood Test Blood tests are helpful when people have a skin condition or are taking medicines that interfere with skin testing. They may also be used in children who may not tolerate skin testing. Your doctor will take a blood sample and send it to a laboratory. The lab adds the allergen to your blood sample. Then they measure the amount of antibodies your blood produces to attack the allergens. This test is called Specific IgE Blood Testing. As with skin testing, a positive blood test to an allergen does not necessarily mean that an allergen caused your symptoms.
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Climate Change Linked To Longer Allergy Season In Bay Area Stanford Study Finds
Air levels of pollen and mold spores in the San Francisco Bay Area are elevated for about two more months per year than in past decades, and higher temperatures are to blame, a Stanford Medicine study has found.
Stanford researchers have found that changes in temperature and rainfall have lengthened allergy season in the Bay Area.Elizaveta Galitckaia/Shutterstock
Bay Area allergy sufferers take note: Climate change has lengthened the local pollen and mold season by eight to nine weeks per year during the past two decades, according to a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The study, based on allergen data collected starting in 2002 in Los Altos Hills, California, found that local temperature increases are linked to longer tree and grass pollen seasons, while changes in local precipitation are linked to more mold spores in the air. Tree pollen and mold seasons each grew by about half a week per year from 2002 through 2019, the study found. The research, the first to analyze the effects of climate change on airborne allergens in the San Francisco Bay Area, was published online June 17 in the journal Scientific Reports.
As an allergist, it is my duty to follow the pollen counts, and I was noticing that the start date of the tree pollen season was earlier every year, she said. My patients were complaining, and I would say, This is such a tough year, but then I thought, wait, Im saying that every year.
When Is Allergy Season
In the US specifically, spring allergies can start as early as February and last until early summer, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
Next comes grass allergy season, Josef Shargorodsky, MD, an otolaryngologist at Coastal Ear Nose and Throat in New Jersey, tells Health. “The grass season lasts all summer,” he says. Finally, fall allergiesthe main culprit of which is ragweedbegins in August and can last until the first snowfall, says Dr. Shargorodsky.
There are some exceptions to that, however: The ACAAI notes that in tropical climates grass allergies may be present for a large portion of the year, and an especially rainy spring can help plants grow more rapidly, causing summer allergies to last well into the fall.
And, like so many other things, allergy season has been affected by climate change. According to a recent study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the season has been arriving 20 days earlier than it did in 1990. Plus, it contains at least 20% more pollen.
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Can Allergy Shots Really Help
The success rate for allergy shots is high about 75% to 85%. Many patients consider themselves cured after completing the shots, but some will suffer a recurrence. Most patients who complete the full program of shots usually do not need to take the 3 to 5 years of shots again. A few patients get only short-term relief and continue to need shots monthly.
Make An Appointment To Treat Your Allergies
If you are feeling the effects of high pollen counts and suffer from itchy eyes or a runny nose, take the first steps to get the treatment you need. Contact Dr. Buddiga at BUDDIGA Family Allergy | Skin | Immunology and work with a leading allergy and immunology expert herein Fresno. Request a consultation today and fight back against allergens.
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How To Stay Ahead Of Allergy Season
First: If you’ve felt symptoms before but haven’t been officially diagnosed with allergies, it may help to pay attention to those specific patterns. So if you’ve felt lousy for the last few years around March and have experienced the same symptomswhether this is a runny nose, sneezing, congestion, or itchy or watery eyesit’s probably a good call to make an appointment with an allergist before the next allergy season starts.
“If you always think you have a cold in March but remember having three of the same symptoms last year, you may have allergies,” Janna Tuck, MD, an ACAAI spokesperson and allergist in Santa Fe, New Mexico, tells Health.
For regular allergy sufferers, the goal is to prevent allergic reactions before they happen. A few ways you can be prepared for the season is by keeping an eye on pollen counts and, if you’re traveling, to keep an eye on potential pollen counts in your destination town or city.
And, while seasonal allergieswhether they come in the form of a stuffed nose, itchy eyes, or constant sneezingaren’t life-threatening, you can have severe symptoms if you also have asthma.
