Allergy Newsletter Fall 2012 : Page 1
ALLERGY DROP THERAPY Allergic nasal symptoms that include nasal stuffiness, nasal irritation, nasal drainage, sneezing and itching are common among patients affected by inhalant allergies. The mainstay of treatment for this condition, known as allergic rhinitis, is to avoid the substances to which you are allergic or to treat your symptoms with medication. The most common medications are antihistamines and nasal steroids. When medications and avoidance fail to significantly alleviate symptoms, specific immunotherapy is often recommended. Immunotherapy is a form of treatment designed to reduce your allergic reaction over a period of time. The most traditional form of immunotherapy is subcutaneous immunotherapy, sometimes called allergy shots. With this form of therapy, specific allergens to which you are found to be allergic through skin testing are administered by weekly or twice-a-week injections. An alternative to weekly shots is sublingual immunotherapy, or allergy drops. This form of immunotherapy has gained in popularity during the past A good alternative to weekly sh ts decade. Patients can take their specific antigen solution by mouth at home. An article published in the February 2011 issue of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery addressed the effectiveness and safety of allergy drops for allergic rhinitis. In this study, the results of published clinical trials for using allergy drops in adults and children were evaluated. Forty-nine separate trials were included in this study. Possibly most importantly, none of the patients in these 49 studies had severe reactions to allergy drops, as can occasionally occur with shots. The study concluded that allergy drops are effective and safe for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Allergy drops may be a good option for you if you continue to suffer from allergies despite avoiding your triggers and taking allergy medications. To schedule an appointment at the University of Missouri Health Care’s ENT and Allergy Center of Missouri, please call (573) 817-3000. Reference: Burton MJ, Krouse JH, Rosenfeld RM: “Extracts from the Cochrane Library: Sublingual Immunotherapy for Allergic Rhinitis,” OtoHNS 144 (2) 149-153, 2011. ALLERGY SEASON weather extremes increase mold count This past spring and summer have been intense for allergy symptoms – far beyond what we normally experience. The question is, why? Or did we really just forget how bad it was last year? It turns out, this year was actually worse, and the reason is the unusual weather patterns that began last winter. As you may recall, the winter was mild with very little deep freezing. Normally, when the freeze is adequate, molds are frozen and become dormant. This past winter, few outdoor molds were frozen, leaving a leftover mold base. When spring arrived, the moisture was greater than 65 percent relative humidity (the degree of moisture required for mold growth), allowing the mold count to be many times higher than normal. Once the weather got warmer, the mold spores dried out and were lifted by the wind and distributed widely through the air. Normally after the spring season, the mold concentration drops off rapidly as the spores come back to the ground and the relative humidity drops below 65 percent. But this year, we experienced drought conditions. The extended hot and arid climate again dried out the mold spores which were easily lifted back into the air with a mild breeze. This process continued throughout the summer and into early fall, far beyond the normal mold cessation period, resulting in the prolonged allergy season.