Allergy Treatment Options
Once your allergens are identified via appropriate testing, a completely customized, targeted treatment plan can be created specifically for you.
The first line of therapy is typically education and avoidance of your allergens.
The second line of therapy is aimed at decreasing your symptoms and the inflammation associated with your allergies.
For allergy symptoms that affect your eyes (i.e. red eyes, itchy eyes, tearing, puffy eyelids, dark circles under your eyes, etc.) you may be instructed to use artificial tears, prescription antihistamine eye drops, frozen peas, etc.. You should not take antihistamine tablets by mouth, especially if you have dry eye, as antihistamines by mouth exacerbate your dryness (from head to toe) as a side effect.
If you have symptoms involving your nose and throat (i.e. a runny nose, sneezing, scratchy throat, sore throat, cough, headaches, tiredness, lethargy, sinus congestion, sinusitis, post-nasal drip, etc.) you may be instructed to use various nasal sprays ranging from over the counter (holistic) products to prescription nasal sprays. Again, it is recommended that you refrain from taking antihistamine tablets by mouth because of their drying effect.
The third line of therapy for allergies (and associated medical conditions such as asthma, eczema, psoriasis, postnasal drip and sinusitis) is immunotherapy.
Our patients are benefiting greatly from being successfully desensitized using our custom sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) drops. Immunotherapy is intended to reduce or eliminate your allergy symptoms, associated medical conditions and their symptoms, and your need to take medications.
Immunotherapy works by desensitizing you, or recalibrating your immune system by exposing your immune system, in a very controlled way, to slowly increasing dosages of your allergens. By doing this, your body learns tolerance and won’t have the same allergic reaction upon exposure to your allergens in the future.
Immunotherapy has been used for decades in the United States and extensively all over the world. There are two ways to administer immunotherapy: via injections or sublingually (under your tongue).
With injection therapy, the allergens to which you are allergic are mixed together, placed in a syringe and administered as a shot given at a weekly doctor’s appointment.
With sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) the same group of allergens is mixed together, but instead of putting the mixture into a syringe, it is placed into a small bottle (very similar to a large bottle of eye drops). This bottle is then given to you, along with clear instructions for placing a couple of drops under your tongue daily in the convenience of your own home; no needles, no weekly doctor’s appointments. Over the course of time, you are desensitized to your allergens. Sublingual immunotherapy consists of two phases: the escalation phase and the maintenance phase. The escalation phase typically takes six to twelve months, and the maintenance phase typically takes twenty four months.
Sublingual immunotherapy is safer, more convenient and more comfortable than weekly shots which has been shown to greatly enhance long-term compliance.
Allergy shots are FDA approved, as are several sublingual tablets. The FDA has not yet approved sublingual immunotherapy in the form of drops, therefore sublingual drop therapy is considered off label.
Sublingual immunotherapy in drop form has been used for decades throughout Europe and Asia and has been proven to be both safe and effective in decreasing both the inflammation that causes allergy symptoms and the need to take allergy medications.
Sublingual immunotherapy is a natural, homeopathic way to treat your allergies; it is more cost effective than allergy shots or taking allergy medicines. For allergy shots, the cost of the weekly doctor appointment typically involves a copay and/or a deductible, time away from work, transportation costs, etc.. The cost associated with medicine for symptomatic relief of your allergies can add up over the course of years, and the ongoing use of these medications is not very healthy.
The goal of sublingual immunotherapy is the long-term reduction or elimination of your allergies, their associated medical conditions, and the reduction of your need to take medications.
Much of the morbidity associated with untreated, or under-treated, allergies can be prevented with proper diagnosis and treatment.
Additional Holistic Allergy Treatments
To reduce sinus congestion:
- Use saline nasal irrigation – rinsing out your sinuses with a salt and water solution often helps.
- You can also try using a neti pot, or a specially designed squeeze bottle, to flush out thickened mucus and irritants from your nose. However, improper use of a neti pot, or other device, can lead to infection.
- Use water that’s distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered using a filter with an absolute pore size of 1 micron, or smaller, to make up the irrigation solution. Prepare the saline solution with the appropriate water, using the mixture supplied by the neti pot or one you make. Be sure to rinse the irrigation device after each use with distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered water and leave open to air dry.
To reduce allergy symptoms from indoor allergens:
- Reduce your exposure to dust mites and pet dander by frequently washing bedding and frequently washing (or eliminating) stuffed toys in hot water, regularly using a vacuum with a fine filter such as a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and replacing carpeting with hard flooring.
- Keep pets off of your bed and furniture.
- Install furnace filters and sleep with a HEPA filter next to your bed.
To reduce allergy symptoms from mold:
- Reduce moisture in damp areas, such as your bathroom and kitchen, by using ventilation fans and dehumidifiers. Fix leaks inside and outside your home.
To reduce allergy symptoms from pollen:
- Stay indoors with the windows closed and air conditioning on on days when pollen counts are high.
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