If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you could get a jump on the upcoming season with a therapy aimed at helping you reduce symptoms before they start and helping you build long-term tolerance. Preseasonal allergy drops, or sublingual immunotherapy, could help you build tolerance to key tree or grass allergies with a treatment that begins before the season starts. The objective? Fewer symptoms once pollens are in full bloom and ultimately, elimination of symptoms.
Sublingual immunotherapy works similar to allergy shots, however doses of allergens are delivered under the tongue in a liquid form. Though the method is currently considered an off label use of the same antigens used in allergy shots, its use is growing and is currently under review for approval by the FDA. The Agency for Healthcare Research Quality released last year indicates that sublingual immunotherapy is a safe and effective treatment to address seasonal allergies. Spring’s blooming trees and grass can impact nearly 20 percent of the population. Hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, affects an estimated 40 to 60 million Americans and causes symptoms of sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose and a burning or itchy sensation in the throat or palate. Spring allergies are mostly commonly caused by tree and grass pollen; however spring molds can releases spores into the air and impact allergy sufferers. Wet winters can provide an ideal breeding ground for mold. Seasonal weather fluctuations can play a role in the severity of the upcoming allergy seasons. Rain can decrease and increase various pollens counts.
While we may experience initial relief by rain’s ability to reducing tree pollen counts, it may also spur the growth of grass pollen later in the spring. Allergy sufferers can follow local pollen counts to gauge pollen fluctuations. Symptoms may be lower on days that are rainy, cloudy, or windless, because pollen does not move or has limited movement during these conditions. Likewise, hot, dry, and windy weather signals greater pollen and mold distribution and may cause greater allergy symptoms. Allergic reactions can range from simple sneezing to more serious reactions. Allergies can also cause skin irritations and breathing problems or asthma. Over time, the symptoms can also cause fatigue, insomnia and problems with concentration and work performance. They can also increase the risk of ear infections and sinusitis.
The first step toward treating allergies is testing to determine exactly what individuals are allergic to, as well as the level of sensitivity, in order to develop a custom treatment based on the patient’s specific conditions. If symptoms continue or last throughout the year, year-round immunotherapy could be a good option.
Dr. Saurabh Shah at Granger Medical Clinic ENT offers sublingual immunotherapy year round to treat a variety of allergens as well as preseasonal therapy for those with limited seasonal allergies. This treatment helps the immune system learn to tolerate an individual’s specific allergies, and lessens the symptoms as well as the need for future medications. The drops can be taken at home by the patient, eliminating the need for frequent office visits for treatment. Allergy drops also enable a broader range of patients with a wider range of allergies to be treated including common seasonal allergies as well as year-round offenders like pet dander, dust and mold. Because of the excellent safety profile of allergy drops, young children, asthmatics, highly sensitive patients and those with other related chronic conditions can be treated.
For more information about allergy treatment options or appointments, contact the office of Dr. Saurabh Shah, MD at 801.965.3484.