By Dr. Joshua Levinger
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, 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 goal is fewer symptoms once pollens are in full bloom and ultimately, elimination of symptoms.
Sublingual immunotherapy works like allergy shots; however, doses are delivered under the tongue in a liquid form, which is currently considered an off-label treatment of an FDA approved product. The treatment has been approved in a standardized tablet formulation for grass and ragweed.
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 release 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 influence various pollens counts. While we may experience initial relief by rain’s ability to reduce tree pollen counts, it may also spur the growth of grass pollen later in the spring as well as mold allergies. 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 a physical exam, review of medical history, and testing to identify specific allergens and the level of sensitivity to develop a custom treatment based on the patient’s unique allergic fingerprint. If symptoms continue or last throughout the year, year-round immunotherapy is often recommended.
Dr. Levinger offers sublingual immunotherapy year round to treat a variety of allergens as well as pre-seasonal 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.
Don’t let spring allergies control your ability to enjoy the outdoors this year. Talk with your doctor about whether allergy drops might help you build tolerance so you can reduce your symptoms and better enjoy the outdoors.
Contact us to find out if allergy drops might be a good choice for you. For more information about allergy treatment options or appointments, contact Dr. Joshua Levinger at ProCare Otolaryngology, 540 W. 5th Street, Suite 410, Odessa, TX 79761. (432) 640-6360.