Springtime Allergies: Is It Time For Allergy Shots?

Jennifer Derebery, M.D., physician at the House Clinic and leading expert on the treatment of allergies, believes there a several options available to people with significant symptoms before starting allergy shots.

“One option that is not well known at this time is prescription intranasal sprays, particularly the newer classes of intranasal antihistamines, which provide topical decongestant relief for patients without the ‘addiction’ that many fear, nor the use of steroids in the nose,” said Dr. Derebery.

She also recommends environmental avoidance to her patients, which means minimizing exposure to outdoor allergens, including pollen.

Here are Dr. Derebery’s tips:
• Stay indoors during the times of heaviest pollen counts – 5 a.m.-10 a.m.
• Keep windows closed
• Pollen is worse on windy days, and especially with Santa Ana’s
• Tree pollen count goes up after 3 consecutive days with temperatures of 65 degrees or higher
• Take a shower after being outside to lessen pollen exposure indoors

Allergy shots may be necessary if a person has moderate to severe symptoms for four or more months out of the year and environmental avoidance and/or appropriately prescribed medications do not provide relief.

Allergy shots allow a person’s immune system to learn to tolerate exposure to substances that would normally cause a person to have an allergic reaction, with symptoms such as a runny nose, nasal congestion and itchy eyes.

Dr. Derebery cautions allergy shots will only lessen the symptoms and some people will still need to use medications as an addition to the shots for better control.

“Allergies are a chronic condition, often genetic, caused by a person’s overly reactive immune system and it is unrealistic for people to think allergy shots will ‘cure’ them. But, the shots, called immunotherapy, can make a big difference in the comfort level and health of a patient when medications are not enough to control symptoms,” said Dr. Derebery.

About the House Ear Institute
The House Ear Institute (HEI) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to advancing hearing science through research and education to improve quality of life. HEI scientists investigate the cellular and molecular causes of hearing loss and related auditory disorders as well as neurological processes pertaining to the human auditory system and the brain. Our researchers also explore technology advancements to improve auditory implants, hearing aids, diagnostic techniques and rehabilitation tools. The Institute shares its knowledge with the scientific and medical communities as well as the general public through its education and outreach programs.

Source: House Ear Institute

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