Spring arrives in an explosion of tree buds, dandelions, and lush green grass. You open your windows to savor the scent of freshly dug earth and the cheerful chirping of robins, but your immune system takes offense at the pollen in the air. T-cells trigger a reaction, and soon, sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy eyes take over. Within an hour, congestion might rob you of the ability to smell much of anything.

For a quarter of U.S. adults, the misery of seasonal allergies is all too familiar. Springtime brings an onslaught of grass pollen from varieties like sweet vernal, Timothy, and Kentucky bluegrass. Just as spring subsides and relief seems near, fall allergies hit, with an estimated 50 million people in the U.S. reacting to ragweed pollen. And if you’re among the 20 million who suffer from allergies to the tiny mites in household dust, your symptoms might persist year-round.

Traditional Remedies and Their Limits

Over-the-counter medications like nasal steroids, decongestants, and antihistamines can mask symptoms, providing temporary relief. However, addressing the root cause of allergies requires more than symptom management. Allergy shots (immunotherapy) have long been the gold standard for those with positive skin tests for specific allergens.

Immunotherapy works by introducing tiny amounts of the allergen into the body over time, teaching the immune system not to react. Despite its effectiveness, the inconvenience of frequent doctor visits and the discomfort of injections can be deterrents.


Exciting developments in allergy treatment are offering hope for long-term relief. Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) represents a significant advancement, providing a form of “exposure therapy” that can be administered at home. FDA-approved SLIT tablets are available for specific allergens, including ragweed, house dust mites, and various grass pollens.

These tablets dissolve quickly under the tongue, making them easy to use. By retraining the immune system over several years, SLIT can lead to enduring benefits even after treatment stops.

Benefits and Considerations of SLIT

Side effects of SLIT are generally mild, such as throat irritation or itching in the mouth and ears. However, some individuals may experience swelling of the lips and tongue. SLIT is not recommended for those with severe asthma, and the first dose should be taken under medical supervision to monitor for any severe reactions.

In addition to FDA-approved tablets, some allergy specialists offer custom “allergy drops,” a personalized serum made from the same extracts used in allergy shots. These drops are placed under the tongue with a dropper. However, because these mixtures are not FDA-regulated, they might not be covered by insurance and can be costly.

Patience Pays Off

It’s important to note that SLIT won’t provide immediate relief. Benefits can take a few weeks to manifest, but as the immune system learns not to overreact, symptoms will improve, allowing you to enjoy the seasons once again.      

FDA-Approved SLIT




Short ragweed pollen

5-65 years


House dust mites

12-65 years


Timothy grass

5-65 years



Grass pollen (sweet vernal, orchard, perennial rye, timothy, or Kentucky bluegrass)

5-65 years


By exploring these innovative treatment options, you can find more than just temporary relief from allergy symptoms. Whether through convenient tablets or personalized drops, long-term solutions are now within reach, promising a future where you can truly embrace the changing seasons without the burden of allergies.


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