Understanding Allergy Therapy: Risks, Preparation and Results

Wyndly Care Team
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What is the best allergy therapy?

The best allergy therapy varies per individual, but allergy immunotherapy is highly effective. It works by regularly exposing the body to allergens in small, increasing doses to build immunity. This includes subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots) and sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops or tablets).

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What is Allergy Therapy?

Allergy therapy, also known as allergy immunotherapy, is a long-term treatment approach that aims to decrease sensitivity to allergens. It involves exposing the patient to increasing doses of a specific allergen to retrain the immune response.


Allergy immunotherapy involves a series of treatments that slowly expose the patient to larger amounts of the allergen. The therapy is usually administered through injections (allergy shots) or sublingually (under the tongue). Over time, this process decreases the immune system's overreaction to the allergen, reducing the severity of allergic reactions.

Purpose of Allergy Therapy

The purpose of allergy therapy is to provide long-term relief from allergic symptoms. While over-the-counter (OTC) medications and prescription drugs treat symptoms temporarily, allergy exposure therapy aims to address the root cause. It can effectively desensitize individuals to specific allergens, leading to lasting relief even after the conclusion of therapy. This treatment modality is particularly beneficial for individuals with severe allergies or those for whom other treatments have been ineffective.

What are the Risks Associated with Allergy Therapy?

Despite the many benefits of allergy therapy, it does come with certain risks. The most common are local reactions at the injection site or oral irritation with sublingual treatments. However, serious systemic reactions like anaphylaxis are rare.

Patients undergoing allergy injections might experience redness, swelling or irritation at the injection site. OTC creams for itch relief or painkillers for discomfort.

For those undergoing sublingual immunotherapy, irritation or swelling under the tongue or in the mouth is a common, yet mild, side effect. These symptoms often decrease over time as the body becomes used to the allergen.

Although severe reactions to allergy therapy are rare, they can occur. Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, is the most serious risk associated with allergy therapy but is extremely rare. To safeguard against this, the initial doses of allergen immunotherapy are often administered in a clinical setting under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Allergy immunotherapy is a medically supervised treatment, and any reactions can be quickly and effectively treated.

In conclusion, while there are risks associated with allergy therapy, these are typically mild and manageable, especially when weighed against the potential long-term relief from allergy symptoms.

How to Prepare for Allergy Therapy?

Preparing for allergy therapy involves understanding your treatment plan, adhering to pre-appointment guidelines, and managing your expectations. It's also essential to communicate openly with your healthcare provider about your symptoms and any concerns you may have.

Before starting allergy therapy, it's crucial to understand the different ways to manage allergies. This includes knowing the difference between temporary relief treatments and long-term solutions like allergen-specific immunotherapy (AIT).

Patients should also follow any pre-appointment guidelines provided by their healthcare provider. This could involve avoiding certain foods or medications that might interfere with treatment.

Lastly, managing expectations is a key part of preparation. Allergy therapy is a gradual process that works by slowly desensitizing your immune system to allergens. While some patients may experience a reduction in symptoms relatively quickly, most will see progressive improvement over time. Remember, allergy immunotherapy is a long-term solution designed to provide lasting relief from allergy symptoms.

What to Expect from Allergy Therapy?

Allergy therapy is a multifaceted process designed to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of allergies. It involves a series of treatments over a specified period with the ultimate goal of desensitizing your immune system to specific allergens.

You can expect a few common steps in your allergy therapy journey. The initial phase, often called the build-up phase, involves receiving increasing amounts of allergens in your allergy tablets or injections. This phase typically lasts three to six months, and your tolerance for allergens gradually increases over time.

The second phase, known as the maintenance phase, begins once the effective dose is reached. During this phase, the dose of allergens remains consistent, and you'll continue to take your allergy tablets or receive injections at regular intervals. This phase can last for several years, but many patients start to notice a decrease in their allergy symptoms within the first year of therapy.

It's important to note that while allergy therapy can provide significant relief, it may not completely eliminate all symptoms. Some patients might still need to use additional treatments for allergic rhinitis or other allergy-related conditions. However, successful allergy therapy can significantly reduce the severity of symptoms and the need for other medications.

What are the Results of Allergy Therapy?

The results of allergy therapy can vary depending on the individual's sensitivity, the type of allergen, and the specific therapy used. Generally, successful therapy can lead to a significant reduction or even elimination of allergy symptoms.

Over time with continued treatment, patients often notice they can tolerate exposure to allergens better, resulting in fewer allergic reactions. This is because the immune system becomes less sensitive to the allergen, thereby reducing the severity of symptoms.

It's important to remember that while many patients experience substantial relief from their symptoms, this does not mean they are completely immune to the allergen. Some individuals may still experience mild symptoms when exposed to large amounts of the allergen. However, these symptoms are typically much less severe than before therapy.

What are the Different Types of Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy, a type of allergy therapy, includes a variety of treatments designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight allergens. The types of immunotherapy include allergy shots, sublingual immunotherapy, allergen immunotherapy, and novel immunotherapy strategies.

