TAMPA (FOX 13) - The welcoming weather of spring might also include some not-so-welcome symptoms related to allergies.
Sandy Moy has suffered from runny nose, congestion, sneezing, and itchy eyes for years. But her symptoms lasted long after the oak pollen was gone. Her body was reacting year-round to common things like cats, dust mites, and even grass.
"I was put on a couple of prescriptive medications and, over time, when that became ineffective, I went on allergy shots," she explained.
But the shots were never quite effective for her either.
Allergy shots are designed to teach the immune system to be more tolerant to real-world exposures. It's a concept that's been around for 100 years, but with our busy schedules, there's a growing trend to ditch multiple trips to the allergist - and the needles.
Dr. Roberto Garcia began offering allergy drops to his patients eight years ago. It's called sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT.
"Initially, we were using it as an alternative for people who absolutely couldn't receive allergy shots," he said.
Allergy shots are the FDA’s recommended method for combatting allergies. While the drops are FDA approved, there is not yet enough research for the FDA to say they’re effective.
Dr. Garcia, however, believes they work.
"Very young children have also benefited from this, currently. We have treated a number of very young children that would not have been eligible at all to receive allergy shots," he explained.
The drops also save patients a lot of time.
"A patient that receives allergy shots will spend about a week and a half waiting after the shots, in the office," adds Garcia.
However, SLIT therapy won't save you out-of-pocket expenses. Sandy pays about $1,400 a year. It's a cost she's been willing to pay since finding Dr. Garcia four years ago.
"I sleep better. I'm not sneezing. I'm not spending a lot of time with congestion and have fewer sinus headaches," she said.
More information about Dr. Garcia's treatments is available at http://www.allergigroup.com/.