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Identifying allergy triggers won’t make them go away, but learning to control, or at least avoid them by starting an allergy medicine before exposure, can make a difference. For 12-year-old Jemma, having an allergic reaction was a scary thing. Over the course of a year, she had four serious allergy attacks. From shortness of breath and lots of sneezing to swollen eyes and eyelids.

Jemma picHer allergy story began in November of 2021 when Jemma was at a SF Skyforce game with friends. Her face started to swell and turn red and she experienced some shortness of breath and a lot of sneezing. Benadryl helped to calm the reaction at that point.

The worst of her allergy attacks took place in August of 2022. “We were at Palisades State Park in Garretson for family photos,” recalls Shanda Stricherz, Jemma’s mom. “We were walking in tall grass for the session and even sat down in the field for a few photos. When we got home, Jemma took a short nap. When she awoke, her eyes began to swell, and fluid built up in her eyelids. She was sneezing and getting congested. We gave her some Benadryl, but within 10 minutes both eyelids were filled with fluid and the swelling was spreading into her cheeks.”

Within 20 minutes, Shanda knew Jemma needed to go to the ER. In a four-hour stay, Jemma was treated with steroids, more Benadryl and given an IV. She was also prescribed an EpiPen. The ER doctor recommended allergy testing.

Following the visit to the ER, they contacted Midwest ENT & Allergy and scheduled a consultation for Jemma with Dr. Peter Kasznica, or Dr. K as most his patients call him. “We chose Midwest ENT because my husband had done allergy testing there, and now does allergy shots, and he has been happy with the results,” said Shanda.

Jemma was diagnosed with allergies to several kinds of mold including those common in soil and air, as well as those common in bathrooms and humid moist climates.

“I talked to them about the correlation between Jemma's reactions and her various mold allergies,” said Dr. K. “I walked them through the different types of mold that Jemma is allergic to, sharing common places where these molds can be found and things they can do or be on the watch for in order to help lessen a reaction. Mold allergies are harder to avoid than other allergies like foods, so it’s important to be aware of this.”

Shanda said Dr. K explained their treatment options and talked about the EpiPen Jemma had been prescribed at the ER. “It was good to hear that mold allergies don't commonly cause anaphylactic shock, and also assuring to know what to do if she were to have a very severe reaction and it was needed.”

“Dr. K was thorough and informative. Most importantly, he included Jemma in the consultation, discussing the treatment options with her,” said Shanda. “Dr. Kasznica and Midwest ENT & Allergy helped us piece together a series of reactions over the course of a year and shared with us the ways we can prevent, or lessen, severe reactions in the future.”

For Jemma, learning about her allergies was a relief to discover what was actually causing her problems. “I am glad that I did the allergy testing,” Jemma said. “It didn’t hurt and now I know what has been causing the reactions.”

Jemma is now happy and healthy and headed into her second semester of 7th grade a little more prepared and aware of how to control and take care of her allergies.

Call Midwest ENT & Allergy to schedule your, or your family member’s, comprehensive allergy consultation today.

Midwest Ear, Nose & Throat
2315 West 57th Street  •  Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57108  •  605-336-3503  •  Toll-free 888-336-3503  •  Fax 605-336-6010