If you have allergies, you’re not alone. This common problem is the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States, and it affects more than 50 million Americans. Because the prevalence of allergies is also constantly on the rise, an ever-increasing number of people can expect to develop them with each passing year.
At Advanced Allergy & Asthma in Ogden, Utah, our talented team of allergists is proud to offer innovative immunotherapy treatment, a safe and highly effective way to boost your tolerance to irritating allergens, reduce the likelihood of a serious reaction, and even put an end to your symptoms altogether. Here, we explain how it works.
When you have allergies, your immune system erroneously overreacts to normally harmless substances like pollen, dust, mold spores, or animal dander. This response triggers the release of chemicals called histamines in an attempt to shield and protect your body.
You can develop allergies early in life, during infancy or childhood. It’s also possible to develop them much later, and even elderly adults can get a new allergy after a lifetime of being allergy-free. If you have allergies, it’s common to have more than one type.
While you can’t stop most allergies from developing, the right management plan can help you reduce your chances of having a reaction. They can also provide quick relief from your symptoms when you do come in contact with an allergen.
Traditional allergy management solutions focus on staying away from known allergens and taking medications to relieve your symptoms. These therapies usually include antihistamines, decongestants, or other medications that counteract your reaction.
Immunotherapy is an innovative approach to allergy management that focuses on increasing your tolerance to the substances you’re allergic to until you no longer experience symptoms. This approach is a long-term treatment solution because it takes time to build up your body’s resistance against an allergen. But once you’re desensitized, you won’t have to worry about having a severe reaction — or possibly any reaction at all — to that allergen.
We usually recommend immunotherapy through allergy shots to lessen or resolve symptoms of seasonal allergies like pollen and ragweed and indoor allergies like dust mites and animal dander. We also offer venom immunotherapy for stinging insect allergies.
Allergy shots, or desensitization injections, work much like vaccinations. Each shot contains a small amount of the allergen that triggers your reaction — just enough to stimulate your immune system, but not enough to prompt a major reaction.
The buildup phase typically lasts 3-6 months. During this time, you receive injections in your upper arm 1-3 times per week. At each appointment, we increase your allergen dose slightly. This approach slowly ramps up your body’s tolerance as safely and efficiently as possible.
As you enter the maintenance phase, you receive an allergy shot once a month to help your body maintain its newfound tolerance. This ongoing treatment period typically lasts 3-5 years, depending on your needs.
We also offer rush immunotherapy, which involves a series of allergy shots delivered during one day. This immunotherapy approach works to accelerate the buildup of your immunity faster, providing faster relief from your symptoms in a shorter period of time.
Allergies may be chronic and incurable, but immunotherapy can offer a high level of symptom relief that comes close to feeling like a cure for many people. However, even though you may be symptom-free once you’ve finished the maintenance phase of your immunotherapy program, you might need to continue the treatment indefinitely to keep your symptoms well-managed.
To find out how allergy immunotherapy can benefit you, call the Advanced Allergy & Asthma office, or click “Book online” anytime to request an appointment with one of our top-rated allergists.