How to Keep Fall Allergies at Bay

Ragweed. Mountain cedar. Allergy sufferers know that fall allergens are here.

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More than 50 million Americans suffer from various types of allergies and people spend more than $18 billion each year for treatment.

For years, Kim Martinez of Allen knew that a day of fall baseball meant a day of allergy woes.

"It was so miserable to be out there. I just couldn’t concentrate," she said.

North Texas is in the thick of allergy season. Ragweed is a major culprit, plaguing allergy suffers through the end of November, which is when mountain cedar season starts up.

When Martinez’s employer, Aspire Allergy, started to offer a new solution, she jumped at the chance.

Martinez opted for a first-of-its-kind treatment called ExACT Immunoplasty.

Unlike allergy drops or shots, which slowly introduce allergens through the skin or mouth over several months, or even years, the expedited allergy control therapy, or ExACT Immunoplasty, gives patients three injections over a span of 60 days.

“We inject what you're allergic to directly into your lymph nodes to allow your immune system to be reprogrammed and build up blocking antibodies,” said Dr. Suresh Raja, otolaryngologist and sinus surgeon at Aspire Allergy & Sinus.

In a trial for ExACT Immunoplasty, the long-term success rate was 87%.

Patients 12 years and older can receive ExACT Immunoplasty. While allergy shots are typically covered by insurance, ExACT Immunoplasty is not. The average cost for the therapy is $2,500 and doctors say the effects are lifelong.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology said if you plan to take an oral medication to treat your hay fever, think twice before using first-generation antihistamines such as Benadryl.

They can cause drowsiness and symptoms like dry mouth, dry eyes and constipation.

Look for non-sedating treatments such as cetirizine, levocetirizine, fexofenadine, loratadine or desloratadine instead.

Intranasal corticosteroids are the most effective treatment if you suffer from persistent allergy symptoms, especially if they are interfering with your quality of life and may even help control the symptoms that accompany eye allergies.

Martinez said the treatment she received has worked for her and she looks forward to fewer sneezes at her next baseball game.

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