Allergy Testing and Immunotherapy can Dramatically Improve Allergy Symptoms
Allergy shots, known as subcutaneous immunotherapy, are a form of long-term treatment that gradually alleviates symptoms for patients with allergies. At Chesapeake ENT, our doctors provide patients suffering allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, conjunctivitis, or an allergy to stinging insects with allergy testing and immunotherapy in Baltimore, MD. Subcutaneous immunotherapy can reduce symptoms and help the patient build a tolerance to common allergens.
Both children over the age of five and adults can benefit greatly from allergy shots, which reduce allergic symptoms over time and provide lasting relief after treatment has ended. Unfortunately, allergy shots cannot treat food allergies.
If you or your child suffers from allergies and you are searching for relief, contact our office today to learn more about allergy testing and immunotherapy.
Before beginning immunotherapy, your doctor will perform a comprehensive allergy test to determine the specific allergens you react to, so that treatment may be personalized to meet your needs. Blood and skin tests are the most common types of allergy tests currently available.
Once testing is complete, you may begin immunotherapy to build tolerance and immunity, gradually reducing allergic symptoms.
If a skin test is performed, a doctor will insert a microscopic amount of an allergen into your skin. Your doctor will then measure the degree of your allergic reaction, which typically causes an itchy bump similar to a mosquito bite. A blood test is utilized when skin tests are unavailable or are not a safe option for the patient. Taking these tests allows your doctor to specifically target the allergens that you are sensitive to in your treatment.
Allergy testing allows for targeted treatment and relief.
How Allergy Shots Work
Allergy shots work similarly to vaccines. During immunotherapy, a very small dose of the allergen is injected into the body. Gradually, dose sizes are increased as patients build tolerance and immunity, becoming acclimated to the allergen and eventually reducing the allergic reaction. The decrease of allergy symptoms may be dramatic. Immunotherapy typically involves two stages of treatment.
During the first stage, the shots will gradually build your tolerance and immunity to the allergens you reacted to on your skin or blood test. These injections typically occur weekly, and your doctor will slowly increase the amount of a specific allergen over a three to six month period, depending upon the severity of your allergies.
Once you reach the most effective dose, you will enter the second stage, which involves maintenance injections. There will be longer intervals between injections at this stage, and you will begin to notice an alleviation of allergy symptoms.
It is important to keep in mind that allergies differ for each patient, so the treatment experience may vary greatly from one individual to another. Some patients spend much more time in the first stage of treatment, while other patients reach the second stage quickly, and notice a dramatic reduction in their symptoms in a relatively short period of time.
Schedule Your Allergy Testing
Getting tested for allergies to determine the specific allergens to which you react to is the first step in finding relief. Once testing is complete, you may begin immunotherapy to build tolerance and immunity, gradually reducing allergic symptoms to common environmental allergens such as mold, pollen, ragweed, and more.
Over time, you will experience a reduction in symptoms, and eventually, an abatement of allergies. If you suffer from allergies and are interested in allergy testing and immunotherapy for long-term relief, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.