Many people who experience itchy, watery eyes, congestion, runny nose and sneezing after visiting Doggie Style Pets may feel like there’s no way to find relief from their symptoms. Over-the-counter allergy medications aren’t effective for everybody; for those who need long-term relief, immunotherapy is the best option.
What Causes Allergies?
Your immune system works to protect your body from diseases, viruses and infections. But for the more than 50 million Americans with allergies, their immune system mistakes harmless substances such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, certain foods, mold and insect stings as dangerous intruders and overreacts.
During this reaction, your immune system releases antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which causes your cells to release histamine. Histamine increases your mucus production and cause swelling and itching; this is what causes your allergy symptoms.
What Is Immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy works a lot like a vaccine: Each dose contains an allergen extract that triggers a mild immune response. Over time, your body eventually builds a tolerance to the substance.
Immunotherapy can be administered in shot, drop or tablet form.
- Allergy shots are administered in an allergy clinic in two phases. During the buildup phase, which lasts three to six months, you’ll receive a shot one to three times per week. Each week, the dose is increased slightly until you reach a maintenance dose. During the maintenance phase, you’ll receive one shot per month for three to five years, until immunity is reached.
- Allergy drops/tablets can be administered at home after the first dose. The four types of allergy tablets that have been approved by the FDA treat ragweed, Timothy grass, dust mites and a combination of five various grass species. How often and how long you take the tablets depends on which type you take.
What to Expect from Immunotherapy
Many patients report that their symptoms begin to improve six months to a year after starting immunotherapy, and gradually experience fewer and more mild symptoms over time.
Risks of immunotherapy are low. Complications usually involve local reactions, including redness and swelling at the injection site or itchiness in the mouth in the case of drops tablets. Anaphylaxis is rare, but your medical team will be there to intervene in case of a serious reaction.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Pinnacle ENT Associates today.