Immunotherapy is a treatment option for allergies based from your test results, in which your body is exposed to a small amount of allergens in a safe and cotrolled manner to reduce the severity of your allergic response over time. Steadily increasing the dose with each visit, allows the body to develop immunity. This method bolsters the immune system so it tolerates allergens such as grasses, trees, and molds in the environment.
Immunotherapy is primarily administered to patients experiencing allergy symptoms that aren't alleviated with medical treatment. After the triggering allergen is detected, an extract of that substance is taken. Two conventional treatment solutions available for immunotherapy are: allergy shots, and sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops).
Small injections in the upper arm are administered once per week to patients that choose allergy shots until a maintenance dose is achieved. Over a span of consecutive months the dose frequency is decreased steadily until you are receiving shots about once per month. For the body to develop resistance to the allergen can take around 5 years, meaning your commitment to treatment is long-term. Maintaining a consistent injection schedule is vital to help reduce the odds of severe reactions.
Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) operates on the same basis but drops of the suspected allergen are placed under the tongue a few minutes everyday in order to build immune tolerance. Much like allergy shots, sublingual immunotherapy can take 3 to 5 years for results to be seen. Currently, FDA-approved and prescribed sublingual immunotherapy tablets are available. Effective in providing patients with long-term allergy relief, allergy tablets are taken once a day orally to relieve allergy symptoms. Only trained medical professionals at either of our clinics in Brownwood, or Stephenville should administer shots, while tablets can be taken at home; however patients and/or parents should watch closely for any side effects that may occur.
Is Immunotherapy Safe?
For several types of allergies, both immunotherapy methods are deemed safe and effective long-term treatments. For patients allergic to pollen, mold, dust mites and animal dander - it has the best results. Side effects and complications related to immunotherapy are rare. Some redness, swelling, and tenderness at the site of injection, may be noticed by those administered allergy shots, but keeping a steady schedule of injections lessens any chance of experiencing severe reactions.
Allergies are not something that any of us would like to have, but understanding your allergy symptoms and their causes and receiving adequate consistent treatment can help ensure that they do not limit your activities or enjoyment of life.
To learn more or have an appointment scheduled, call Central Texas ENT and Associates at 325-646-9956.