Fall Allergies – the Struggle is Real. Steps to Test and Treat, and how to Work out What’s Right for you.

From sniffles and sneezes to congestion and rashes – allergies can send you over the edge. While many people experience allergies seasonally, there is also a large number of folks who suffer year-round in Charlotte.


Feeling stuffy is miserable, and let’s face it – not a good look. There are many different types of allergies and our friends at CEENTA helped us navigate the minefield, so whether it’s pollen or puppies, spring or winter, or all year long — the first step is to find out what you are allergic to.

Charlotte forecast: allergies

Nearly every year, Charlotte is ranked as one of the worst cities in the nation for seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies are often triggered by grass and tree pollen in the summertime, ragweed and pigweed in the fall, and in the winter by mold and dust.

Symptoms are similar whether you are allergic to mold, dust, or pollen, so resist the temptation to self-diagnose. An allergy test can help pinpoint what makes you grab for the tissue box, and the appropriate course of treatment.

There are 4 categories of allergies

  • Seasonal: itchy eyes, congestion, and more
  • Mild: itchy, watery eyes, rashes, congestion
  • Moderate: itchiness, difficulty breathing
  • Serious (often resulting from anaphylaxis): itchiness of the eyes or face, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, wheezing or difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, diarrhea, mental confusion, anxiety or loss of consciousness.

Test for the best solution

Before you can get relief, you need to be tested to determine what you’re allergic to, and then develop a treatment plan.

It’s important to go to an experienced allergist like the experts at CEENTA because test results alone cannot diagnose allergies, but when interpreted alongside a patient’s medical history they can identify specific allergens.

There are two types of allergy tests

Skin test

An allergist tests for many suspected allergens by pricking or scratching the skin on the back or forearm.

Redness and swelling will appear around the test spot if you are allergic to one of the tests. Another type of skin test requires that a small amount of the suspect allergen be injected into a patient’s arm. Most positive reactions to allergy skin tests will appear within 20 minutes.

Blood test

Costs more than skin allergy tests and can take several days to provide results. There are several reasons a blood test may be recommended instead of a skin test including that medicines can interfere with skin testing and must be stopped before the skin test can be performed (which is not always an option for everyone). And, strong allergens can also cause strong reactions after an allergy test.

When do you know it’s time to get tested for fall allergies?

Monitor your allergies and if you find yourself thinking this happens every year it’s time to make an appointment.

With so many treatment options available there’s no need to suffer every season: CEENTA OtolaryngologistRoy Lewis, MD sums it up well “Patients who feel like they have a cold every fall should consider allergy testing.”

Treatment Time

Sweet relief could be just a shot away – though it is very important to note that most allergy treatments require time to see real results, including immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy either in the form of shots, sublingual drops, or tablets help your body build up an immunity to your archnemesis allergen.  

Dr. Lewis says “You brush your teeth every day, right? Why? To keep your teeth nice and healthy. A topical nasal steroid spray on a daily basis can help keep your nose healthy, too”. From in-home options to office visits here are a few options:

Allergy shots

Given regularly in gradually-increasing doses to increase your tolerance, allergy shots will not cure allergies, but they will reduce your symptoms. They are effective in treating allergies such as pollen, mold, pet dander, dust mites, and cockroaches, but they are not an effective treatment method for food allergies or gluten allergies.

Sublingual allergy drops

Sublingual allergy drops, like allergy shots, are a form of immunotherapy, usually placed under the tongue. You can do this at home and often required to do so several times in a week.

Allergy tablets

The key to success is preparation; begin taking them on a daily basis 3-4 months before the season and continue during that season for a total of approximately 6 months per year.

Tablets are an especially good option if your symptoms are substantially worse in the summer or fall.

Why should you develop an allergy care routine?

“Preventing symptoms is much easier than dealing with a nose running like a faucet or slammed shut.  If you know you have symptoms every spring, start taking your medications on a daily basis at Valentine’s Day.  If fall is your trouble season, jump on your nasal steroid spray with the start of the school year and continue under the first frost,” said CEENTA Otolaryngologist Hunter Hoover, MD.

Having allergies can be very exhausting; if you’re ready for relief schedule an appointment today and start to build-up your resistance so you can stay fabulous this season and next.

Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. (CEENTA) has nearly 140 providers in almost 20 locations bringing specialty care to the community. CEENTA provides comprehensive pediatric and adult eyeear, nose and throat care, and highly specialized care, too.

These services include but are not limited to: audiologyallergy treatmentcataract surgerycochlear implantscornea diseasesdiabetic eye careglaucoma treatmenthead and neck cancerneuro-ophthalmologyoculoplasticsoptical and contact lensespediatric airway care, sleep medicinethyroid treatment, and voice and swallowing care.

To schedule an appointment with any of CEENTA’s board-certified physicians, please call 704-295-3000.


Bek Mitchell-Kidd
Bek Mitchell-Kidd
Bek is an Australian native who has lived in the Lake Norman area for more than a decade.