Asthma and allergies are truly a family affair for Martha W.’s family: she has asthma and allergies; her husband, Adam, has environmental and food allergies; their 1-year-old son, Clayton, has asthma and allergies… even the family dogs, Rascal and Shelby, have allergies! “It has become a way of life for us,” Martha says. With the help of allergists they manage to keep it all under control.
Martha’s had asthma and allergies for about as long as she can remember. Her earliest asthma memory is of smelling a flower at her grandma s house at age 3, and having a hard time breathing afterward. “After one episode, my family took me to the emergency room and the doctor said he had to look at my lungs,” she recalls. He meant he was going to do a chest X-ray, but I cried because I thought he was going to cut me open!”
Adam didn’t start having allergy trouble until he was an adult. “He started having sinus headaches and infections and gastrointestinal issues and lost 40 pounds over about three months,” she says. When conventional medical tests couldn’t explain his symptoms, his doctors suggested he might have depression. But his allergist was able to pinpoint the real culprit: food allergies. “After eliminating dairy from his diet, his gastrointestinal issues disappeared,” Martha says. The allergist’s regimen to treat Adam’s mold and dust-mite allergies includes immunotherapy (allergy shots), antihistamines, and a nasal spray.
Given his parents’ medical history, Clayton was a likely candidate for asthma and allergies. “I first heard him wheezing at two months and suspected asthma right away,” Martha says. But getting his doctors on board was another story. At the peak, Clayton wheezed for months while also coming down with rashes and ear infections. “There were many doctors and ER visits, but everyone said, ‘You’re a first-time parent and this is normal.’ We knew it would take a special person to piece this puzzle together.” When Clayton was nine months old, the family took him to see an allergist. Through a team effort with their pediatrician and allergist, Clayton began to breathe easier and his symptoms improved.
“Clayton’s health has drastically improved,” Martha says. Determining his allergies is a work in progress because allergy testing isn’t as accurate for patients his age. However, after removing dairy, soy, wheat, and corn from his diet and giving him asthma medications, he has been completely free of asthma symptoms, ear infections, and acid reflux for a couple months!
This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.