Singing thru Allergy Season

When Jack Gunderson followed his passion for performing to the heart of Chequamegon Bay, he didn’t know the great outdoors might cause him problems.

“It turns out I’m allergic to 7 types of mold, dogs, cats, trees, hay…” he says. “There really is no way to avoid it but pollen is the hardest thing to deal with up here.”

While frustrating in the best of circumstances, in Gunderson’s case, it impacts his livelihood. As a full-time musician and one of the co-founders of Big Top Chautauqua, Gunderson relies on his voice daily.

Come allergy season, singing gets difficult. “I definitely get plugged up and start coughing and sneezing. It is also hard on my throat,” he says.

But, thanks to the ENT Clinic of Memorial Medical Center, he’s getting some relief.

“I started by getting a thorough retesting of what I’m allergic to,” he says. This included a consult with Dr. Tuominen as well. Once his allergies were confirmed, he determined immunotherapy, which involves weekly allergy shots, was the best form of treatment.

The shots can help allergy sufferers slowly build their immune system. “I’ve noticed a difference since I started taking them. I’m gradually getting better,” Gunderson says.

According to ENT Registered Nurse Laura Kriskovich, the shots work by injecting a small portion of the substance you are allergic to into your body.

“Each shot contains just enough to stimulate your immune system but not cause a full-blown allergic reaction. Over time, this helps your body get used to the allergens, which helps to build up a tolerance,” she says. “Over time, it can even cause your allergy symptoms to diminish.”

It is important to stress this type of immunotherapy takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight and often involves weekly visits. But, in Gunderson’s case, having this service so close to home has made a huge difference in his life, while being convenient enough that he can still pursue his passion.

“The people are kind, friendly, and good natured,” he says of his time at the clinic. They are also quick. “I’m in and out of there in no time at all.”

Are you suffering from allergies? Consider a consult with the ENT Clinic of MMC today. Dr. Tuominen is currently accepting patients in both Ashland and Hayward. To learn more call 715-685-6010 or read more here.