Suffering through allergies can wreak havoc on our lives. Between missed school and work, they put a strain on productivity and the economy and generally make sufferers feel miserable. An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year, costing upwards of $18 billion annually. Over the counter medications are frequently used to help alleviate symptoms and can leave some feeling worse, being nervous, dizzy or sluggish. Treating the cause with immunotherapy is a much more effective, long-term strategy. The board certified allergists at Allergy & Asthma Specialists can prescribe and supervise a customized immunotherapy program for patients for both allergy extract injection and drop protocols.
One option for allergies is Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT), a method of treating allergies without injections. After skin testing patients for possible allergens—they test for a range of allergens, from cats, dust mites, dogs, species of trees, grasses, mold, ragweed—allergists prescribe patients an extract of self-administered drops. As the treatment progresses, the allergist will adjust the dosage and patients will continue to administer from the convenience of their homes. This gradual increase of allergens helps your immune system to build up your own natural immunity, making you less allergic.
There are several advantages to this type of treatments. Patients don’t have to come in 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. Over the course of six to 12 months, patients will see relief, and three to five years for long-term control, with the majority of patients having long-term control for five to 10 years.
Another equally effective option is Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT). 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 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. The advantage of SCIT is that the cost can be covered by most health insurance plans.
Regardless of preference, both SLIT and SCIT are effective treatments for allergies. Having a personalized allergy extract prescribed by board certified allergists, ensures that long-term relief can be in sight. Allergy sufferers need not endure symptoms any longer.
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.