If you have lived with the inconvenience of allergies for a long time, you might be surprised to learn that you can actually recover from them. Allergy desensitization is a treatment that provides safe, gradual exposure to your triggers. Over time, your body learns how to encounter the source of your allergies without sending your immune system into overdrive. At Asthma Allergy Centre in Tigard, OR, we have helped countless patients improve the quality of their lives by turning their allergies off. Read on to learn more about the benefits of this treatment and how it can improve your life!
What Is Allergy Desensitization?
This treatment is a way to train your body to tolerate the foods, environmental allergens, and other triggers that can provoke an allergic response. It uses a process of gradual exposure that can make you feel better and might even save your life.
What Kinds of Allergies Does It Treat?
This treatment can help with most forms of allergies, regardless of severity. Specific allergens it can treat include:
- Other nuts
- Mold and mildew
- Environmental allergens
- Pet dander
How Does It Work?
There are several different methods we can use to help you achieve freedom from your allergies:
Oral Immunotherapy (OIT)
Oral immunotherapy for food allergies happens in two phases. In the first phase, we introduce minute amounts of the problem food in a solution. Gradually, we increase the dosage of the allergen, making the solution more concentrated. When it is safe, we give the patient small amounts of the whole food. Eventually, the vast majority of people who undergo this treatment can safely consume foods that once triggered their allergies.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy uses injections to achieve allergy desensitization. We inject a tiny amount of the allergen at intervals, gradually increasing the potency. At the end of the treatment, most patients no longer suffer from their symptoms.
Instead of injections, sublingual immunotherapy uses drops that dissolve under the tongue. They are convenient because you don’t have to come to our office for many separate appointments over the course of your treatment.
The Benefits of Allergy Desensitization
You Are in Less Danger
Depending on the severity of your allergies, a strong reaction could create a life-threatening situation. Even without lethal consequences, a reaction could still entail a trip to the hospital or at least a scary episode. Some of the most dangerous food allergens are nuts and shellfish. They are known to trigger anaphylaxis, which causes the airways to close and the blood pressure to drop suddenly, among other symptoms.
With desensitization, you stop living in fear. Allergens that used to be life-threatening become benign. In the event that you are exposed, this treatment can actually save your life.
You Don’t Need to Carry an EpiPen
Patients with peanut allergies who choose not to do desensitization can carry an EpiPen as an alternative. This auto-injection kit can stop anaphylaxis if it starts to occur. However, it requires a high level of focus to remember to keep the kit with you at all times. Desensitization can simplify your life by eliminating the need for your EpiPen.
You Don’t Need to Wonder What’s in Your Food
How many unknown ingredients are involved when you don’t prepare food for yourself? If you have food allergies, or if your child does, you know how tricky it can be to determine if restaurant food is free of the allergen. In social situations, you don’t always know what people put into the food they bring to share. Asking about the ingredients can be awkward, and it doesn’t always yield all the information you need.
With this treatment, you can stop wondering what goes into everything you consume. You can order from menus more freely, and sharing food can be less complicated. If your child is the one with the food allergy, desensitization will eliminate the need to communicate constantly with friends’ parents and teachers about the dietary restrictions.
You Won’t Need to Isolate Yourself at Meal Times
People with very severe food allergies sometimes need to sit apart from others at mealtimes. Because food and conversation naturally go hand in hand, these individuals miss out on a lot of social interaction. This situation can be especially lonely for children. By making your food allergies less dangerous, you can finally join others at the table. For children, this means not having to sit alone at the cafeteria enduring a feeling of rejection. For everyone, it means being able to enjoy lots of good company along with food.
You Will Feel Healthier
When it comes to environmental allergies such as pollen and hay fever, your immune system’s response can really make you feel sick. While the allergens themselves are harmless, the symptoms you experience are real. They might include:
- Dry, itchy eyes
- A scratchy throat
- Runny nose
- Rashes and other skin conditions
These conditions can have a negative impact on your life. If you are trying to be productive during the day, feeling sick can slow you down. Social situations become less enjoyable. Even your sleep can be disrupted. When you choose allergy desensitization, you can say goodbye to the lousy feelings, even if you learned to live with them a long time ago. Being able to cope with your allergies is never as good as truly getting rid of them.
