The Next Wave, Allergy Drops: During the last 70 years, state-of-the-art treatment for allergies has been shots, also known as allergy immunotherapy. By receiving small quantities over time of the exact allergens the patient is allergic to, physicians can reduce and potentially eliminate the patient’s allergies. But oral allergy drops could be the wave of the future. An exciting new study recently released offers allergy sufferers an alternative treatment to the traditional shots.
The study, out of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This scientific review of more than 60 published studies on the use of oral allergy drops, in more than 5,000 European patients, proves them to be an effective option in treating allergy symptoms. The typical allergens used in this review included pollens, dust mites, pet dander and molds. This could potentially be good news for the 40-plus million allergy sufferers in the United States, especially those who hate getting stuck with a needle.
Allergy drops are similar to shots; however, the allergen is taken underneath the tongue, instead of being injected into the arm. Children, adolescents and adults who have allergies in the US may find this approach appealing, as the drops can be taken at home, as opposed to the doctor's office. Researchers cautioned allergy sufferers to weigh the pros and cons of receiving this treatment before making a decision. There are some side effects associated with the oral allergy drops, including itchiness of the mouth, but no life-threatening reactions were reported.
The drops are currently only available in Europe, as well as some other countries abroad. At the present time, there are no companies producing an oral allergy drop in the US that's been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In my opinion, it appears likely the sublingual oral allergy drops for treatment of allergic asthma and allergies will be widely available at an allergist’s office near you in the coming years. As always, see an allergist for recommendations on the best course of effective allergy care and treatment.
Medications Work: Effective and safe choices for relief include: OTC nasal saline sprays/rinses, prescription nasal steroid and antihistamines, oral antihistamines, leukotriene blockers and allergy eye drops.
Clean the Air: At home or when driving, keep windows closed and set the air conditioner on “re-circulate” to keep out the pollens. Clean filters in air conditioners frequently during allergy season to get the best efficiency. The MERV is a rating scale that tells you how good a filter is at removing allergens in your home. The higher the rating, the better off you are. Look for a MERV value of 11-12.
Avoid Window Fans: This is a rather good way to bring in unwanted pollens or mold spores. If you don’t want that, skip window fans.
Avoid Cross-Reactions: As many as 1 in 3 seasonal allergy sufferers may experience “oral allergy syndrome” (tingling of the mouth or itchy throat) after ingesting certain foods (apples, pears, carrots, celery, peaches, cherries, as well as almonds and hazelnuts). If you have seasonal tree pollen allergies, this is due to a cross-reaction between the proteins in these foods and the pollens. Melons, tomatoes and oranges may cross-react with grass pollens. If you are sensitive to weed pollens watch out for melon, chamomile tea, and banana. Review this Seasonal Allergy Cross-Reaction Chart.
Enjoy the great outdoors this season with these simple, practical and proven ways to stay allergy-free!