Allergies: symptoms, treatment and sublingual immunotherapy - 4 October 2016
Allergy immunotherapy without the sting!
It used to be that for patients severely affected by respiratory allergies such as pollen allergies, house dust mite and animal dander allergy, the only way to relief beyond antihistamines and other symptom-reducing medications was the option of allergy shots. Needles, weekly visits to the doctor and the fear of occasional significant allergic reactions may have given the impression that immunotherapy was for “desperate cases only”. One may even wonder whether an element of fear is to blame for patients customarily waiting 8 to 12 years before seeking medical help with their respiratory allergies.
That should be no longer. Sublingual immunotherapy, the treatment of respiratory allergies through daily sublingual drops or tablets aims to change the course of patients’ allergic conditions with convenience, a competitive safety profile and … no needles!
These advantages make for a treatment of respiratory allergies that goes beyond the mere control of symptoms. They make it reasonable to consider immunotherapy for cases where before the advice was mainly to “get rid of the cat” or “buy dust mite proof pillows and mattress covers.”
As sublingual immunotherapy can reduce one’s risk of developing further respiratory allergies and complications such as allergic asthma, it makes sense to consider it early in a person’s life. Children as young as five years old and some even younger have been treated.
Immunotherapy, as some put it, addresses the cause of allergies. Sublingual immunotherapy allows progressive allergists and others specialists dealing with respiratory allergies to present their patients with a sensible and safe therapeutic option. Whether it is a physically active person, restricted from jogging outdoors during the pollen season, or a child with house dust mite-related asthma or a person unable to part with his/her pet, a thorough assessment by a specialist experienced with sublingual immunotherapy can make a life-long difference.