Allergy Shots and Their Functioning

Allergy shots, also known as allergen immunotherapy, involve injecting small doses of allergens under the skin. This method aims to help the body build resistance and decrease allergic reactions over time. Typically, a patient starts with frequent injections, which are gradually reduced as tolerance develops.

Sublingual Immunotherapy: Benefits and Procedure

Sublingual immunotherapy involves placing a tablet or drop containing the allergen under the tongue. This method is less invasive than allergy shots and can be administered at home. It's particularly beneficial for patients who have severe reactions or cannot regularly visit a healthcare provider for shots.

Understanding Immune Tolerance by Allergen Immunotherapy

Allergen immunotherapy works on the principle of immune tolerance. It exposes the body to gradually increasing amounts of an allergen, which trains the immune system to tolerate it. Over time, this can lead to reduced allergic reactions and less dependency on allergy medications.

Novel Immunotherapy Strategies

Novel immunotherapy strategies are continually being researched and developed to improve allergy treatment. These include new ways to deliver allergens, use of adjuvants to boost the immune response, and targeted therapies that focus on specific immune cells or pathways involved in allergic reactions. These advancements hold the potential to make allergy therapy more effective and tolerable.

What Reactions Can Occur After Allergy Therapy?

After allergy therapy, patients can experience a variety of reactions. These reactions can be broadly categorized into two types: local and systemic. Both types can cause discomfort but are typically manageable with appropriate aftercare.

Local Reactions

Local reactions occur at the site of the treatment. For allergy shots, this usually means redness, swelling, or itching at the injection site. Similarly, sublingual immunotherapy can cause itching or swelling in the mouth. While discomforting, these reactions are usually mild and subside on their own.

Systemic Reactions

Systemic reactions are less common but more serious. They can involve the entire body and include symptoms such as hives, wheezing, abdominal pain, and dizziness. In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis can occur. Patients should seek immediate medical attention if they experience systemic reactions.

When to Call the Doctor After Allergy Therapy?

You should contact your doctor after allergy therapy if you notice persistent local reactions or any signs of systemic reactions. Immediate medical attention is necessary for severe symptoms like difficulty breathing, fainting, or rapid heartbeat.

Persistent local reactions such as redness, swelling, or itching that do not subside after a few hours may indicate a need for adjusting your treatment plan.

Experiencing systemic reactions, although rare, is a medical emergency. If symptoms like hives, wheezing, abdominal pain, or dizziness occur after therapy, call your doctor immediately. In the case of severe reactions like anaphylaxis, seek emergency medical help.

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If you want long-term relief from your allergies, Wyndly can help. Our doctors will help you identify your allergy triggers and create a personalized treatment plan to get you the lifelong relief you deserve. Start by taking our quick online allergy assessment today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is allergy therapy called?

Allergy therapy is typically referred to as Allergen Immunotherapy. This therapeutic approach treats allergies by exposing the patient to small, controlled amounts of allergens over time. The two main types are Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT), and Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT).

What is the gold standard for allergy treatment?

The gold standard for allergy treatment is immunotherapy, often in the form of allergy shots or sublingual tablets. This treatment involves exposing the patient to small, gradually increasing amounts of the allergen, which over time can reduce or even eliminate allergic reactions to that substance.

What are the 4 R's of allergy prevention?

The 4 R's of allergy prevention are: Remove (eliminate allergens from the environment), Replace (substitute with non-allergenic alternatives), Reduce (minimize exposure to allergens), and Restrict (limit activities during high pollen counts or other allergen-heavy times). Following these can help manage allergy symptoms.

What are the goals of therapy for allergies?

The goals of allergy therapy are to reduce sensitivity to allergens, minimize symptoms, enhance quality of life, and potentially achieve long-term remission. This is accomplished through avoidance of known allergens, use of medications, and immunotherapy for desensitization purposes.

What are the symptoms of prolonged allergies?

Prolonged allergies can lead to chronic symptoms such as persistent cough, frequent sinus infections, headaches, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. They may also cause skin issues like eczema or hives. Over time, untreated allergies can exacerbate asthma or lead to other respiratory complications.

Does allergy immunotherapy have side effects?

Yes, allergy immunotherapy can have side effects. Minor ones include redness and swelling at the injection site, sneezing, nasal congestion, or hives. Rarely, severe reactions like anaphylaxis can occur. Most side effects can be managed, so consult your allergist for personalized advice.

What are three symptoms of allergies and how can they be managed?

Three common allergy symptoms are sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose. Management options include avoiding known allergens, using over-the-counter antihistamines or nasal sprays, and getting allergy shots (immunotherapy). For chronic or severe allergies, consult with an allergist for specialized treatment.

What is the best medicine to treat allergies?

The best medicine to treat allergies depends on the symptoms and severity of the individual's allergic reaction. Antihistamines, decongestants, corticosteroids, and leukotriene modifiers are commonly used. However, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the most suitable treatment plan.

What is the best medicine for drug allergies?

The best medicine for drug allergies largely depends on the severity of the reaction. Mild reactions may be treated with antihistamines or corticosteroids. However, for severe reactions like anaphylaxis, immediate treatment with epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, is necessary. Always consult with your doctor.

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