Allergic rhinitis is the inflammation and irritation of mucous membranes within the nose due to airborne allergens. Dander, pollen and house dust mite are just some of the common allergens. Symptoms observed of allergic rhinitis can include; nasal congestion; postnasal drip; persistent sneezing; itchy eyes, nose, ears and throat. Over time with prolonged allergic rhinitis symptoms may progress to a blocked nose, light sensitivity, irritability, pressure within the ears/difficulty hearing alongside dark circles underneath the eyes.
Allergy immunotherapy is a treatment that is used to treat the underlying cause of the allergic disease, not just treat the symptoms. This is done by exposing patients to a low dose of the allergen regularly; this enables the body to gradually build a tolerance towards the allergen. Studies have shown that improvements can be shown within a few weeks compared to placebo; however more vigorous research is still ongoing.
Studies show that the need for symptomatic medication such as an antihistamine was reduced using immunotherapy medications. Allergen immunotherapy has the potential to; reduce or stop allergic symptoms; reduce or stop the need for symptomatic medications; prevent the onset of other allergies; known as polysensitisation; and can help significantly improve quality of life.
However allergen immunotherapy is an ongoing treatment usually spanning from three months to three years duration for complete treatment – as it aims to‘re-educate’ the body’s immune system. Examples include Acarizax, Grazax and Oralair therapy.
Allergen immunotherapy works at a cellular level, and it assists the body’s reaction to an allergen. This is done by the body creating antibodies that don’t result in allergic symptoms compared to when the body overreacts to an allergen which causes those allergic symptoms develop. Allergen immunotherapy is also said to last for 2-3 years following the completion of the treatment course.
Over the treatment time the allergen doses are steadily increased to help build a stronger tolerance to a specific allergen. As everyone person’s allergic symptoms and reaction varies, allergen immunotherapy is usually designed to individualise treatment according to individual patient allergies.
If you would like to make an appointment for allergy treatment, or to arrange allergen desensitisation including for dust mite, grass or pollen make an appointment. Contact us today!