Environmental allergies are tough to cope with, especially in the spring. If you are tired of taking daily medications with limited results, you may be a candidate for immunotherapy.
Allergy shots (subcutaneous immunotherapy) are the most common form of immunotherapy. They can be used as a long-term treatment for seasonal, indoor and insect sting allergies.
Allergy shots work by getting your body used to what you are allergic to slowly, with the hope that you will develop an immunity or tolerance to the allergen. The process typically takes place in two phases, the build-up phase and the maintenance phase.
The build-up phase involves a small amount of the allergen being injected into the upper arm once or twice a week for a few months. The dosage is gradually increased at each visit. The length of the build-up phase depends entirely on your body’s reaction.
Once you have reached the effective dose, typically the most you can handle without showing symptoms, the maintenance phase will begin. The dosage is no longer increased at each visit and the number of shots is decreased. Once you are in the maintenance phase you will only receive an allergy shot once every month; this phase can last for three to five years.
Symptoms typically improve over the first year of treatment and continue to improve over the next few years. The shots may even decrease symptoms for other allergens and prevent new allergies from developing.
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is another type of allergy treatment that is gaining popularity. SLIT is used to treat allergies to specific grass pollens and ragweed, without the pain and common side effects. Tablets or drops are placed under the tongue for one to two minutes and then swallowed as they dissolve. The process is repeated three to seven days a week for at least three years. After the first dose, the tablets or drops are even safe enough to be taken at home.
If you’re interested in ending your allergy symptoms once and for all, request an appointment with one of our allergy specialists at www.pentadocs.com.