Information about our upcoming Grass season

As we are winding down with tree season our next allergen those of us may suffer with is grass pollen allergy.

Some facts that one should be aware of with regard to grass pollen is that an allergy to grass is universal. If one is allergic to one type of grass, then one is allergic to all types of grass.

The usual symptoms that one can report having a grass allergy is itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, itchy ears, and itchy throat, and nasal symptoms such as nasal congestion and postnasal drip especially when exposed to freshly cut grass.

There are a few approaches to treatment of grass allergy. They are as follows:

1–environmental controls:
Avoidance of being outdoors especially when grass has been mowed.
The use of HEPA filters in the home and keeping the windows shut.

2–medication control:
The use of eye drops, nasal sprays such as inhaled nasal steroids and or anti-histamine nasal sprays, antihistamines, decongestants and expectorants are classically used for symptom control. For those patients who are more severe, the use of oral steroids may be of benefit or an injection of steroid as well.

3–subcutaneous immunotherapy=SCIT vs. sublingual immunotherapy=SLIT

Now, for patient’s who have a documented grass allergy, they may have the option before the season to start sublingual(underneath the tongue) immunotherapy specifically to grass pollen formally known as Grastek for treatment and ultimate cure of grass allergy. This may be started in your allergist office but may be continued regularly in your home avoiding continuous visits to your allergist’s office and is used regularly for prophylaxis.

The more classic, approach has been subcutaneous immunotherapy=SCIT which has been around for countless years. The premise of this process is one of desensitization to the specific allergen that one is allergic to. In this case, we are referring to grass pollen. This process may take months to get to adequate levels to insure effective relief of symptoms and requires once maintenance is reached monthly injections for a three-year period.

For patients who have multiple allergies that is not only to grass, it is possible to combine both subcutaneous immunotherapy along with sublingual immunotherapy.

This should be something to consider for those people who suffer with grass pollen allergy. To determine, if one has an allergy, consult with an allergist who will be able to perform the necessary allergy testing and discuss viable treatment options.

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Rego Park Medical