Allergy sufferers have had it rough the past couple of years. Last season the prolonged winter in many parts of the country pushed spring allergies into the summer, effectively condensing allergy seasons. According to the Weather Channel, Dr. Clifford Bassett previously mentioned we could also blame last year's harsh allergy season on the exponential increase in carbon dioxide, a phenomenon known as "the priming effect" – when temperatures rise or fall quickly in a short amount of time – and pollen-producing male trees. This year, the warm winter actually caused many spring allergies to pop up sooner than normal.
For those who often lug around bottles of nasal spray and packets of allergy medicine, you're probably on the verge of just taking a season off and staying inside all summer. But what if we said you could train your body so it didn't react to common allergies like pollen or ragweed? If this sounds like a dream, it's anything but.
"With SCIT and SLIT, allergies may have finally found their match."
Using alternative treatment methods called subcutaneous immunotherapy and sublingual immunotherapy, allergies may have finally met their match. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, SCIT is a two-treatment procedure that consists of doctors administering consistent injections of allergen extract and issuing a "maintenance phase." During the last phase, doctors only inject the allergen extract around once a month.
AAAAI points out that one of the main issues with SCIT is that patients often have a difficult time staying on schedule. Their busy lives typically don't afford them enough time to visit their doctors once a month, let alone on multiple occasions. Because of this, these patients should consider sublingual immunotherapy.
We consider SLIT a substitute treatment to the already alternative SCIT procedure. Unlike SCIT, SLIT is much less invasive because it's provided orally to patients in small amounts. Patients can also take the medication themselves, and it lasts upwards of three years, although this time frame may be person dependent. Further, for allergy sufferers who typically travel, storage is easy: The tablets are small and only have to be refrigerated.
For those who may be skeptical about forgoing over-the-counter medication and using an alternative treatment, don't be! In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first sublingual allergen extract to treat hay fever for people between the ages of 10 and 65. Using these tablets is also not unlike many of the other tablets you might find in your local pharmacy. We always recommend starting your allergy regimen well before allergy season begins. This gives your immune system enough time to buildup the appropriate defenses to manage reactions.