Allergy & Immunotherapy
Spring is one of the most symptomatic times of the year for allergy sufferers.
How Common Are Allergies?
Allergies are one of the most frequent chronic diseases that affect Americans every year? Allergies have a very high societal cost both in medications and reduced productivity due to symptoms. These symptoms can affect the nose and sinuses causing nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, and sinusitis. Symptoms can also lead to itchy eyes and eczema. The lungs can be involved causing asthma, coughing, and wheezing. Although there are no “cures” for allergy, there are many effective treatments and at Peak Rejuvenation we can certainly improve your quality of life if you are an allergy sufferer.
Many patients rely on over the counter medication or the traditional “allergy shot” provided by many primary care offices. Unfortunately, medications may not fully control symptoms and have many side effects. That allergy shot? It is a steroid called Decadron or Kenalog. While excellent at reducing symptoms, steroid shots have the risk of severe side effects. These include bone loss and bone death, weakening of the immune system, and suppression of the body’s ability to make its own natural steroids. Many medical specialty societies have recommended against this form of temporary treatment.
How do we treat allergies differently at Peak Rejuvenation?
By taking a through medical history to determine what symptoms are present and when they occur, as well as a detailed physical exam, we will work with patients to devise a treatment plan that is well tolerated and effective at reducing symptoms. If indicated, allergy testing by either skin or blood test can be performed. We can provide allergy immunotherapy with either traditional allergy injections or by a newer technique were drops are placed under the tongue.
Allergy immunotherapy, or AIT, is a fancy term for allergy shots or drops. AIT uses allergy testing results to develop a unique serum tailored to each patient’s allergies.
How does allergy testing work?
Allergies are caused when our body’s immune system produces an antibody called IgE to substances in the environment. These substances, such as pollen or molds, contain proteins that activate the immune system and cause the release of histamine as well as many other substances. When we perform allergy testing, we are looking to see if IgE is present to environmental allergens. At Peak Rejuvenation we perform Modified Quantitative Testing. This form of skin testing combines two techniques, traditional skin prick testing, and more sensitive intradermal testing. This technique provides precise results of not just what a patient is allergic to, but more importantly, their level of sensitivity. Using this detailed approach, we can develop a comprehensive plan for treatment. Another option for testing is blood testing. This test measures the level of IgE in the blood to determine allergy. It is typically reserved for patients that cannot undergo skin testing.
How do you treat allergies?
The treatment of allergies usually requires a multipronged approach. Avoidance, if possible, provides the best outcomes. Medications may be needed for some patients. In patients where medications and avoidance are ineffective, or symptoms are severe, immunotherapy offers the best long-term control of symptoms. With immunotherapy we use your allergy testing results to develop a serum that is administered either by injection or with drops under the tongue. Although immunotherapy is the closet to a “cure” for allergies it requires significant patient compliance to be effective. The treatment typically last for 3-5 years and shots are given once per week while drops are taken once a day.
The doctors and staff at Peak Rejuvenation are ready to help you reach your Peak. If you are an allergy sufferer and are dissatisfied with your symptoms call our office today for an evaluation. Visit our website at www.peakrejuvenation.com or call 970-259-5990.