If You Suffer from Asthma or Allergies, Personalized Immunotherapy Might be Right for You
Choosing an allergist is an important decision for your health. Unlike your general practitioner or even your dentist, if you suffer from asthma or allergies, you may see your allergist more than once or twice a year.
Approximately 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year, making it the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the country, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Those illnesses result in lost school and work days. Though outdoor allergies to pollen do prohibit outside activities, half of all allergies are indoors, such as dust mites, mold and animal dander.
For those who suffer, allergy and asthma symptoms can be a daily battle. Symptoms can range from mere annoyances like a runny or stuffy nose, to more serious ones like trouble breathing, recurrent sinus and respiratory infections, or even breaking out into hives. Those symptoms, caused by everything from dust mites to pollen to mold to pet dander, can make life miserable if left untreated. Often, trying to coordinate over-the-counter allergy medications can be overwhelming and expensive with many unwelcome side effects like drowsiness, dry mouth, high blood pressure, constipation or nervousness.
Establishing a relationship with an allergist is the best way to deal with these symptoms and to get back to enjoying life. Symptoms can often masquerade as colds, so even if you don’t think you suffer from allergies, seeing an allergist is the best way to find out for sure so you can get back to enjoying the best parts of the season.
Like your general practitioner, you’ll want someone you not only trust, but who is highly qualified and able to diagnose and treat your allergies and/or asthma. Each of Allergy & Asthma Specialists’ allergists is board certified and has extensive education and training in the fields of allergy and immunology. This extensive training makes them not only highly capable in the diagnosis of allergies and asthma, but the region’s most trusted source for the most effective treatment of allergies, immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy, or allergy extract, helps alter your body’s reaction to specific allergen triggers such as pollen, dust mites, animal dander or mold. Identifying these triggers is the first step to controlling your symptoms. At a visit to the allergist, you can be skin tested without needles, and results are available in just 20 minutes. Once triggers are identified, the allergist can prescribe immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy is also the only treatment currently available that leads to long-term remission. It also has none of the side effects, like drowsiness or even high blood pressure, that sometime ensue when taking over-the-counter options. Unlike over-the-counter medicines, an allergist can create a personalized extract to address each of your allergy triggers, ultimately reducing your reactions.
What is sublingual immunotherapy?
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a method of treating allergies without injections in the convenience of your home, which makes it ideal for children and adults who are needle-averse and those with busy schedules. Allergists prescribe patients an extract of self-administered drops based on their individual allergens, and as the treatment progresses, the allergist will adjust the dosage. Patients place the drops under the tongue to boost tolerance to those particular allergens and subsequently reduce symptoms. Over the course of six to 12 months, patients will see relief, and three to five years for long-term control. This gradual increase of allergens helps your immune system to build up your own natural immunity, making you less allergic.
What is subcutaneous immunotherapy?
Subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) is an equally effective option. Like with SLIT, allergists test patients for allergens using skin testing and then produce a personalized allergy extract, but this time, in the form of an injection. A carefully calculated dose is administered in the office at regular intervals to provide long-term allergy relief for patients. This, too, helps build up a natural tolerance and patients can expect to see symptoms subsiding in three to six months, with treatment ending after three to five years.
A tablet is another option, which is available through the pharmacy for grass and ragweed allergies.
No matter which of the three extract options you decide is right for you, an allergist oversees every step of the process for SLIT and SCIT, including the production, ensuring treatments are personalized to each patient. Treatments never go off-site, as Allergy & Asthma Specialists has an on-site lab where extracts are produced in adherence to federal guidelines.
At Allergy & Asthma Specialists, you know you and your health are in good hands. With three different personalized extract treatments, you can get back to living your life without symptoms. That means lounging by the pool with a good book, or grilling outside, without fear of an allergy attack.
To schedule a visit with the board certified allergists/immunologists of A&AS at one of the eight convenient locations, call 1-800-86COUGH, extension 2, or schedule online.