Allergies can be unpleasant under normal circumstances, but when your allergies are so severe that normal over-the-counter medicines don’t alleviate your symptoms, they can be miserable. Fortunately, immunotherapy is available to help with those cases.

What is immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is a treatment system where patients are regularly given gradually-increasing doses of their allergens to increase their tolerance to them. Immunotherapy won’t cure allergies, but it will reduce their symptoms.

Both adults and children can receive immunotherapy, CEENTA Allergy Clinical Coordinator Clarisa Thomas, RN, BSN, said.

Patients are first tested for many suspected allergens. Following allergy testing, the doctor, the patient and/or their parent or guardian determine the best form of treatment, Ms. Thomas said.

Therapy is customized to each individual patient. To determine the best form of therapy, the physician will consider the severity of allergens, lifestyle, and costs, Ms. Thomas said.

Three forms of immunotherapy: shots, drops, and tablets

Immunotherapy shots are effective for treating allergies such as insect venom, pollen, mold, pet dander, and dust mites, but they are not effective for treating food allergies. During the buildup phase, allergy shots are administered regularly at your doctor’s office. They will give you the shot, and then keep you there for 30 minutes to monitor you for any reactions. Once the buildup phase is complete, you will start a series of maintenance injections.

Allergy drops are similar to allergy shots, but are taken orally. They are held under the tongue for two minutes, and then swallowed. The first dose is administered in the doctor’s office and the rest are done at home. Drops can treat everything shots can, except for allergies to mold, cockroaches, and certain animal dander.

Allergy tablets treat grass and ragweed pollen allergies. You start using them three to four months before the appropriate pollen season and continue to take them for about six months of the year. Allergy tablets are available in prescription form.

Some patients who are unable to come to an office may qualify for home immunotherapy, Ms. Thomas said. Patients are encouraged to consult with their physician to determine if this is the best form of treatment.

Immunotherapy is available at our SouthPark, Belmont, Blakeney, Concord, Huntersville, Lancaster, Matthews, Mooresville, Pineville, Rock Hill, Salisbury, Steele Creek, and University offices.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. To make an appointment with a CEENTA physician and see if immunotherapy is right for you, please call 704-295-3000.


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