Fighting Back Against Allergies Through Immunotherapy

Have you ever heard someone say, “Oh, it’s just allergies” and wished you could be so casual about allergies? Some people may get a runny nose or itchy eyes from allergies, but others have life-threatening or debilitating reactions. 

At Apex Medical Center, our providers understand that sometimes allergies decrease the quality of your life to an unbearable degree. Happily, we have a treatment option that often works for people who have been unable to find relief through other approaches.  

Immunotherapy 

Often, allergy treatments address your symptoms. Immunotherapy is different; it’s a method of teaching your body to tolerate substances that cause your allergic reactions. It doesn’t work for all allergens. The process involves very deliberately exposing your immune system to incrementally larger doses of allergens.

Over time, your immune system becomes less sensitive to the substances you’re allergic to, which lessens your symptoms when you’re exposed to it. It also usually reduces the amount of inflammation you experience. 

Shots and tablets

Many people associate immunotherapy with allergy shots, and often injections, called subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT), are the best way to deliver the therapy. Usually, you need to get shots regularly for three to five years for the most effective treatment. The good thing about SCIT is that it prevents the development of new allergies and asthma. 

You may also get immunotherapy through tablets, which is called sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). One of the main differences between SCIT and SLIT is that tablets can only treat one type of allergen. If you’re especially allergic to ragweed, grass pollen, or dust mites but not much else, SLIT may be the right treatment approach for you. 

The right patient

Immunotherapy is not the best way to treat everyone who has allergies. It requires a significant time commitment and, usually, a willingness to get injections regularly for years. It can be a good treatment for some people who: 

However, if you have food allergies, or chronic hives, immunotherapy probably isn’t the most appropriate treatment. Your specific situation and allergens are the most important consideration in deciding if immunotherapy is the best treatment for you. 

How it works

Once you’ve discussed the option with your provider and had tests to determine exactly what you’re allergic to, and decided that immunotherapy is right for you, you’ll most likely begin the series of shots. The injection is usually given in your upper arm and may be given one to three times per week. 

There are two phases of the treatment, the build-up phase, which takes anywhere from three to six months, and the maintenance phase which can last up to five years or more, depending on your situation. Usually, maintenance injections are administered about once a month. 

Your symptoms, unfortunately, don’t suddenly go away. It’s a gradual process, though you may begin to notice a difference during the maintenance phase. You should certainly experience noticeable improvements within a year. 

If you’d like to learn more about immunotherapy and discuss it as a potential option for your allergies, schedule an appointment at one of our three locations to talk to an expert. You can schedule at the location of your choice online or by phone. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Common Migraine Triggers

Understanding your migraine triggers can be a key element in managing your life. If you can avoid those things most likely to bring about a migraine, you can avoid the pain and disruption to your routine.

Can You Develop Allergies as an Adult?

Do you frequently sneeze, sniff, or wipe your nose? Allergies can be annoying, life-threatening, or somewhere in between. They can also develop when you’re an adult. Here’s what you need to know about recognizing and treating allergies.

5 Little Known Signs of an Eating Disorder

Most people have at least a few pre-defined notions about who gets eating disorders and what such a disorder looks like. Often, those preconceptions obscure some of the subtle signs that point to an eating disorder.

How Does Arthritis Impact Mental Health?

Most people think of arthritis and mental health as separate issues, but the fact is they often go hand-in-hand. In this post, we explore how the two conditions can impact each other, and what you need to know.

Who Is a Candidate for TENS Therapy?

If you have chronic pain, you may have seen TENS units for sale and wondered if that’s a good treatment option for your condition. Here’s what you need to know about this approach to pain management.

Understanding Bioelectric Therapy

When you’re in chronic pain, you consider everything you do through the lens of pain. It takes an enormous toll, mentally and physically. Many people don’t realize there are options for treating chronic pain, like bioelectric therapy.