Do you Suffer from Allergies?
Sneezing is not always the symptom of a cold. Sometimes, it is an allergic reaction to something in the air. Health experts estimate that 35 million Americans suffer from upper respiratory tract symptoms that are allergic reactions to airborne allergens.
Pollen allergy, commonly called hay fever, is one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States. Worldwide, airborne allergens cause the most problems for people with allergies. The respiratory symptoms of asthma, which affect approximately 11 million Americans, are often provoked by airborne allergens.
So what is the answer? Immunotherapy!
Immunotherapy is the medical term for a treatment for asthma commonly known as “allergy shots.” It can help reduce asthma symptoms and the need for medications in people who are allergic to airborne allergens, such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. It is a way of making your body less sensitive to your allergic asthma triggers by exposing you to very small amounts of them over time. This is also known as desensitization. Immunotherapy can be used both to treat allergies as well as to prevent them in certain high risk infants and children.
Who Should Get Immunotherapy?
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology says patients in these groups would likely benefit from immunotherapy:
- Asthma triggered by exposure to airborne allergens, PLUS:
- Poor response to asthma medicines or environmental controls
- Avoiding your triggers is unrealistic or impossible
- Having problematic side effects from asthma medicine
People who have life-threatening allergies to insect stings are also great candidates for allergy shots.
If allergen avoidance and medication fail to control your symptoms, allergy shots may help. Your doctor will do some tests to make sure immunotherapy is right for you.
Immunotherapy may be given to anyone over age 2 whose allergies are severe and who do not respond to medication. Many experts agree that immunotherapy should be considered as soon as possible for children with asthma and allergies. Immunotherapy is safe for pregnant women who are already receiving it, although half-strength doses are generally recommended, and it should not be started during pregnancy.
Individuals at Risk for Complications. People who should probably avoid immunotherapy include those who have:
- An extreme response to skin tests (this may predict an allergic reaction).
- Uncontrolled severe asthma or lung disease.
- Patients taking certain medications (such as beta-blockers).
- The health status of anyone should be determined before starting treatment.
Benefits of Immunotherapy:
According to 75 different studies with more than 3,600 asthmatics that were recently analyzed by experts, immunotherapy was effective in reducing allergic asthma symptoms and the use of asthma medications. It can benefit you in the following ways:
- Decreased inflammation
- Decreased asthma symptoms
- Better breathing
- Decreased need for asthma medication
Allergy Shots and Immunotherapy
Allergy shots (also known as immunotherapy or allergy immunization) are an effective and safe treatment for people who suffer from a variety of allergic diseases, including allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma and insect stings. The treatment works by introducing small amounts of purified substances to which the person is allergic, in gradually increasing amounts. The allergy shots improve the patient’s natural resistance to the allergens and minimize or eliminate the need for medications. Allergy shots are usually recommended for people suffering from severe allergies or those who have allergy symptoms more than 3 months out of the year. They are not a cure for allergies, but they will reduce your sensitivity to certain allergens.