Spring Allergies Again! Stop This Annual Cycle With Allergy Immunotherapy
Spring is almost here! You can see the trees beginning to bloom and while it is beautiful, it brings with it very unpleasant symptoms for many people, year after year. While over-the-counter medications such as oral antihistamines and steroid based nasal sprays can help significantly lessen the severity of allergy symptoms, for many patients, even with regular use, these medications don’t give them adequate relief. In addition, many patients find themselves not wanting to take medications every year, and/or perhaps experience adverse side effects of these medications such as drowsiness or nosebleeds. We find that a number of patients hope for a more natural approach to their allergies, and immunotherapy may be just what they need to stop their annual Springtime allergies.
Allergy immunotherapy injections, also known as “allergy shots” are small injections containing minute amounts of allergens (such as pollen, dust, animal dander) that you, specifically, are allergic to. Over time, your immune system builds up protective antibodies against these allergens, resulting in a reduction in your seasonal (or year round) allergy symptoms. The benefits of immunotherapy injections have long been documented for children, as well as young and middle aged adults.
However, few studies have looked specifically at the elderly population. A new study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), shows that elderly patients (over 65 yrs of age) had a 55% reduction in symptoms and a 64% reduction in their need for allergy medications when treated with 3 years of immunotherapy injections. This study concluded that allergy shots were not only safe and effective in elderly patients, but that the immune response seen in elderly patients was similar to that seen in younger populations. Whether you are a child, a Millennial, a Baby Boomer, or somewhere in between, medical research shows that allergy shots can be very effective in reducing your allergies symptoms and actually making you less allergic (as opposed to medication, which only treats allergy symptoms). We can treat patients of almost any age—from young child to senior citizen-- with allergy immunotherapy. If you are suffering from seasonal allergies, schedule an appointment with one of our providers, get allergy tested, find out exactly what you are allergic to and discuss a treatment plan. We can work together to determine if allergy immunotherapy may be the right choice for you.
And for patients who are interested in allergy immunotherapy but prefer to explore options that don’t involve injections, we can also discuss whether sublingual immunotherapy, given as tablets for grass pollen, ragweed and/or dust mite, or as liquid drops taken under the tongue, which can treat a broader range of allergens, might be the best choice for you. One advantage of the aqueous sublingual drops is that they can be customized to treat your specific allergies. However, most insurers do not cover the sublingual drops while almost all cover allergy injections and many insurers also cover the sublingual tablets.