Respiratory Conditions

Seasonal Allergies: Which Medication Is Right for You?

Immunotherapy may help if other medications don’t relieve your symptoms. One form of allergen immunotherapy is allergy shots in which your body responds to injected amounts of a particular allergen, given in gradually increasing doses, by developing immunity or tolerance to that allergen.

Patients can receive injections from a health care provider; a common course of treatment would begin with weekly injections for two to three months until the maximum dose is reached. After that, treatment could continue monthly for three to five years.

Another form of allergen immunotherapy therapy involves administering the allergens in a tablet form under the tongue (sublingual) and are intended for daily use, before and during the pollen season. These medications have the potential for dialing down the immune response to allergens and are not meant for immediate symptom relief, says Kelty. Sublingual therapy should start three to four months before allergy season. Although they are intended for at-home use, these are prescription medications, and the first doses are to be taken in the presence of a health care provider.

Always read the label before buying an OTC product for you or your children, says Kelty. “Some products can be used in children as young as 2 years, but others are not appropriate for children of any age.” Talk to your health care professional if your child needs to use nasal steroid spray for more than two months a year.

This article appears on the FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.