Allergy Doctor in Spartanburg & Greer, SC
Some allergens are simply impossible to avoid. You cannot live a normal life and completely avoid pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and certain other common triggers of allergic reactions. Many allergy sufferers use medications such as antihistamines and steroid nasal sprays to suppress their symptoms, and these medications are very effective in most. For people with very severe symptoms, and those who cannot take allergy medications, immunotherapy is an alternative.
Immunotherapy is the name for a treatment used by allergy specialists (allergists) to reduce sensitivity to allergens. This therapy is particularly useful for people with allergic rhinitis (sometimes called hay fever). Immunotherapy involves a series of injections (shots) given regularly for several years. In the past, this was called a serum, but this is an incorrect name. Most allergists now call this mixture an allergy extract. The first shots contain very tiny amounts of the antigen or antigens to which you are allergic. With progressively increasing dosages over time, your body will adjust to the antigen and become less sensitive to it. This process is called desensitization.
Immunotherapy is the only available treatment that can modify the natural course of the allergic disease. This means that a 3- to 5-year regimen of injections may result in long-term benefits that extend well beyond the completion of the regimen. Immunotherapy does not work for everyone and is only partly effective in some people, but it offers allergy sufferers the chance of eventually stopping medication or reducing the amount they have to take.
Allergy Drop Therapy involves drops of offending allergen, food or inhalant, placed under the tongue, creating immune tolerance.
Like allergy shots, the allergy drops use FDA approved antigen extracts to create a custom made solution for each patient. In the United States, many patients have received benefit from allergy drops. In parts of Europe, allergy drop therapy is used more often than shots. Much like a series of allergy shots, allergy drops are used to gradually decrease the body's hyperactive response due to allergies. This can permanently improve the immune system after 3 to 5 years of therapy.
Receptors under the tongue called dendritic cells detect molecules in the allergy drop solution and present them to immune system T cells. These T-regulatory cells induce and maintain tolerance to antigens, the molecules in the allergy drop, and can prevent development of future sensitivities. They do this by training the immune system to tolerate these molecules by a process called “down regulation”. Each time an allergy drop is placed under the tongue, the immune system is being taught to become more tolerant. This results in significant symptom reduction and less need for medications.