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Controlling seasonal allergies and an alternative to allergy shots

QUEENS — Feeling like your allergies are in overdrive?

Nearly 50 million Americans will suffer from some combination of a runny nose, watery and itchy eyes or sneezing as their allergy symptoms ramp up.

Ethan Bissoon has suffered from asthma and allergies since he was one.

He's heading into Northwell Health's division of Allergy and Immunology to get some relief.

Ethan's allergies have been controlled by taking Claritin and Asthmanex, but this year, it's been tough- he has to limit his time outside, cutting his baseball games short, zoo trips, and he even wears wrap around glasses to keep the pollen out. Ethan says this has been the worst season ever for his allergies.

Now that Ethan is 10 years old, his mother wants to explore weekly allergy shots to improve his condition.

After being treated with oral medications, Dr. Punita Ponda explains how the shots will affect him differently. “The shots are the thing you are allergic to and you get a small dose that is very diluted. He will get these on a weekly basis for 6 to 9 months to teach your immune system not to have allergies to those things.”

A weekly shot may scare some people away but there's hope. There's a new FDA approved version called Sublingual Immunotherapy in which the patient is given a small dose of an allergen under the tongue to boost tolerance.

For all those suffering from allergies, Dr. Ponda has some advice:

  • First figure out what you're allergic to and avoid it. If you can avoid exposure do it, shower at night, and avoid outdoor activity.
  • Dr. Ponda says the next step is to start over the counter medicine. If that's not helping, see a specialist.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies,  another good tool is pollen.com,  in which you can check the daily pollen count in your area to see if you may want to limit you time outside.

For more information, click here.

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