“Allergy symptoms can be quite severe for asthma sufferers,” says Dr. Tuck. “If you have asthma and have difficulty breathing or are coughing a lot, that’s another important reason to see a specialist, get tested, and get on a good treatment plan that might include regular allergy shotsthe one thing that prevents asthma attacks stemming from your allergies.”
Easy Ways To Beat Seasonal Allergies When The Pollen Count Spikes
If your seasonal allergies are making you miserable this spring, you’re not alone. More than 50 million Americans experience allergies each year. The good news is there are measures you can take to minimize the impact of seasonal allergies.
Seasonal allergies are usually caused by three main types of pollen: trees, grass, and weeds. They’re called “seasonal allergies” because each type of pollen has a season where they’re most potent. Here’s a general timeline of common pollen seasons:
- Some outdoor molds also peak in the fall months
When you’re monitoring pollen counts for your specific allergy, here are 10 ways to cope:
Pollen counts tend to rise on dry, warm, and windy days, so if it’s breezy outside, try to stay indoors.
Pollen counts are highest in the morning and again at night, so if you need to go outside, try to do it when counts are low.
When it comes to seasonal allergies, it’s important to know exactly what you’re allergic to so you can take appropriate action.
“I have patients who come in saying they’re allergic to pets, then we perform a skin test and it turns out they’re actually allergic to oak trees or another pollen the pet is bringing inside on their fur,” says Erin Willits, MD, an allergist and immunologist at Intermountain Alta View Hospital.
When Is Allergy Season Over In California
California is a large state, which means allergens will flare up during different parts throughout the year. Residents of Central California will experience high allergy levels in the early spring while those in Northern California might not experience severe allergies until April. Coastal areas also have lower pollen counts than inland regions.
Allergy season ebbs in late fall and is over during the winter, before starting up again in the spring.
Sublingual Immunotherapy Allergy Drops
When allergy medications and limiting your exposure arent providing you with the relief you need, you may want to consider allergy immunotherapy. Immunotherapy introduces small amounts of your allergen to your immune system in gradually increasing doses. This teaches your immune system to ignore these triggers, bringing you long-term, often permanent relief. Sublingual immunotherapy allergy drops are an especially convenient option since theyre painless and you can get them delivered right to your door.
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If I’ve Never Had Allergies Before Am I In The Clear
If you grew up in a place like Sacramento, Stockton or Modesto where people are prone to allergies, you are less likely, as an adult, to develop them. However, it is still possible.
Many people who move to Sacramento, Modesto or Stockton from the Bay Area develop allergies quickly when they arrive. On the other hand, newcomers from further away may not see allergy symptoms for two years because it takes the body a few cycles before developing sensitivities to the pollen.
How Can I Prevent An Allergic Reaction To Pollen
There are actions you can take to reduce allergic reactions to pollen:
- Limit your outdoor activities when pollen counts are high. This will lessen the amount of pollen allergen you inhale and reduce your symptoms.
- Keep windows closed during pollen season and use central air conditioning with a CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® filter attachment. This applies to your home and to any vehicle .
- Start taking allergy medicine before pollen season begins. Most allergy medicines work best when taken this way. This allows the medicine to prevent your body from releasing histamine and other chemicals that cause your symptoms.
- Bathe and shampoo your hair daily before going to bed. This will remove pollen from your hair and skin and keep it off your bedding.
- Wash bedding in hot, soapy water once a week.
- Wear sunglasses and a hat. This will help keep pollen out of your eyes and off your hair.
- Limit close contact with pets that spend a lot of time outdoors.
- Change and wash clothes worn during outdoor activities.
- Dry your clothes in a clothes dryer, not on an outdoor line.
Look for this mark to find products proven more suitable for people with asthma and allergies. Find CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® products on our Certification program website.
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Allergy Report & Forecast
For allergy sufferers, there are benefits and drawbacks to living in Fresno. Central California doesnt have the harsh winters that many other states do, which is why many people live here. However, this means that the allergy season is a little different from the rest of the nation. While there is certainly a peak of pollen and grass in the Spring, flowers can bloom year-round and can trigger allergic reactions.
