Itchy, watery eyes, runny nose and lots of congestion. If you have hay fever or other seasonal allergies, you know the feeling . You can take medication or have a series of shots, but, for some people a new therapy may be easier and relieve some symptoms.
Allergy specialists like Doctor Deborah Gentile, from Allegheny Health Network, have a new treatment for patients with moderate or serious grass allergies. It’s called sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT.
“Instead of taking the extract that we traditionally use in allergy shots and having to give you a shot, that extract has been taken and made into oral formulations that dissolve under the tongue,” Dr. Gentile explains.
You take the pills daily, starting 12 weeks before grass pollen season. However, Dr. Jeffrey Rosch, from Central Pa. Asthma and Allergy Care says SLIT won’t take care of all of your allergies.
He says, “certainly anyone who is grass allergic can be helped, but the trouble is that most of those people are allergic to other things.”
Dr Rosch says most people usually have more trouble with trees, molds, mites, and animals, none of which are yet covered by the sublingual tablets.
“It’s acceptance has been very, very limited in areas where there are very long grass seasons, such as in the south, especially Texas, those areas. They’ve had a very, very large acceptance of it,” he says.
SLIT therapy is also available for ragweed allergy, which occurs in the fall, but so far, the treatments only cover grass and ragweed.