When an allergen enters the body, the immune system kicks in to counter to the effects. In most cases, the immune systems produces histamine, which causes the symptoms typically associated with allergies and hay fever: headaches, sneezing, watery or itchy eyes, nasal congestion and scratchy throat. Allergic substances range from pollens to environmental and chemical pollutants. Smoking can also contribute to nasal congestion. To treat allergies, most people need to reduceg exposure to the allergen and take medication, often antihistamines and nasal decongestants. For more severe cases, allergy shots may be needed to build up the body's immune response to the allergen over time.
Molds, dust and dry air are the most common culprits of environmentally induced allergies. These can be assessed by your doctor through physical examination and skin tests. If the allergic response is severe, your doctor may recommend allergy shots to build up an immunity to the allergens and alleviate your symptoms.
Your ear, nose and throat allergist is a specialist who can diagnose and treat allergies affecting the ear, nsse and throat. We refer to allergy problems in this area of the body as OTLARYNGIC ALLERGIES.
Despite advances in allergy care during the past couple of decades, there are still only a limited acceptable set of ways to approach allergy care:
1. Avoidance of the offending allergens - once identified you must avoid and/or eliminate your exposure or contact with it. Unfortunately, avoidance may not work for things such as dust, molds, and animals.
2. Pharmacotherapy - antihistamines/nasal sprays/medications; and
3. Immunotherapy - allergy shots or desensitization. The allergist can help alter the body's overactive immune response by injections. These are mixed on an individual basis once allergy testing has been done. Keep reading for another way of achieving desensitization.
Sublingual Drops Therapy
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is an alternative way to treat allergies without injections. An allergist gives a patient small doses of an allergen under the tongue to boost tolerance to the substance and reduce symptoms. Currently, the only forms of SLIT approved by the FDA are tablets for ragweed and grass pollen. The safety and efficacy of allergy drops is still being established by the FDA, and they are only used off-label in the United States.
Is Sublingual Immunotherapy Effective and Safe?
Most clinical trials and surveys published over at least 20 years show that SLIT is relatively safe and effective for the treatment of rhinitis and asthma caused by allergies to dust mites, grass, ragweed, cat dander, and tree pollens. Evidence is emerging that SLIT may be effective for treating the red, itchy eyes caused by pollen during hay fever season. In addition, it might prove an effective therapy for children with mild eczema and is currently being studied for its potential in treating food allergies.
Side effects among both children and adults are usually local and mild, most often occur early in treatment, and include itching in the mouth or stomach problems. These can usually be managed by dose adjustments. Very rarely, severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) have been reported using SLIT. Therefore this treatment is best prescribed by an allergist. For the most part, SLIT risks relate to the nature of the treatment: it is administered at home and without direct medical supervision. Patients should therefore receive clear guidance from allergists on managing adverse reactions and treatment interruptions and should know when to consult the prescribing allergist.