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.
Each year in the U.S. as many as 225,000 people are seen in the emergency room for flying insect stings and up to 100 people die as the result of insect sting anaphylaxis. It is possible that the number of deaths from insect stings is significantly underestimated, since many of the deaths may be falsely attributed to heart attacks or other causes if the insect sting wasn’t observed.
Are Flying Insects Aggressive?
At Intermountain Allergy and Asthma, I see many patients that come in for evaluation after a “bee sting”. However, of all the possible insects that sting, honey bees are probably the least likely to cause problems. Bees usually ignore nearby people unless the person is close to their hive. You may need to intentionally annoy a bee in your garden in order for it to pay any attention to you. Wasps, hornets, and especially yellow jackets are a different matter. They tend to be much more aggressive than honey bees, and will sometimes go out of their way to sting – even when the person poses no threat to the insect or to their nest.
Are Flying Insect Stings Dangerous?
Most single insect stings, while painful, are not at all dangerous. A fairly large area of swelling, redness, and itching is common and does not indicate that the person has a significant “allergy” to the insect. Even a very large local reaction (i.e., sting on the finger with swelling to the elbow) may be nothing but a giant nuisance.
However, reactions distant from the site of the sting can indicate a much more severe problem and need to be evaluated. These symptoms are:
- Swelling in the throat
- Chest tightness
- Head-to-toe hives
- Significant stomach or intestinal problems
A particularly concerning symptom after an insect sting is light headedness, dizziness, or loss of consciousness. These symptoms indicate a dangerous, potentially life-threatening, reaction to the sting.
What Should I Do If I Am Stung By a Flying Insect?
Anyone with a potentially dangerous insect sting reaction should be evaluated by an allergist, and should carry an epinephrine injector when outside. These people can be tested to determine what the actual stinging insect culprit was and then can be desensitized to the venom. The desensitization process can be a bit of a commitment in time, but it almost always works very well. Venom desensitizing is one of the most effective things that allergists do.
Milder stings can be treated with cool or cold compresses, hydro-cortisone cream, and oral antihistamines for itch. Definitely check for an embedded stinger (much more common with bee stings than other insects) and remove it before doing anything else.
How Can I Avoid Flying Insect Stings?
All people with any level of insect sensitivity should try to avoid getting stung in the first place – but this can be a challenge. Insect repellents don’t seem to help much. Some people feel that wearing brightly colored clothing attracts flying insects, but not all agree.
Something that does seem to help includes simply staying indoors if there are obvious numbers of insects flying about (but of course that’s not a lot of fun on a nice summer day). Also, be careful around garbage cans or garbage piles where food has been thrown away and be very cautious drinking sugared or flavored drinks in the summer. Proteins and sugar can and do attract the little critters.
Enjoy the spring and upcoming summer, but stay alert and “bee vigilant” for stinging insects. If you want to prepare for potential allergic reactions to flying insect stings, make an appointment to see your allergist.
Duane J. Harris M.D.
Intermountain Allergy and Asthma of Draper
New to Intermountain Allergy and Asthma?
If you suffer from spring pollen allergies or a stinging insect allergy, 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 us Intermountain Allergy and Asthma at (801) 553-1900 (Dr. Harris) or (801) 476-0052 (Dr. Anderson) and we will be happy to assist you.
If you don’t have health insurance, we offer a discount and monthly payment options. It is Dr. Harris’ and Dr. Anderson’s goal to provide the best medical treatment for their patients while working with patients to keep costs and payments reasonable.
Thank you for allowing us Intermountain Allergy and Asthma to be part of your health care team – we look forward to seeing you!
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!