An Immunity System Out Of Control
An allergic reaction may seem like nothing but a harmful body reaction, but the truth is that in many cases, the physical symptoms of an allergic reaction are there to help us in other situations. Swelling from someone allergic to pets is a reaction that can help swollen muscles to recover faster after injury. Eyes watering from pollen is normally an immune reaction when particles get in the eye, and more lubrication is required to remove the foreign body. In other words, what an allergic reaction is when the immunity system overreacts to something that is normally not considered a harmful substance to most people.
Allergies can manifest at any time in a person’s life. So while many people discover their allergic reactions in childhood, it’s possible for years, or even decades to pass, before someone, as an adult, develops an allergic reaction. Because allergies are lifelong conditions, like Asthma, or diabetes, there is no cure for an allergy; it can only be managed.
For most people, the simplest option for an allergy is to avoid the allergen, that is, the substance that triggers an allergic response. But there are many circumstances, such as professional obligations, where this may not be possible. If it’s not feasible to avoid potential allergic situations, the best thing to do is treat the allergy.
The first step is to identify what the specific allergic substance is. Depending on the type of allergy, and severity of the reaction, this may involve exposing skin to potential allergens, testing the diet, or conducting blood tests that find the specific substance.
In some cases, once the allergen has been identified, some patients may qualify for a form of treatment known as allergy immunotherapy. While this is not a cure for allergies, it can reduce, or even temporarily eliminate an allergic reaction.
Building Up Immunity
Allergy immunotherapy is a treatment that works along principles similar to vaccines. For the moment, allergy immunotherapy is not available for people with food allergies. For others, however, with allergic reactions to substances like dust mites, some grasses, or ragweed, it is possible, through controlled dosages to build up a temporary tolerance.
In some cases, this can reduce the severity of an allergic reaction. In the best-case scenarios, some allergic reaction symptoms may disappear completely. However, this is not a permanent fix. Once the allergy immunotherapy ceases, the allergic reactions will return eventually.
A Schedule Of Injections
Typical allergy immunotherapy takes place over months. Once the allergen has been identified, controlled doses of it are administered via a needle. If the patient shows no severe reaction to the initial injection, a schedule is created that involves the patient coming in once or twice a week to receive a shot, and this continues for several months. Once the ideal level has been achieved, maintenance shots are required every 2-4 weeks.
For people in a hurry, there is a “short cut” version of this treatment known as cluster immunotherapy, where multiple shots are administered in a single visit. Other alternatives, such as drops or tablets, are also available. However, to find out which method is best suited for your allergy needs, it is important to consult with a medical specialist, get a thorough diagnosis, and then discuss options based on your allergy situation.