-Seasonal allergy-

It is that time of the year again! As the temperature rises, trees, grass and other plants activate their growth cycle rapidly. The reproduction of plants release pollens into our atmosphere which causes an estimated 10 million Canadians to suffer from allergy symptoms. Allergy season seems to get worse and worse every year because our climate is becoming warmer than normal globally each year.

Allergic symptoms occur because our immune system is hyperactive and becomes oversensitive to allergens. Risks of allergy development include genetics, stress, allergen exposure, and body toxic burden.

Upon exposure to allergens, our immune system will produce specific antibodies to the allergens. These antibodies will trigger a cascade of immune reactions which include the migrate of Mast cells towards the surface of our nose, eyes, throat and lungs. Once the Mast cells are in place and the allergens come into contact, the Mast cells will release a chemical called Histamine in response to exposure. Histamine causes dilation of blood vessels, which translates into swollen skin, contraction of smooth muscles and hypersecretion of fluids.

The Histamine release explains why we have stuffy nose, itchy watery eyes, scratchy throat, sneezing, coughing and asthma attack (in asthmatic patients)

Pollen schedule of
British Columbia:

Tree (Mar-May)

Grass (May- Jul)

Weed (Jul-Oct)

Conventional Treatments:

1)     Over-the-counter antihistamines such as Benadryl, Reactine, Allegra, Claritin, and Aerius etc

I am sure everyone including me has used these at some point of our lives. Eventually none of these medications will work for us because our immune systems became adapted to them.

2)     Allergy shot

Allergy shots are done at the specialist’s office. It can be time consuming, and painful as you will need it done as frequent as weekly. This will require a referral by your family doctor. So far it is proven to work well for severe allergic cases. But what about the rest of us who aren’t the extreme cases?

Latest Allergy Treatment

1)     SLIT (Sublingual Immunotherapy)

This type of treatment represents 70% of allergy treatments in Europe. In Canada, we are slowly transitioning towards SLIT instead of allergy shots because of its effectiveness and practicality. It has been proven to work in over 60 clinical trials.

How does SLIT work

Patients will be screened to find out their specific sensitivities at our office first. This will confirm their allergen type(s) and allow specific solutions to be compounded for them.

SLIT is given as drops under the tongue 3 times daily. It works by building our immune tolerance to the allergen. Every drop introduces very small amount of allergen(s) to gradually teach our body to tolerate the allergens. The daily drops simulate exposure and our immune system will be desensitized to the allergens in time. SLIT is initially used during allergy season, but as symptoms improve, we recommend using it pre-season which means 30-60 days prior to allergy season to prepare our body’s defense.

SLIT will reduce your dependency to antihistamine medications. It is easy to use even on young children. Unlike allergy shots, it is painless and requires no time away from work or school due to appointments at your specialist’s office.

Majority of patients experience significant symptom relief within initial few months of SLIT. As with all allergy immunotherapy including shots, it is recommended to continue for 3-5yrs for permanent desensitization.

Insurance Coverage

SLIT serums are compounded with a Drug Identification Number (DIN) which are recognized by most extended health care plan for cost reimbursement. This in my opinion is the best treatment for allergies because of its efficacy and cost saving benefit.

For more information on SLIT, visit www.westernallergy.com or ask me about
it at the clinic.