Immunotherapy for allergies is the closest we have to “curing” allergies. It naturally boosts your immune system, providing lasting relief in suppressing allergy symptoms. Moreover, it also helps prevent allergic reactions whenever you accidentally get exposed to allergens.
But is allergen immunotherapy a long-term solution for allergy relief? The answer is yes. Allergies are common worldwide. People from all walks of life can get allergies anytime and anywhere. Modern medicine has been trying to find ways to cure people of allergies. However, despite today’s modern medical advancements, there is still no cure for allergies.
This is where immunotherapy comes in. This article will discuss allergen immunotherapy’s role in allergy prevention, treatment, and management. We will also talk about the different types of allergen immunotherapy available.
So, if you want to discover how allergen immunotherapy works in allergy management, let’s dive in.
An allergy occurs when your immune system fails to function correctly. When your body’s natural defenses attack harmless proteins, you’ll experience allergic reactions. Allergy symptoms vary from one person to another. Some have mild symptoms that are tolerable without needing medical attention. In contrast, others may have a more severe reaction that could be life-threatening.
Allergen immunotherapy is a preventative approach to managing allergic symptoms. The treatment method involves exposing individuals to allergens they have allergies to in moderation.
The expected result is to lessen the person’s sensitivity to allergy symptoms. Moreover, allergen immunotherapy works by switching off allergies. Therefore, accidental consumption or exposure to allergens can efficiently reduce adverse reactions.
Allergy immunotherapy has two main phases. They are called the buildup phase and the maintenance phase. The result is highly efficient, but the effectiveness varies from person to person. Below is a summary of how this treatment for allergy works.
The first step in allergen immunotherapy is introducing allergens in controlled amounts to your body. This is called the buildup phase. During the buildup phase, you will be given allergens one to two times a week until the target dosing is achieved. The actual dose depends on the severity of the condition. The ideal target dose could be 3 to 6 months with a suggested schedule from your allergist.
The second step in allergen immunotherapy begins when the target dosing is achieved. This step is called the maintenance phase. At this point, your allergist increases the administration of allergens to two every four weeks. This phase typically lasts for 3 to 5 years, depending on the severity of the allergy being treated.
There are two types of allergen immunotherapy available worldwide. Although they have different methods, they work towards achieving a similar goal, effectively managing allergic symptoms.
Here Are the 2 Types of Allergen Immunotherapy
Allergy Shot Treatment (Allergy Vaccine)
An immunotherapy shot is one of the most popular types of allergen immunotherapy. Allergy shots, sometimes called subcutaneous immunotherapy or SCIT, can help your immune system buildup tolerance against multiple allergens simultaneously.
The sublingual immunotherapy method, or SLIT, is ideal for children and individuals that fear injections. Each tablet is designed to cover a specific allergen. The administration of SLITs is often taken at the medical clinic to avoid severe allergic reactions. The tablet should be under the tongue until it dissolves instead of swallowing.
Patients undergoing SLIT should take the tablets 4-12 months before the allergy season begins. Moreover, they should continue taking the medicines throughout the allergy season to achieve total efficiency. In addition, individuals allergic to dust mites and other home allergens like molds and animal dander should continue SLIT year-round.
Immunotherapy works in managing food allergies too. The two types of immunotherapy for food allergies are:
Oral immunotherapy aims to make your body resilient to allergic foods. Doctors give you small amounts of allergic foods to allow your natural defenses to build resistance. The process continues with increased quantities of allergic foods until you can safely ingest them. The most significant benefit of OIT is improving your allergic reaction in case of accidental exposure or consumption.
Epicutaneous immunotherapy uses a skin patch with a food allergen. The patch is attached to your skin for extended periods of a day until the maintenance dosing is reached. Moreover, the patches are worn for 24 hours and replaced daily.
Individuals who opted to undergo allergen immunotherapy reported many benefits. The most significant is the freedom of not being overly conscious of accidental allergen exposure.
Below are the top benefits of allergen immunotherapy.
Allergy immunotherapy enhances your immune system’s ability to suppress symptoms of an allergic reaction. Many allergens are almost impossible to avoid. With the help of allergen treatment, you can have peace of mind in cases of accidental exposure or consumption.
Covers Different Types of Allergies
The idea of boosting your body’s natural defenses via allergen immunotherapy is to protect from multiple allergens. You are simultaneously protected against seasonal or perennial allergies, insect venom, and food allergies.
No Need for Long-term Allergy Medications
The entire duration of allergen immunotherapy is not short. In fact, it can take up to five years. However, you can rest assured that you are protected against allergies in the long run. The target result of allergen immunotherapy is to provide you with lifelong allergy relief and protection.
Living without fear of an allergic reaction can help improve your overall quality of life. We aim to help you achieve an allergy-free life with our top-notch allergen immunotherapy services.
Our board-certified allergist and immunologist, Dr. Paul Jantzi, in Brazos Valley Allergy & Asthma Clinics, offers quality allergy treatments in Texas with office locations in Bastrop, Brenham, College Station, Columbus, Giddings, and La Grange.
Book an appointment today and experience quality care topped with compassion and professionalism.
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