Intermountain Allergy & Asthma
Intermountain Allergy & Asthma has a long standing reputation of excellence in serving our Wasatch Front communities for well over 30 years. Our conveniently located offices in Draper and Ogden provide a wide range of Allergy and Immunology services provided by American Board of Allergy and Immunology certified physicians specializing in allergy and asthma care.
Why It Is Important To Choose A Board-Certified Physician?
Extensive training is required to become a board-certified physician. To obtain board certification in Allergy and Immunology, a physician must graduate from an accredited medical school, complete a year-long internship, and then a three year residency in internal medicine or pediatrics. Upon completing a residency program, the physician must complete a two or three year fellowship in Allergy and Immunology training.
Our board certified physicians specialize in relief from the following:
- Seasonal Allergies
- Food Allergies
- Pet Allergies
- Medication Allergies
- Chronic & Episodic Asthma
- Exercise-Induced Asthma
- Eczema (Dermatitis)
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE)
- Insect Bites & Stings
What We Do
Approximately 20% of Americans suffer from allergies, making it the sixth most prevalent condition in the country. Allergy is one of the most pervasive and debilitating diseases affecting the workplace today. Allergies account for approximately 10% of all lost workdays in this country. The cost of lost workdays and impaired productivity is over $11 billion per year.
Allergies frequently trigger asthma. Asthma is a frequent cause for hospital admission for children and it is one of the leading childhood diseases causing significant lost time from school. On average, asthmatic children miss twice as many school days as other children. Asthma and allergies lead the list of causes for absence from work and the resulting loss of production.
Despite good medications available for asthma, and improved understanding of the disease, asthma-related symptoms and death are still a significant problem. Asthma-related healthcare costs remain high.
Past studies have shown that referral to a Board Certified Allergist for aggressive management of the disease results in:
- Fewer hospitalizations
- Shorter hospital stays
- Fewer return visits to the hospital
- Fewer emergency room visits
- Reduction in hospitalization cost
- Fewer sick care office visits
- Less time lost from work and school
What Is Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy, sometimes referred to as desensitization, is a series of injections to lessen your sensitivity to those things to which you are allergic. These injections are gradually increased in amount as well as strength until you become more tolerant of those inhaled substances which are causing the problems. Medications may still be needed to relieve symptoms during the desensitization process.
How Long Must I Be On Injections?
The treatment period varies from patient to patient and is normally 3-1/2 to 5 years and continues year-round. During most of this time the shots are given once a month.
Are Allergy Injections Safe?
Because you are receiving injections of substances to which you are allergic, it is possible for a systemic reaction to occur. Systemic reactions are uncommon, but serious and require immediate attention. These reactions most frequently occur within a few minutes after your injection. Therefore, you must wait in the clinic 30 minutes (or longer if you wish) following an allergy injection to allow for prompt and appropriate treatment of any reaction that might occur.
Are Reactions Common?
No. Most allergy injections are safe and free from reactions.
What Can I Do To Minimize Reactions?
- Take an antihistamine before getting your injection(s).
- Wait in the clinic 30 minutes following each allergy injection.
- Let the medical assistant know:
- how well you tolerated your last shot
- about any new drugs you are taking
- if you are having asthma symptoms
- if you are ill or have a fever
- if you are pregnant
- Avoid strenuous exercise for one hour before or two hours following your injection.
How Often Must I Get My Injections?
For the first few months injections are given once or twice a week and then less frequently as the immunotherapy progresses. Eventually injections are given monthly.
Should I Get An Injection If I’m Sick?
No. Injections will not be given if you are significantly ill, especially if you have a fever or have asthma symptoms. If the illness is related to your allergies, please call the doctor for advice. Be sure the allergist and medical assistant are told about any changes in your medical condition and any new medications you are taking.
Where Do I Get My Injections?
We have offices in Draper and Ogden. You can get your injections at the location most convenient for you. You do not need an appointment. If neither the Draper nor Ogden offices are convenient, you may be able to receive the injections in your primary care doctors’ office (this is done quite frequently).
