An allergy is an overreaction by your body's immune system to a certain trigger substance. This substance could be a food, a fabric, an airborne particle, or any number of other things.
Allergy sufferers often have to deal with significant discomfort and inconvenience. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available to help them cope with, or in some cases virtually eliminate, their allergy symptoms. One form of treatment that has proven effective for many individuals with allergies is immunotherapy.
WHAT IS ALLERGY IMMUNOTHERAPY?
The whole concept behind allergy immunotherapy is that the body's immune system can be gradually desensitized to specific allergens that cause an excessive response from the immune system. The patient's immune system is stimulated with gradually increasing doses of the trigger substance; over time, the number of IgE antibodies released by the immune system (special cells produced by the body to fight invaders) is reduced. The allergy immunotherapy option is more commonly known by the term "allergy shots."
Immunotherapy typically takes from 6 months to 1 year to be effective, and shots may be administered for up to 5 years, depending on the circumstances. The first step in the process is for a trained allergist (i.e., an allergy specialist) to identify the problem allergens by means of diagnostic testing. Once those allergens have been identified, the treatment process can begin in earnest.
Allergy immunotherapy has a proven track record of helping patients suffering from allergic rhinitis (aka nasal inflammation), allergic asthma, and allergy caused by stinging insects. However, immunotherapy for food allergies is not currently recommended. Allergy immunotherapy may lead to lasting remission of allergy symptoms, or even help prevent the onset of new allergies.
If you are suffering from severe allergies, then allergy immunotherapy may be a perfect option for you. The highly qualified allergists at Allergy and Asthma Care of Waco can help you to understand the pros and cons of this treatment.