How bad do your allergies have to be to see a specialist? We asked a Charlotte allergy expert

How bad do your allergies have to be to see a specialist? We asked a Charlotte allergy expert
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This content was created in partnership with Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates


Whether you’re dealing with seasonal sniffles or you’re suffering year-round, allergies are a major bummer.

I’ve dealt with seasonal allergies on some level for my entire life. I’ve come to dread the day every year when spring pollen hits and envelops the city in a dusty, chartreuse blanket. I could sneeze 100 times just thinking about it.

Right now we’re in the midst of fall allergy season, which for some can be just as bad as spring. Add a pandemic into the mix and any small symptom feels like a reason to panic (don’t worry, there are some ways to tell the difference here).

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Related guide: How to differentiate between the symptoms of allergies and COVID-19, according to local allergy experts

If your method of dealing with allergies, seasonal or year-round, is simply accepting temporary misery, then it might be time to see an allergy specialist.

I spoke with allergy expert Jonathan Moss, MD MPH with Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates to ask all my burning questions about allergies, from seasonal symptom control to allergy testing and shots. Here’s what I found out.


How bad do my allergies actually need to be to see a specialist?

“If you’re taking medications and they aren’t stopping or controlling the symptoms, it might be time to see a specialist,” says Dr. Moss. “Plus, there are some instances when it may not even be allergies and we can help figure that out. If it’s something like chronic sinus infections or nonallergic rhinitis, there are different ways we would treat that.”

What do you recommend for mild allergies?

“For mild allergies, I recommend an antihistamine and nasal steroid sprays like Flonase, Nasacort, or Rhinocort. That’s what I would recommend to a friend or family member,” says Dr. Moss. “When you’re getting into moderate or severe allergies you should see a specialist for treatment.”

How does allergy testing work?

“Allergy testing is how we tell what you’re allergic to,” explains Dr. Moss. “You’ll come in and we’ll test your reaction to a variety of allergens, ranging from seasonal allergens to pet allergens. We typically do a skin test on your arm, which feels like a small prick. Generally, it takes about an hour. Once we have the results, we can develop a treatment plan.”

Can you tell me about allergy shots?

“Allergy shots are a form of immunotherapy. We often use them for high exposure allergy, like pets. Basically, we’re taking things you’re allergic to and injecting them into your skin. Over time you’ll start building up a tolerance for the allergen.”

So can allergy shots make my allergies go away completely?

“Yes, the goal of immunotherapy is to build up the tolerance in the immune system to where they stop reacting. And it’s typically a permanent effect. But it is a commitment and can sometimes take 3-5 years to get to that point. I recommend it for people with bothersome enough allergies who have symptoms they can’t control and don’t want to take allergy medication for the rest of their life.”

What if I’m deathly afraid of shots? Are there alternatives?

“There are also allergy drops. You put a few drops under the tongue daily and it works just the same as allergy shots.”

What are the most common fall allergies?

“By far its ragweed, which comes out at the end of August and stays until the first frost. The other one is mold. With humidity or a lot of rainfall, mold can be high this time of year. Think of all the leaves that fall and get wet. That’s a breeding ground for mold.”

Do you have any tips or advice for those dealing with allergies right now?

“The main thing I tell patients is to start taking medication several weeks before allergies start. For people with spring allergies, I tell them to start on Valentine’s Day,” says Dr. Moss. “Another thing I recommend is changing clothes and showering after being outside because pollen can stick to clothes and hair. If you have a pet, brush off their hair too.”


If you’re dealing with allergy symptoms this fall (or any time of year), see a specialist at one of CEENTA’s 17 locations around Charlotte.


This content was created in partnership with Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates. 

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