What is food allergy?
A food allergy is any adverse reaction to an otherwise harmless food or food component that involves a portion of the body’s immune system. Although allergic reactions can occur virtually to any food, most reactions are caused by a limited number of foods: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat, peanuts, and tree nuts.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms involve the skin or gastrointestinal tract, beginning with swelling or itching of the lips, mouth and/or throat. When an offending food enters the stomach, nausea, vomiting, cramping and diarrhea may occur. Itching, eczema, hives, and redness of the skin may also occur. Some people may experience sneezing, a runny nose, shortness of breath, or asthma. Anaphylaxis is a rare but life-threatening condition. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include severe itching, hives, swelling of the throat, breathing problems, unconsciousness, and even death.
What is food intolerance?
Adverse reactions to foods that do not involve the immune system are known as “food intolerances.” One of the most common may be the result of the body’s inability to digest sugars in food such as milk sugar (lactose) intolerance. Other examples are food poisoning, metabolic reactions to food, reactions to drug-like chemicals in foods (e.g. caffeine) and adverse reactions due to chemicals added to food.
How can a food allergy be diagnosed?
If a food allergy is suspected, a board certified allergist should be able to help. Diagnosing a food allergy begins with a detailed medical history to identify the suspected food. The physician may suggest keeping a diary of foods eaten and symptoms that occur. Elimination diets are sometimes used to help diagnose and treat food allergies. Skin testing may also be useful. The physician might conduct a food challenge where the person eats portions of the suspected food under medical supervision.
Treatment of food allergy
Once the diagnosis of food allergy is confirmed, the allergist can discuss treatment options with you. For many people, the best option is still to simply avoid the offending food.
The peak time for asthma symptoms in northern Utah is
usually late December thru mid-February.
That’s because three things in winter can worsen asthma:
1. Cold, dry air
2. Poor air quality (an inversion)
3. Viral infections
Since we have an abundance of these three things in Utah
during the winter, right now tends to be the worst time of year for asthma.
If you have asthma, there are four things that you should be
doing to keep asthma
symptoms under control and potentially prevent asthma attacks:
Asthma Control Tip 1: Exercise indoors.
I know, I know – running or walking on a treadmill is not nearly as
enjoyable as running or walking outside.
However, aerobic exercise in the cold, winter air frequently brings on
exercise-induced asthma in those who are at all susceptible to it. This applies even more so if we have a winter
inversion in place! This last summer, I
saw many patients who were having breathing problems because of the smoke in
the air. As bad as the smoke from forest
fires was or can be, the trapped car exhaust and other pollutants in an
inversion is usually worse. Your lungs
will thank you if you get a membership at the local gym and exercise inside
until after Valentine’s Day.
Asthma Control Tip 2: Make sure
that you are taking any regular, preventive asthma medicines daily.
The best medicines for asthma are the daily, preventive ones. They
all take a while to ‘kick in’ and have full effect. Preventative asthma medications can
eventually help if you want to wait and start using them daily at the first
sign of problems, but they work best if you are already using them consistently
before problems arise. If your asthma prescriptions
need refilling – now is the time to see your physician and get new ones. If you are one of the ‘lucky’ patients with
asthma who usually don’t have problems in the winter, at least make sure you
have your asthma medications on hand – even if you aren’t using them
regularly. This includes the fast acting
‘rescue’ medicine albuterol.
Asthma Control Tip 3: See your
doctor. If it has been a
while since you’ve seen your asthma doctor and had a physical exam and
spirometry (pulmonary function tests) done, make an appointment. Many people
with asthma are unaware of just how bad their asthma is until things get really bad. If your asthma gets worse gradually, you may
not notice that you’re doing worse, and what should be bothering you can feel like ‘normal’. This is a very common problem in patients
with asthma. Being worse and unaware at the
same time is more likely in the winter.
