nasal congestion

Is Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis) Treatable?

Seasonal hay fever (also known as allergic rhinitis) affects many people across the world. Hay fever usually appears in childhood and presents symptoms like nasal congestion, itching, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and asthma.

For many, it’s a simple irritation that can be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines, but for others, it can have a significant impact on quality of life.

For such people, allergy injections (subcutaneous immunotherapy, or SCIT) are a treatment option that can offer long-term relief.

There are two stages to allergy shot treatment. The first stage is frequent injections of increasing volumes of allergen extract. This is followed by a maintenance phase in which the shots are administered about once a month.

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) allergy pills are a new type of allergy immunotherapy that was recently licensed in the United States. Instead of shots, allergy tablets require giving allergens in the form of a liquid or tablet under the tongue daily.


What is Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT)?

Sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT, is a course of treatment designed to alleviate allergy symptoms caused by a particular allergen, such as allergic rhinitis and/or conjunctivitis.

Allergists administer SLIT to patients whose allergy symptoms are so severe that standard therapies (antihistamines, nasal sprays, and eye drops) are ineffective, and whose symptoms interfere with daily living. This course of therapy lasts approximately three years.

If taken for three consecutive years, it can have an impact that lasts for years after the medication has ceased, and there is some indication that it can also lessen the chance of subsequent allergies or asthma developing.

Immunotherapy is currently supported by medical data, ensuring its safety. This medication is provided not just for pollen allergies caused by trees and grass, but also for dust mites and pet allergies caused by cats, dogs, and horses.



An allergist will do a physical test, assess your medical history, and may order one or both of the following tests:

1. Skin Prick Test

After little quantities of material that might cause allergies are injected into the skin of your arm or upper back, you are monitored for an allergic reaction.

If you are allergic to anything, you will get a raised bump (hive) at the site of the allergen. Allergists are often the most qualified to perform allergy testing.

2. Allergy Blood Test

A blood sample is submitted to a lab to be tested to see how your immune system reacts to a specific allergen.

This test, also known as the radioallergosorbent test (RAST), determines the number of allergy-causing antibodies, known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, in your bloodstream.


What are the Potential Side Effects of the Treatment?

Swelling or lumps under the tongue, tingling or itchy sensations under the tongue, in the mouth, or in the ears, and minor abdominal pain are the most commonly reported adverse effects of SLIT.

These normally occur shortly after taking the drug. These symptoms are generally fairly transient and last no more than 5–10 minutes.

These symptoms will gradually improve over the course of a week or two and eventually disappear. However, if they persist and are bothersome, speak with an allergist.

In most cases, antihistamines can be used to relieve these side effects. Kids may develop any of the following less common adverse effects:

  • Swelling in the face, mouth, or throat
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Worsening an existing asthma condition
  • Nettle rash
  • Voice alteration
  • Severe stomach discomfort, nausea, and/or vomiting


If you notice any of these, you must stop treatment right away and get help from your doctor or tell your allergist as soon as possible.


In a Nutshell

Hay fever (Allergic Rhinitis) can be treated. SLIT has been proven in clinical trials to be effective and safe for people with grass-allergic hay fever and home dust mite allergy.

After the three-year treatment regimen is completed, the benefits last for many years.

For those residing in London and seeking allergy testing and treatment, please feel free to make an appointment with our allergist for a full consultation.

Wanted to learn more?

Speak with our friendly team today!