You Have More Energy
Allergies can make it hard to get stuff done. When your body is fighting an allergic reaction, it experiences stress. This can result in fatigue and a general disinclination towards your normal activities. Plus, certain allergy medications can make you drowsy. When you effectively “turn off” your allergies through this treatment, you will regain your energy and your motivation. Everything you do, from pursuing hobbies to building your career, will feel easier.
You Avoid Seasonal Bouts of Allergies
For some people, allergies are a seasonal occurrence. They often intensify during the fall, when lots of dry leaves accumulate in piles. They are also especially problematic in the spring when many new plants come into bloom. While having seasonal allergies might be preferable to feeling bad all the time, they are still a lot to deal with, and it can actually be harder to develop coping strategies when they only show up during certain times. Why not choose desensitization and feel good no matter what season it is?
You’ll Know When You’re Actually Sick
One inconvenient thing about allergies is that they often mimic symptoms of the flu. If you frequently suffer from an allergic response, it might be difficult for you to tell if you are coming down with something or if your allergies are acting up. By curing your allergies, you can better understand your health and how to care for yourself and others.
You Won’t Need as Many Medications
If you are constantly fighting to keep your allergies under control, you know that it can involve a lot of prescription meds. Picking them up at the pharmacy, carrying them with you, and remembering to take them can be a hassle. Additionally, many have unwanted side effects. Getting rid of your allergies will make it possible for you to do away with all the medications that go with them.
You Will Enjoy Your Time Outside
Many environmental allergens are more prevalent outdoors. That’s bad news for people who love spending time outside. The good news is that by treating your allergies, you can feel free to enjoy your time with nature. Suddenly, hiking trips, gardening, picnics, and all other outdoor activities can become more enjoyable for you.
You Won’t Need to Rearrange Your Home
For many people, dust is a dangerous allergen that can trigger an asthma attack. In severe cases, patients need to exercise extreme care in the upkeep of their homes. Dust is hard to clean out of carpets, stuffed animals, drapes, and blankets. If you don’t want to have to eliminate some of these comforting elements from your home, desensitization can help. It can also save you the need to clean obsessively, which is required to remove every speck of dust from a household.
You Can Keep Your Pet
It can be heartbreaking to learn that you or your child is allergic to a pet. Unfortunately, allergies to certain animals are extremely common. Treating the allergy can be an excellent alternative to finding another home for your pet. It can save your family the sad situation of saying goodbye to an animal companion.
You Enjoy Better Control Over Asthma and Eczema
These chronic conditions are often associated with allergens. Certain triggers can aggravate them and cause you to have an attack or an outbreak. While allergy desensitization cannot cure asthma or eczema, it can remove a source of your flare-ups.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How Effective Is This Treatment?
A: Over 90% of patients who choose this treatment are cured of their allergies.
Q: How Are Allergies Tested?
A: When you come into our office, we use a sophisticated method to determine which allergens trigger you. This involves placing a drop of the suspected allergen on your skin and using a single needle prick to test your response. In the case of food, we might also conduct a food challenge in our office. These methods are the most accurate means of understanding your allergies.
Q: How Long Before I See Results?
A: This treatment requires your body to build up a tolerance for whichever allergen bothers you. That process usually takes between 6 and 12 months.
Q: How Much Time Does This Treatment Take From Start to Finish?
A: After you start feeling better, it can take an additional 2 to 4 years of treatment to make you completely free of your allergies.
Q: Is This Treatment for Children or Adults?
A: Both! In children, we recommend this treatment sooner rather than later, because it can save them from a lot of discomfort. We can treat children ages 5 and up. Desensitization is also an excellent option for adults who want to get relief after years of suffering.
Schedule a Consultation
The best way to learn more about this treatment is by checking out our practice in person. When you come in for a consultation, we will show you around and answer any questions you might have. By learning more about your symptoms, we can put you on the path to an allergy-free life.
Discover the Benefits of Allergy Desensitization
Imagine life without your allergies. This treatment can help you eliminate a source of inconvenience, discomfort, and danger. Freeing yourself from your allergies is a life-changing step that you won’t regret. It’s a wonderful gift to give yourself or a child. Without your allergy symptoms, you will be able to live, work, and interact with others more freely.
To learn more about this treatment, contact the Asthma Allergy Centre in Tigard, OR today. We would love to help you get relief from your allergies.