Allergies can interfere with doing the things we love: owning a pet, spending time outdoors, eating our favorite foods, etc. Fortunately, immunotherapy can help.
Immunotherapy is a type of allergy treatment that has been around for many years. It is used for allergies that affect a patient’s safety or quality of life.
Treatment involves two phases. In the first phase, patients are tested to see what they are allergic to. Allergy Testing – ACAAI Public Website In the second phase, patients are given gradually increasing amounts of antigens (extracts from the things we’re allergic to). This can be done with shots or drops.
As the patient’s immune system gets used to exposure to antigens from grass, bee venom, dust or whatever the patient is allergic to, the patient eventually become less and less allergic. In 85 % of patients, immunotherapy causes the patient’s allergic response to greatly decrease or disappear.
The length of time that treatment is effective varies from patient to patient. In some cases allergic reactions can return years after immunotherapy has ended. If this occurs, treatment may need to be repeated. Because it has been done before, the second round of treatment should be much shorter.
If you have had immunotherapy for severe allergic reactions, your allergic reactions could possibly return years after treatment has ended. If symptoms begin to return, you may need to be retested to see if more immunotherapy is needed.