As we head into August, the heat and humidity are slightly subsiding. However, the Ragweed pollen-better known as Hay Fever starts pollinating by early next week. I strongly advise my patients that are aware that they are allergic to Ragweed to pre-empt the inevitable symptoms of sneezing, nasal congestion and watery eyes with specific medications before the season hits its peak – usually around Labor Day weekend.
Will My Allergies Ever Go Away?
The over-the-counter antihistamines can be helpful but they are definitely not as effective as prescription nasal sprays or prescription eye drops. The question I get from patients is: will this problem ever go away? Do I always have to be dependent on nasal sprays and medications to control my symptoms? Do I have to get painful allergy shots?
There is a more natural and long-term solution to Hay fever problem as well as other air-borne allergens – it’s called immunotherapy.
What is Allergy Immunotherapy?
If you are not sure what immunotherapy is, you probably recognize when someone with allergies says, “I go for allergy shots.” Allergy shots work but they can be painful and inconvenient and sometimes dangerous as you can have a severe or fatal systemic reaction.
The good news is that you can now get that same benefit in a natural way by doing allergy drops. Its fancy name is Sublingual allergy immunotherapy. It’s been done all over the world for two decades – mainly in Southern Europe but also in Canada and England.
I’ve been using sublingual allergy drops in my office for the past 12 years with very good success. Many of my patients need minimal or no medications while they are taking the natural drops under their tongue and the better news is that even after stopping patients in most cases retain this immune protection.
Why haven’t you heard more about this therapy?
Well, in 2006, my book Dr. Dean Mitchell’s Allergy and Asthma Solution tried to get it to the masses but since Oprah or Dr. Oz hasn’t invited me on their TV shows the work lingers in semi-obscurity. But I have faith, that in the next two years this therapy will be widely available to allergy patients all over the country.
In the meantime, keep an eye on those pollen counts and have your medicine ready – don’t wait until you’re miserable. The best part of being an allergist/immunologist is that we can get people better and keep suffering to a minimum or get rid of it completely.
How Effective is Allergy Immunotherapy or Allergy Drops at Treating Allergies?
With my patients, allergy drops have been a far more effective treatment than allergy shots mainly due to patient compliance. Due to the high amount of in-office visits that are required for allergy shots, it only has a compliance rate of 30-40%. In my office, patients who get the allergy drops treatment have a 97% compliance with the treatment which makes it far more effective.
Why are Antihistamines Not Effective for Allergy Symptoms?
Antihistamines and traditional allergy treatments at best only offer transitory relief from the symptoms of allergies. Allergy drops treat the underlying conditions of allergies which allows them to effectively cure your allergies.
To fully appreciate the difference between treating the symptoms and curing the actual condition, consider the following example. Let’s suppose that you are laid up with fever, chills and a terrible cough due to a secondary infection, such as bronchitis, and that I gave you two aspirin. Within a short time, twenty minutes or so, you would likely feel better – and would continue to feel better for the next few hours. However, once those few hours passed, you’d be feeling just as wretched as you did before.
The aspirin provides immediate and temporary relief of the symptoms, but it does nothing to address the underlying infection that makes you feel so bad. If, on the other hand, I started you on a course of antibiotics, although it might take a bit longer for the symptoms to lift, the relief would be lasting. The same principle applies to the newest allergy treatment: allergy immunotherapy or allergy drops.
You now have at your fingertips an effective means to reverse the allergy itself – and a few drops a day is all it takes.
– Dr. Dean Mitchell M.D.
Mitchell Medical Group, NYC & Long Island