Need Relief from Allergies? An Allergist can Help
If you suffer from allergies, it is likely that you have tried a variety of treatments. Nasal sprays and antihistamines can help relieve allergies for a little while, but they basically treat only the symptoms – not the problem. There are other treatments that actually treat the problem and can be very effective.
Treating Allergies with Sublingual Immunotherapy
One treatment that has been quite effective and is taken orally. Rather than the typical treatments that involve taking shots, Sublingual Immunotherapy or SLIT is being used with good results. What is SLIT? It is the treatment of allergies by using drops containing allergens that are custom prepared and given to a patient under their tongue. The area under the tongue has dendritic cells. The cells absorb the allergens and send a signal to the immune system to begin building a tolerance to the allergens.
The first part of this treatment involves testing a patient to determine what is causing their allergies. There are a variety of items that cause allergic reactions including:
- Dust mites
- Animal dander
These allergens can cause a range of symptoms such as sneezing, runny and stuffy nose, itching of the eyes, roof of the mouth, and nose. The eyes can become swollen and red. Just one or a combination of these symptoms can make a person feel miserable. Sublingual Immunotherapy is not currently recommended for food allergies; however, ongoing studies have shown it may have advantages for these allergies as well. It has been used with success for people suffering from asthma.
With the use of Sublingual Immunotherapy on a daily basis, many people have seen relief from these allergies. During the first four months of the treatment, patients are given increased dosages. This is the “escalation phase”. After four months, patients take the same amount daily. This is the “maintenance phase”.
How Long Does it Take Sublingual Immunotherapy to Work?
As with any treatment, each person is different when it comes to the amount of time it takes before they see relief from symptoms. Many patients will experience results within three months. If allergies are severe, it may take longer. Because Sublingual Immunotherapy changes the way the body reacts to allergens, it is not just a symptom reliever. It can help the patient to develop an immunity to allergens.
Since SLIT treats the actual cause of the allergies, a tolerance can be built up that will be permanent. It depends on the patient as to how long this will take. The average is from three to five years of treatment for permanent relief.