If you have allergies, it means your immune system mistakes harmless substances, like grass at East Fairmount Park, for dangerous intruders and attacks. During this reaction, your immune system releases antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which triggers your cells to release histamine. Histamine is responsible for allergy symptoms such as increased mucus production, swelling and itching.
One option for managing allergic reactions is immunotherapy.
What Is Immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is an allergy treatment option that comes in two forms: subcutaneous (shots) and sublingual (drops).
Allergy shots are effective for allergies to pollen, pets, dust, bees and other stinging insects. This option is administered in an allergist’s office in increasing doses for three to five years.
Allergy drops come in either drop or tablet form that are held under the tongue until they dissolve. They are available to treat allergies to dust mites, grass and ragweed. After the first dose, allergy drops can be self-administered at home.
Allergy drops are taken anywhere from three to seven days a week for a total of three to five years, depending on how symptoms respond. Drops for dust mites are taken year-round, while drops for grass and ragweed may be taken only before and during pollen season.
Benefits of Allergy Drops
There are many benefits to allergy drops, including:
- Fewer trips to the allergist’s office
- No poking needles
- Low risk of severe reaction
- Effective for young patients
- Lasting symptom relief
- Reduced need to take allergy medications
Is Immunotherapy Safe?
One review of studies published on allergy drops found that it is a safe and effective treatment for allergic rhinitis, reducing symptoms and need for allergy medications. In fact, compared to allergy shots, researchers found that the chance of severe reactions with allergy drops is even lower.
Risks are minimal and include mild, local reactions, stomach discomfort and an itchy mouth.
Take the First Step
Before beginning immunotherapy, the first step is to get an allergy test in order to determine exactly what substances you’re allergic to.
To schedule an allergy test or learn more about allergy drops, call Pinnacle ENT Associates today.