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 office in Draper provides 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 physician specializes 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 2 hours 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 and 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 office 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?
You will receive your allergy injections in the Draper office. The office is open Mondays & Wednesdays from 8:30 AM until 5:00 and Tuesdays & Thursdays from 8:30 AM until 7:30 PM for injections. You do not need an appointment.
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.
Let’s Talk Pollen, Pollen, Pollen Not Just Virus, Virus, Virus!
I know it’s hard to believe, but there are actually people who are so miserable with seasonal allergies, that they momentarily forget about the corona virus. Of course, they are immediately reminded about the virus as soon as they turn on their radio or TV, or log onto the internet.
We have gotten several questions recently about how we come up with the pollen report that originates here at Intermountain Allergy & Asthma of Draper, so I thought that I would give a brief overview of what’s involved in the daily pollen count.
Collecting the Pollen
Our pollen collecting device sits on the roof of our one-story building here in Draper. It is a ‘Rotorod’ – which is an appropriate name since it spins a little translucent rod in a circle (at 2400 RPM). The rod is coated on one side with a thin layer of silicone grease, and when pollen grains (and mold and insects and dust) hit this grease they stick to it. Each morning we bring in the previous day’s rod and put out a new one. We then apply a stain to the rod which colors the pollen differently than the other ‘gunk’ on the rod, and we can identify and count the various pollen grains.
Counting the Pollen
There are two certified pollen counters in our office (certified by the National Allergy Bureau) who take turns counting. We keep track of the numbers of various pollen species as best as we can – but sometimes identifying the precise pollen species is impossible. Pollen species are identified by size, shape, color (how much the stain affects them), and other various characteristics such as pores, and bumps, and ridges. Sometimes it’s super easy to tell the exact type of plant a grain of pollen came from, and sometimes not so much.
Imagine that you are counting the different kinds of cars in a used car lot. One group you can look at from above and easily see they are Toyotas, not Fords. The next group is all upside down and you can only see them from the bottom. They have four wheels, so you know they aren’t motorcycles, but other than that, it’s a guess.
Most of the pollen we see is easy to identify, but every pollen counter has several completely ‘unknown’ pollen grains each day. Sometimes we make educated guesses about pollen types, and hope that we are correct.
Reporting the Daily Pollen Count
We report the pollen count 4 days each week – Monday through Thursday - from roughly early March thru late October. We put it on our website, Facebook page, and send it out to some news outlets as well. Remember that the pollen is collected one day, then counted and reported the next. The pollen report is unavoidably a day behind. If you are miserable on Monday, check the Tuesday report to see which pollen species to curse at!
The pollen levels (and mold) are reported as low, medium, high, or very high. We feel that this is much more useful to allergy sufferers than listing the actual number of pollen grains counted. For example, a daily count of 50 grass pollen grains would be listed as ‘very high’, but 50 would be ‘moderate’ for a tree species, and ‘low’ for mold. Also, the low, moderate, high and very high values are relative to Utah and might be different in other parts of the country. Our ‘very high’ mold values would probably be low or moderate in Florida or Louisiana. In fact, I believe that New Orleans residents would openly laugh at our puny mold spore counts!
If you are among those who wish that we had a national shortage of pollen instead of bathroom tissue, come see us – we can help with your symptoms! Give us a call at 801-553-1900 to schedule an appointment.
Duane Harris, M.D.
Intermountain Allergy & Asthma of Draper
12422 South 450 East Suite C
Draper UT 84020
It’s official! The 2020 pollen season is here!
Each year, the certified pollen counters at Intermountain Allergy and Asthma of Draper collect, count, and report the pollen.
The first spring pollens generally show up in late February, or early March, but the timing varies from year-to-year. Starting in mid-February, we start “looking” for pollen, and then begin the reporting process once we see significant pollen amounts.
Early March 2020 Pollen Count Findings
On March 3 of this year we found very high numbers of Elm pollen, with low numbers of Cedar, Cottonwood, and Maple/Boxelder (it’s hard to tell Maple and Boxelder apart). Elm is almost always the first pollen seen in large amounts and typically starts with a bang – which is exactly what happened this year.
What Tree Pollen is the Worst for Allergies?
The most bothersome tree pollen for most people with early spring allergies is not Elm, but Cedar. In Utah, “Cedar” tree pollen is actually from one of the Juniper tree species. The Juniper trees have traditionally been referred to as “Cedar” trees, and the nickname stuck. Trees closely related to Junipers are found in all of the dry Intermountain area states. Large amounts of Cedar/Juniper tree pollen are typically seen in late March through April but may occasionally show up earlier for a day or two if we have had strong winds from the south.
When Do Grass Pollens and Grass Pollen Allergies Start?
As the tree pollen starts to dwindle in May each year, grass will begin pollinating, and the number of people with significant allergy symptoms goes way up. Grass in this area causes more allergy misery than any other type of pollen. Grass a very potent trigger for symptoms and it’s everywhere! There is literally nowhere you can go, south of the Arctic Circle, to escape grass pollen.
What Can I Do to Prepare for Utah’s Allergy Season?
As the weather warms, treatment shifts from colds and influenza-type symptoms, with accompanying flares of asthma, to treating nose allergies and eye allergies. Viruses and pollens can produce a somewhat similar sneezy-stuffy- yucky feeling, but with very different causes.
This is the time to make sure you have a supply of your allergy medications on hand. If you use nasal steroids for allergies, start them today! If you have had terrible allergy symptoms, even while on over-the-counter medications in past years, now is the time to make an appointment with Dr. Harris and make a plan to alleviate allergy symptoms.
Please call (801) 553-1900 for an appointment before the peak of the allergy season. New patient and check-up appointments are currently available within 24 – 48 hours, but it’s anticipated that waiting time will increase as the pollen count goes up!
New to Intermountain Allergy and Asthma?
If you suffer from allergies or asthma, now is a great time to consider starting professional treatment. Dr. Harris accepts new patients of all ages and accepts most insurance plans. If you have questions about insurance coverage, please contact us Intermountain Allergy and Asthma at (801) 553-1900 and we will be happy to assist you.
If you don’t have health insurance, we offer no interest monthly payment options. It is Dr. Harris’ goal to provide the best medical treatment while working with patients to keep costs and payments reasonable.
Thank you for allowing Dr. Harris and his staff at Intermountain Allergy and Asthma of Draper to be part of your health care team – we look forward to seeing you!