Allergy treatment options.
One of the easiest remedies, avoidance, or prevention, involves removing or decreasing exposure to the cause of the symptoms from your life. For example, a particular food can be avoided, or a pet can be removed from the home or kept away from sleeping areas. If one is allergic to dust mites, a common allergen in this part of the country, we often recommend pillow and/or mattress covers that are impermeable to dust mite antigen penetration.
Some causes of symptoms, such as pollen, molds, and dust mites, cannot be totally eliminated. Exposure can be reduced, however, by environmental control measures prescribed by your allergist. Remember, you don't need 100% avoidance to improve – just enough to get you feeling better.
Although avoidance is always the primary recommendation, more treatment is usually advised. Medications frequently are used to decrease allergy symptoms and return patients to full health. Recent advances in medications for allergies, asthma and other allergic diseases have been phenomenal. Improvements in drugs have eliminated most of the side effects associated with them just a few years ago. Your specialist at The Allergy Clinic will be able to suggest the latest safe, and most effective, medications for treating your allergic illness. Medications are generally divided up into two categories--those to prevent your symptoms, and those to treat your symptoms. It is reasonable to infer that prevention medications must be used regularly to be most effective. Prescription medications can be very expensive; however, we will work with you and your insurance company to find the most effective therapeutic alternatives covered by your plan.
Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots)
Although medications may reduce or prevent symptoms, only a regimen of allergy shots can actually alter or fix a patient's allergic response. Allergy shots have been used by the medical profession since 1911. This time-tested therapy decreases a patient's sensitivity by introducing increasingly larger doses of the substances to which the patient is allergic. The treatment is a method for increasing the allergic patient's natural resistance to the things that are triggering the allergic reactions.
Think of it this way: The allergic response is an overreaction to a harmless substance. When the allergic patient comes across something to which they are sensitive, the allergic cascade begins, often leading to misery. The non-allergic person will breathe in the same thing and have no adverse response. The goal of allergy shots is to gain this tolerance to harmless substances which are mistaken for dangerous invaders.
See immunotherapy or rush immunotherapy for more information. Also see sublingual immunotherapy.