While year-round allergies are a problem in some parts of the country, this isnt an issue for Fresno. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America looked at the 100 largest cities in the United States to determine which ones are the best and worst for allergy sufferers and Fresno ranked among the top 10 for best places to live with allergies. The report looked at spring and fall pollen scores, over-the-counter medicine use, and the availability of board-certified allergists to provide treatment.
At BUDDIGA Family Allergy | Skin | Immunology, we like to think that we contribute to Fresnos ranking as a top place to live for allergy sufferers! Dr. Buddiga is a nationally-recognized expert in allergies, asthma and immunology and is board-certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology a conjoint Board of The American Board of Internal Medicine and The American Board of Pediatrics.
So, even if the pollen counts rise this spring, residents in Fresno should be able to breathe easy knowing they can get the help they need to treat their allergies!
What Can I Do If My Allergy Meds Aren’t Workingor My Allergies Are Getting Worse
If you’re already taking OTC allergy meds , allergy shots, a.k.a. allergen immunotherapy, make your immune system less reactive to allergens , and for some people, they can even induce a cure, says Dr. Parikh.
By giving small increasing doses of what you are allergic to, you train the immune system to slowly stop being as allergic, she says. This is the best way to address allergies, as it targets the underlying problem and builds your immunity to a specific allergen.
The downside? Allergy shots are a bit of a time commitment. You’ll need to get them once a week for six to eight months, then once a month for a minimum of two years, says Dr. Parikh. You need to be a little bit patient, too, because it can take about six months to start feeling better . But a life without allergies? Sounds worth it to me.
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Allergy Season Now Occurs Year
In some regions such as Southern California, allergy season happens year-round. Typically, when winds blow off the ocean, there is very little pollen in the air. But when Santa Ana wind conditions occur, Southern California residents are hit with allergens from as far away as Nevada and Arizona. In addition, after it rains, the trees, winds and grasses in the canyons wake up and send out pollen clouds.
And because California does not have four distinct seasons, allergens are in the air constantly which worsens nasal allergies, and triggers chronic drainage and congestion, making allergy sufferers more vulnerable to colds and sinus infections.
In Northern California this year, in particular, higher-than-average rainfall levels have spurred more plants to grow, thus releasing more pollen into the air. Researchers at Harvard and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, estimated that grass pollen, the scourge of many Bay Area allergy sufferers, will increase by up to 200%.
The effects of climate change have also pushed temperatures up, thereby increasing allergy season length and its intensity3.
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How Long Is Allergy Season In Fresno Ca
Allergy season is different for every person because allergies are so unique to each person. However, the number of people with allergic reactions to pollen tends to peak in the spring when plants start to grow. This season might taper off in a month or two as Fresno enters summer.
Another peak allergy season occurs in the fall when dry air and high ragweed counts cause allergic reactions.
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What Is The Treatment For Pollen Allergy
Certain over-the-counter and prescription medicines may help reduce pollen allergy symptoms.
- Antihistamines come in pill, liquid or nasal spray form. They can relieve sneezing and itching in the nose and eyes. They also reduce a runny nose and, to a lesser extent, nasal stuffiness.
- are available as pills, liquids, nasal sprays or drops. They help shrink the lining of the nasal passages and relieve nasal stuffiness. Use decongestant nose drops and sprays only on the short-term.
- Nasal corticosteroids are a type of nasal spray. They reduce inflammation in the nose and block allergic reactions. They are the most effective medicine type for allergic rhinitis because they can reduce all symptoms, including nasal congestion. Nasal corticosteroids have few side effects.
- Leukotriene receptor antagonists block the action of important chemical messengers that are involved in allergic reactions.
- Cromolyn sodium is a nasal spray that blocks the release of chemicals that cause allergy symptoms, including histamine and leukotrienes. This medicine has few side effects, but you must take it four times a day.
Many people with pollen allergy do not get complete relief from medications. This means they may be candidates for immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment that can help prevent or reduce the severity of allergic reactions. It can change the course of allergic disease by modifying the bodys immune response to allergens.