months out, so the patient’s symptoms clear up before they can see a specialist. “So they cancel the appointment,” she said, “or even if they do get tested and find an allergy, they won’t do anything about it until the symptoms come back the following year.” This delays treatment that can help patients become desensitized to their triggers, so the next allergy season is not as uncomfortable. At WellNow Allergy Urgent Care, patients don’t require a referral, nor do they need to wait months for an appointment, said Dr. Lomas. “A lot of patients are self-referred,” she said. “Here we can see you while you still have symptoms, in real time, during your season while you’re worse. We can find out if therapies don’t work, so we can take the next step.” Patients can schedule their appointment online at their convenience, with evening and weekend hours that allow them to see a specialist outside of the normal work day. With a full understanding of the source of their allergies, they can proceed with treatment options that may eliminate the need for antihistamines and other medications over time. Allergy shots, given at regular intervals, can lead the patient to build up a tolerance to the substance to which they are allergic—pollen, pet dander, or dust. The shots contain tiny amounts of the pollen or dander, teaching the patient’s immune system to become tolerant of the substance. Each dose contains a little bit more of the allergen, so the body builds up
“Here we can see you while you still have symptoms, in real time, during your season while you’re worse. We can find out if therapies don’t work, so we can take the next step” resistance to it over time. For it to be effective, however, the shots must be administered at regular intervals—often weekly. Making and keeping weekly appointments can be challenging for patients who work full-time or have child care or other responsibilities during the day. While this kind of therapy has been in use for more than a century, many patients believe it doesn’t work, often because of failed attempts to use it decades ago. Early therapies were more generalized and less effective, Dr. Lomas said. “There was a time when the injections were one-size-fits-all, with people getting injections for things they weren’t allergic to.
Now it’s all personalized for the patient. The science has come a long way to where we’ve fine-tuned the dosing.” Equally important, WellNow Urgent Care offers appointments at its four locations throughout western New York—in Clarence, Orchard Park, Wheatfield and Batavia—at times convenient to many patients, including evenings and weekends. This allows patients to maintain their regular injection schedule and build up a true tolerance to their allergy trigger. “People can come after work, after school, and get up to a full therapeutic dose in a few months,” said Dr. Lomas. In addition, not every allergy manifests as upper respiratory afflictions. Allergies can occur in any part of the body— asthma in the lungs, for example, or eczema in the skin. Some allergies cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction that comes on suddenly and rapidly. Others manifest as hives or contact dermatitis. WellNow Allergy can test for allergies to food and medications, as well as lower respiratory issues including the causes of asthma. Plans for expansion of the allergy urgent care practice in 2022 include facilities in Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany, Dr. Lomas said. “We are looking forward to bringing our services to people throughout upstate New York, and bridging the gap to treatment with more flexible hours. We will offer allergy diagnosis and treatment to more people who would otherwise not be able to commit to the therapy.”
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