If you have allergies, you might think you’re stuck with them—and their frustrating symptoms—for life. For some people, that’s not necessarily true! That’s because there’s a type of therapy called allergen immunotherapy that helps prevent or minimize the symptoms of chronic allergies. You’ve probably heard it called “allergy shots,” but allergen immunotherapy goes by many names, including SLIT, for sublingual immunotherapy, and SCIT, for subcutaneous immunotherapy. No matter the name, the treatment is the same—introduce the offending allergen into your system, slowly, over long periods of time, to build immunity. And yes—a long-term commitment can be hard (especially for those of us who move apartments every six months), but if you have allergies, you might be more than willing to explore this option! Here’s the 101 on allergen immunotherapy: It’s kind of like taking a vaccine for a condition you already have. Your allergy symptoms are caused by your body’s response to a substance (allergen) that you inhale, touch, or eat. When your immune system senses that allergen, it confuses it with a foreign invader, like the flu virus or common cold. In fact, your immune system will go into overdrive every time you encounter the offending allergen, triggering an allergic reaction. If you go the route of allergy shots (SCIT), you’ll need to get them at a provider’s office because of the risks of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. With SLIT, instead of injecting the allergen under the skin, the dose is given under the tongue. There are two types of SLIT—tablets and drops, but only tablets are currently FDA approved. Typically, the first dose is given under medical supervision. Will it work for you? Both SCIT and SLIT can help you build resistance to the annoying effects of an allergen and relieve your symptoms. And SCIT has a proven (100-year) track record of working against allergies and preventing new ones from developing. Four types of SLIT tablets are now available and are considered safe and effective. As with many treatments, the benefits of allergen immunotherapy vary from person to person. Lots of people experience complete relief after following a full course of treatment, while some people see a reduction in their allergy symptoms after a few months, but it can take up to one year before the full results to kick in.
Recent posts about Allergen immunotherapy
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Videos about Allergen immunotherapy
EAACI, European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: Allergen Immunotherapy
EAACI, European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: Allergist Dr. Dana Wallace on Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT)
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Johns Hopkins Medicine: Sinus Surgery and Sublingual Immunotherapy - Dan's Story
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Books about Allergen immunotherapy
Allergy and Allergen Immunotherapy: New Mechanisms and Strategies
Allergy and Allergen Immunotherapy: New Mechanisms and Strategies is a valuable and comprehensive book that covers allergy and causative allergens and provides diagnostic and therapeutic aspects as well. With chapters from internationally recognized experts in the field, the book provides a balanced approach to enumerating pollen allergens as well as allergy diagnosis and therapeutic management and safety assessment of genetically engineered food allergens. The book features a special section on allergic diseases and allergens from tropical countries, including such countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Iran, and South Korea, giving the book a global appeal. The book is broken in the following sections: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, and Diagnosis of Allergy Aerobiology and Allergic Diseases Pollen Allergy in the Tropics and Temperate Regions Allergy in Children Food Allergy Evaluation Allergen Immunotherapy and Anti IgE The book deals not only on basics of allergy and allergen immunotherapy but also discusses indoor environments and safety considerations of genetically modified food allergens. The first of its kind volume from the Indian subcontinent that caters to the needs of clinicians, aerobiologists, environmentalists, and regulatory agencies as well, the volume will be of immense interest for clinicians and patients of allergy as well as diagnostic and therapeutic management of allergy in tropics.
- Harvard Health Publishing. Allergy Shots (Allergen Immunotherapy). Harvard Health Publishing. Allergy Shots (Allergen Immunotherapy).
- American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Allergy Shots. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Allergy Shots.
- American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Allergy Tablets (Sublingual Immunotherapy). American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Allergy Tablets (Sublingual Immunotherapy).
- Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. Allergen immunotherapy: an updated review of safety. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. Allergen immunotherapy: an updated review of safety.
- Current Opinion in Immunology. Antigen-specific immunotherapy of autoimmune and allergic diseases. Current Opinion in Immunology. Antigen-specific immunotherapy of autoimmune and allergic diseases.