General Allergy Info

Allergy Therapy

When it comes to allergies, most treatment is focused on the symptoms. You’ll find many drugs and medications that target nasal congestion, sore throat, runny nose and other similar symptoms. While this can give patient temporary relief, the underlying condition is still present. Allergy therapy, also known as allergen immunotherapy, is a medical allergy treatment that targets the immune system, which is the root of the problem. 


Types Of Chronic Allergy Treatment

There are three methods of treating allergies:
 
  • Avoidance
  • Immunotherapy
  • Medication


Avoiding Allergies

Although it is impossible to avoid airborne allergens completely, it is possible to minimize their effect. Patients who follow pollen reports can plan outdoor activities accordingly. Also, the addition of high performing air conditioning filters and air cleaners helps to keep the home environment comfortable.

Patients with allergies to mold should avoid areas where mold could be present as in crawl spaces and basements. If mold is discovered in the home, it should be removed by professionals trained in accepted techniques of mold abatement. This is good insurance against the problem being spread throughout the home.

Allergies to pet dander can be minimized by not having pets at all, or by choosing pets that are not as likely to trigger an allergic reaction.


Immunotherapy For Allergies

Immunotherapy targets the immune system. It introduces tiny doses of the appropriate allergen into the body. These doses are gradually increased, which accustom the body to the allergen.

Let’s say you’re allergic to pollen. In this case, pollen is what’s known as an allergen, or a substance that produces an allergic reaction. While this substance is actually harmless to your body, your immune system doesn’t think so. It looks upon pollen as a threat to your health, resulting in an overly vigorous response to fight it off.
This abnormal reaction of the immune system is what causes allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, sore throat, watery eyes, etc. 
Over time, the immune system treats the allergen appropriately as a harmless substance that needs no attention. Allergy therapy is the only known medical procedure that addresses the actual cause of allergies.


Allergy Medication

Medication is used alone or in addition to immunotherapy. Allergy symptoms can be suppressed or minimized through the judicious use of medication. 
Corticosteroids are used in more severe cases and require a prescription, as does the next level of treatment called Mast Cell Stabilizers. Both of these drugs relieve symptoms by either suppressing inflammation or by blocking the release of immune system chemicals that cause allergy symptoms.


Emergency Treatment

Patients with severe allergies to bee venom, peanuts, shellfish etc., can experience a sudden life threatening condition called anaphylaxis. These patients will be instructed in the use of emergency epinephrine shots. While this is a rare condition, those at risk can self administer this shot using special syringes that are easy and effective to use before seeking emergency medical help.