A pill a day keeps spring allergies away. In a perfect world, it would be that easy. And for those suffering from an allergy to some grasses, the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval of the oral dissolvable tablets designed to help treat symptoms may be beneficial. But for the majority of seasonal sufferers allergic to pollens from the more than 30 other pollinating species, relief isn't that easy.
"The approval of oral immunotherapy tablets is advancement in the right direction," said allergist Michael Foggs, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "It's an additional treatment option for those who are allergic to some types of grasses, but not those allergic to other varieties of grass, trees and weeds."
According to ACAAI, those with seasonal allergies can be affected by the pollen of 11 different types of weeds and trees, and eight varieties of grass. Mold is also problematic in the spring, summer and fall months.
Fortunately, there is a long-standing solution for those suffering from multiple allergies. Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, has been used for 100 years and is a natural treatment. Each injection can be customized to an individual's allergic needs. Allergy shots can modify and prevent allergy progression while also relieving symptoms. They are also fast acting and cost-efficient.
"It would be ideal if tablets could be customized like allergy shots, but that's not on the horizon yet," said Dr. Foggs. "Since allergy treatment is not a one-size-fits-all approach, treatment needs to be tailored to an individual's needs."
Although the approved tablets are beneficial only for those suffering from some forms of grass allergy, the FDA's approval will help open the door for others getting approved, such as tablets for ragweed and dust mite allergy.
The best way to conquer allergy symptoms is to avoid allergens, according to the ACAAI. During the spring sneezing season, sufferers should: • Limit time outdoors when pollen counts are highest (midday and afternoon hours) • Keep windows in the car and home closed • Wash hair after working or exercising outdoors
Allergy sufferers should talk with their board-certified allergist to learn which treatment is best suited for their needs.
Materials provided by American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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