Allergies are rampant these days, and can be especially debilitating for singers. Allergies can cause stuffed nose, mucus in the throat, coughing, sneezing and even wheezing. Left untreated, laryngitis and other vocal issues can rear their ugly heads. I was one of these poor people. I struggled with terrible allergies, which would often hinder my vocal performances. Over the counter medications like antihistamines would help with the allergies but would dry me out and cause even more laryngitis. Replacing my laryngitis with more laryngitis was not a happy solution.
I was allergy tested two years ago and I am pretty much allergic to everything inside and outside. Pollen, dust, grass, trees – you name it and I’m probably allergic to it. My allergist Dr. Michael Lewin in NYC recommended immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is not new, as allergy shots have been around for years, but it is now being offered in sub-lingual drops. I put three drops of the tincture under my tongue every day. Dr. Lewin told me that because the drops are self administered every day, they tend to start working a lot faster and what would take a year with the shots, can often take place over a few months. He also gives pre-seasonal drops to get my body prepared for the “big three” – grass, tree and ragweed, which gradually build up about 6 weeks prior to each allergy season.
It is now two years since I started this treatment and it has literally changed my life. Two years ago I was very groggy, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, sore eyes and even wheezing. Being outside for me was awful (which sucks when you live at the playground with a kid like I do!) and when I was exposed to dust or pet dander I would often feel like I was having an asthma attack.
I no longer use Singulair or Flonase and I did a whole lot of yard work the other day, without a single symptom. It’s truly amazing! Dr. Lewin told me the treatment takes 3-5 years and then will last for 7 or more years. I pay a relatively low fee for a three month supply of drops, which isn’t covered by insurance, and is a LOT cheaper than the co-pays I would have to deal with if I was having weekly allergy shots.
I can’t recommend it enough! If you want to learn more, check out Dr. Lewin’s website. I’m sure there are lots of doctors doing this! I have had the same box of tissues next to my bed for months!!