March 9, 2016

Feel your best during the worst of the pollen season

Author: Mary Morris, MD, ABIM

Do your allergies seem to get worse during the spring season, or flare up in late summer months? We sometimes see that even patients doing well under sublingual immunotherapy treatment can see symptom spikes during “hot” times of the year when pollens peak — when trees, grass and ragweed bloom, and when the heating systems turn on as the weather turns colder and dust mites proliferate.

Sneezing, coughing, runny nose are hallmark symptoms along with that foggy dazed “not feeling good” syndrome. We often hear of the person who gets a “cold” at the same time of the year — every year — that is actually an allergy flare up. For them, adding a preseasonal booster can help get them through the pollen season.

Preseasonal sublingual immunotherapy treatment, also known as rush immunotherapy, is an add-on treatment that is used for those with severe seasonal allergy symptoms to weeds, trees, grasses, and dust mites before and during pollen seasons.

Preseasonal sublingual immunotherapy treatment, also known as rush immunotherapy, is an add-on treatment that is used for those with severe seasonal allergy symptoms to weeds, trees, grasses, and dust mites before and during pollen seasons.Over the past decade, we developed a preseasonal treatment in conjunction with year-round allergy treatment following the La Crosse Method™ Protocol. Treatment begins eight weeks before the allergen season starts. The goal is to build tolerance to an allergen before the season begins, so that when pollens are at their worst, your sensitivity to that allergen — for example, grass, trees (“cedar fever” from mountain cedar), ragweed or dust mites — is reduced through the boost of the preseasonal treatment.

We find that patients who respond best include those who:

  • Test positive via skin or blood testing for that allergen and experience seasonal symptoms
  • Are receiving year round sublingual immunotherapy treatment for that allergen

The concept is similar to some of the new sublingual tablets that just arrived on the market to treat seasonal allergies, though we pair the treatment with year-round therapy that typically treats many allergens simultaneously. Very rarely will we find a patient with only one allergy, so pairing the seasonal allergen with year-round therapy helps bring their overall allergy load down more quickly. We also find that preseasonal treatment is well-suited for some patients who may not be candidates for the tablets because of their age or other health conditions, such as uncontrolled asthma.

If you think you might benefit from a pre-season boost so you can enjoy more and suffer less from the pollen season, consider talking with your doctor about sublingual allergy treatment.

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