So, if it’s been a while since you were seen, call your asthma doctor
and make an appointment. Call today -
Asthma Control Tip 4: Buy
a condo in Hawaii and live there from December thru February! Aloha! This way you get to experience a little
snow here at the end of the year, and then come back just as the trees and
flowers are starting to bloom.
Perfect. Just in time to be seen
for your spring allergies…..
Duane J. Harris M.D.
Intermountain Allergy & Asthma of Draper
New to Intermountain Allergy and
suffer from asthma, now is a great time to consider starting professional asthma
treatment. Dr. Harris and Dr. Anderson
accept new asthma patients of all ages and most insurance plans. If you have questions about insurance
coverage, please contact us Intermountain Allergy and Asthma at (801) 553-1900
(Dr. Harris) or (801) 476-0052 (Dr. Anderson) and we will be happy to assist
don’t have health insurance, we offer a discount and monthly payment options.
It is Dr. Harris’ and Anderson’s goal to provide the best medical treatment for
their patients while working with patients to keep costs and payments
you for allowing us Intermountain Allergy and Asthma to be part of your health
care team – we look forward to seeing you!
We always expect to see quite a few patients with asthma or bronchitis worsened by the winter inversions that we get each year – but we don’t typically see many people with smoke-related worsening. This year has definitely been different! We have been treating patients who are short-of breath, coughing, and wheezing this summer (many more than normal) – almost certainly due to the smoke.
Smoke acts primarily as an irritant in worsening breathing and can also bother the throat, the nose, and the eyes. In general, asthma that is worse because of an irritant can be harder to treat, and may respond less well to medications, than asthma that is worse because of an allergy -- i.e. being around a cat you’re allergic to. That is what we have seen this summer – people getting less than expected results from their medications. Several patients who were taking their medications faithfully noticed increased symptoms and have needed to increase the dose of their daily inhalers, while others have needed a few days of oral steroids to get things under control. It feels like we have had the awful winter inversions with us all summer.
Hopefully, the smoke from local fires will be gone soon. If not, what to do?
Smoke Avoidance Tip 1: Avoid the smoke as much as possible. Keep doors and windows closed 24/7. Exercise inside, not outdoors if you can, or wait for relatively ‘clean’ air days to work-out outside. Postpone yard work until the air is a bit better if you can.
Smoke Avoidance Tip 2: If you are taking asthma meds, make sure you are taking them regularly as directed. Many adults can stop their asthma inhalers during the summer months – maybe not this year? If you are taking your meds appropriately, but still having problems, you may need to increase the dose, or change medications entirely. Some may need oral steroids to get things under control initially. If you are struggling, but don’t use any asthma meds, it is time to see your doctor.
Smoke Avoidance Tip 3: Remember that coughing may be due to chest irritation, or due to post-nasal drainage from an irritated nose or throat (or both). In addition to asthma meds, you may benefit from regular nasal sprays, throat lozenges, and even gargling with saline.
Smoke Avoidance Tip 4: You may do better if you wear a face mask while outside. I say ‘may do better’ because it makes a big difference what type of mask you use. A cheap, poorly fitting mask may do little, while a more expensive, correctly fitted mask could help a lot. See this recent (brief) report on face masks and air pollution.
Smoke Avoidance Tip 5: This may the right time to talk to the financial advisor and see if there is money for a small cottage in the Alps? Or Hawaii? Anywhere that the air quality is better!
Smoke Avoidance Tip 6: Pray for rain!
Good luck dealing with our air quality. Keep in mind that although smoke from local fires has diminished, it still may occur this fall and will most certainly be present next year. Please let us know if we can help.
Duane J. Harris M.D.
Intermountain Allergy and Asthma of Draper
New to Intermountain Allergy and Asthma?
If you suffer from allergies and have never seen an allergist, now is a great time to consider starting professional allergy treatment. Dr. Harris and Dr. Anderson accept new allergy patients of all ages and most insurance plans. If you have questions about insurance coverage, please contact Intermountain Allergy and Asthma at (801) 553-1900 (Dr. Harris) or (801) 476-0052 (Dr. Anderson) and we will be happy to assist you.
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