Are you tired of struggling to manage hay fever? If so, you’re not alone. The Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America reports that hay fever, medically known as allergic rhinitis, affects over 6 million children and 20 million adults. Airborne allergens like pollen, grass, or pet dander cause uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, congestion, sneezing, and runny nose.
At Memorial Village ENT, board-certified ear, nose and throat physician Conrad McCutcheon, MD, FACS, has years of experience treating allergies. Our team offers a variety of allergy treatments, ranging from oral medications to allergy shots to sublingual immunotherapy, aka allergy drops.
If you’re struggling with allergies, here’s what you need to know about shot-free sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops).
What is sublingual immunotherapy?
Shot-free sublingual immunotherapy is a type of allergy treatment. It is commonly called allergy drops. “Lingual” refers to your tongue, and “sub” means under, so “sublingual” means the drops are administered under your tongue.
How do allergy drops work?
When your body is exposed to large amounts of a particular allergen, your immune system triggers a response in the hopes of getting rid of that allergen. For example, if you walk outside and there’s a lot of pollen in the air, your body tries to get rid of the pollen through sneezing or through a runny nose.
Allergy drops are designed to desensitize your immune system. The drops gradually expose your immune system to small amounts of a specific allergen; over time, your immune system doesn’t react as severely or intensely when exposed to that allergen.
The allergy drops introduce just a small amount to your body. Instead of triggering a reaction, the drops help your body learn to tolerate the allergen. This is in stark contrast to oral antihistamines, which are designed to ease your symptoms such as sneezing or itchy eyes. Immunotherapy addresses the root of the problem.
When you come to Memorial Village ENT, Dr. McCutcheon will review your medical history and symptoms. The skin test administered by our trained allergy tech will help the doctor pinpoint the specific allergens you are sensitive to and recommend an allergy drop regimen specific to you. You will receive your first drops right here in our office. After that, you will take the drops at home. Over time, the dose gradually increases so your body has time to adapt to the presence of the allergen.
Benefits of Allergy Drop
There are many reasons to consider allergy drops. One of the most alluring benefits is that it is shot-free. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of injections, you don’t have to miss out on allergy drops!
Other benefits include:
- Easier to administer and more convenient - Allergy shots patients often have to come into the office twice a week for their shots as they are reluctant / uncomfortable with giving shots to themselves.
- Less maintenance - Most patients receiving allergy drops only needs to come in once every 2 months
- Safe and effective — one recent study demonstrated that the drops have fewer side effects when compared to shots
- Compatible for year-round allergies and seasonal allergies
Allergy shots and allergy drops are both equally effective types of immunotherapy, but allergy drops are hands down easier and safer!
If you need relief from allergies, contact us today to schedule an appointment. You can call our Houston, Texas, office at 281-822-3777, or you can request an appointment online with our easy-to-use scheduling tool.