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February 26, 2013 06:15 PM

What Spring Allergy Sufferers Should Do Now

sioux falls, sd

Spring allergy season is still a couple months away, but if you struggle with hay fever, you might want to start preparing now.

That's because if you're hoping for long-term, relief, there is no short-term fix.

Jamie Brutty is used to rolling up her sleeve. The Brookings woman has been getting allergy shots every two weeks for two years.

"I would, of course, want it to be quicker than what it is right now, but it's working," Brutty said.

Brutty has a whole list of things that make her sneeze, sniffle and scratch, including several types of pollen, mold and mildew.

"It's miserable. You just don't feel well. I've tried everything, and this is ultimately my last resort," Brutty said.

But the allergy shot treatment is not a quick fix.   Dakota Allergy and Asthma Certified Nurse Practitioner Lindsey Peterson, who specializes in allergy relief, says you should get the shot for three to five years with five years preferred.

"You have to start off coming in twice a week, and then you eventually build up to coming in once a week. By close to the end of the first year, you're coming in only once a month for shots," Peterson said.

While it may seem time-consuming, allergy shots are the only thing proven to reduce allergy symptoms in the long-run.

"People who do shots find a 75 to 80 percent reduction in their symptoms, so there's a pretty good success rate with shots," Peterson said.

At two years into her treatment, Brutty has not seen those types of results yet, but she is able to do more outside activities with fewer allergy problems.

"With my eyes swelling shut that doesn't happen as frequently, so I'm not so miserable when I go outside," Brutty said.

That is why even though the shots may cause a little temporary pain, she hopes she'll be able to breathe a lot easier this spring.

Peterson says allergy shots are usually covered by insurance. 

If you take inhaled steroids for your allergies, you can also start now.  For the best results, you should take them by the end of March.

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