WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- People with environmental allergies know spring can be especially rough. Some people suffer from the symptoms throughout the year.
This is the perfect time of year to get fresh air. Playing outside proves problematic for Logan Dirks.
"He was just always miserable. He didn't really care, but we could tell he was miserable. Itchy eyes, watery nose, sneezing all the time," said Logan's mom Tracy Dirks.
Logan takes over the counter medicine, but his mom wanted more permanent relief. She had him tested to see what was causing his symptoms. "He was allergic to pretty much everything. Trees, weeds, grasses, some molds, as well as cats," she said.
Logan's parents weighed their options and decided to try allergy immunotherapy at the Iowa ENT Center. Senior Clinical Allergy Specialist Amanda Goodwin took his test results and made a medicine specific to his environmental allergies. "What we're doing is changing your immune cells and teaching your body not to react to these allergens," said Goodwin.
Logan gets a shot in each arm three times a week. Goodwin trained his parents so they could do it at home, saving time and money because they don't have as many clinic visits.
"It's a little rough in the beginning. Some parents have anxiety as much as the kiddos do, giving their kids injections, but it's something where we work with you in the office that it's safe and you're comfortable going home with everything," said Goodwin.
The process takes three to five years. After that, Logan should get twelve or more years of complete relief without having to take any allergy medicine.
"I'm hoping after this three to five year of immunotherapy that his symptoms will be gone and he can run around outside and not worry about it,” said Tracy.
Patients typically don't see relief from allergy symptoms the first year of immunotherapy, so Logan still takes over the counter medicine. They hope to be done with that before next spring.