May means many things: The blooming of flowers and trees after weeks of rain, longer, sunnier days, and the promise of summer. Perhaps one of the most enjoyable months of the year, May also brings with it heightened allergies. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergies affect more than 50 million Americans each year, making it among the leading causes of chronic illness in the U.S.
The board certified allergists of Allergy & Asthma Specialists can help patients determine what allergens are triggers and prescribe a treatment protocol that can improve the quality of life, decrease the need for medications and induce the remission of allergic response. If you suffer from allergies, here’s what you need to know:
What are common allergy symptoms?
- Itchy eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty sleeping
Left untreated, these symptoms can lead to more serious conditions, including ear, lung and sinus infections, and a persistent cough.
What are common allergens?
- Pollens from grasses, trees and weeds
- Dust mites
- Animal dander
While it’s tempting to self-diagnosis and treat allergies, it’s nearly impossible to strike the right balance using over-the-counter medicines. Plus, OTC medicines don’t treat the underlying causes and can lead to undesirable side effects like sleeplessness, nervousness, drowsiness, increased blood pressure, headaches, dry mouth, constipation and blurred vision. The experts at Allergy & Asthma Specialists can identify the underlying cause and use one of three highly effective treatment options.
Perhaps one of the best-known treatment options for allergy suffers, allergy injections, or Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT), are exactly what they sound like. Once allergens are identified, an allergy extract is produced for each patient. Injections of the extract are administered in office by a professional. When treatment begins, injections are given on a weekly basis with gradually increasing concentrations. Within three to six months, patients begin to notice a decrease in allergy symptoms. Thereafter, patients return on a monthly basis for injections.
These types of treatments are great for people who might forget to self-administer at home.
Sublingual Immunotherapy – Allergy Drops
Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) is another method of treating allergies, but without the injections. After skin testing patients for possible allergens, the allergy extract is produced for each patient. The extract is dropped daily under the tongue by the patient in the convenience of his or her home. As the treatment progresses, the allergist will adjust the dosage and patients will continue to administer at home.
There are several advantages to this type of treatment. Patients don’t have to go to the office for injections on a regular basis, making it ideal for those who are needle-averse or those with particularly hectic schedules. SLIT has the ability to alter the immune system from allergic to non-allergic over time and is tailored to each patient’s particular allergies, unlike over the counter medicines.
Patients place the drops under the tongue to boost tolerance to those particular allergens and subsequently reduce symptoms.
The physicians of Allergy & Asthma Specialists are also on the forefront of prescribing sublingual immunotherapy tablets for patients specifically allergic to grasses or ragweed. Tablets are prescribed by the allergist and are obtained at your pharmacy.
Immunotherapy Leads to Remission of Allergic Disease
Both SCIT and SLIT are highly effective treatments for allergy sufferers, yielding long-term results without the side effects of OTC medicines. By treating the symptoms specific to each individual patient, immunotherapy can improve quality of life and alter the course of the disease. Plus, the extracts are made in Allergy & Asthma Specialists’ lab under the supervision of a board certified allergist to ensure their safety and effectiveness. The results mean getting back to living life, without worrying about allergies.
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.