Allergies occur when your immune system has an abnormal reaction to a substance called an allergen. Allergies and allergic reactions differ from person to person, and there are a variety of treatments available to help patients cope with symptoms or treat allergies completely.
Dr. Daneshrad specializes in treating patients in the Santa Monica and Torrance area with Immunotherapy, or allergy shots. Contact our office today to learn more.
What Is Immunotherapy For Allergies?
Immunotherapy is the administration of allergens, in small quantities, to the patient in order to change the immune response and thereby eliminate allergy symptoms. Immunotherapy can be provided as subcutaneous shots (allergy shots, SCIT) or as sublingual drops (allergy drops, SLIT).
Who Is An Ideal Candidate For Immunotherapy?
The ideal candidate for allergy shots or drops is a patient with quantifiable allergies found during testing who fails to respond to traditional allergy medications, like anti-histamine pills and nasal sprays. For example, a patient that is allergic to ragweed or cats that continues to have symptoms despite taking all of the regular medications is a good candidate for immunotherapy for allergies. In this instance, allergy shots or drops for ragweed and cats would be developed and administered to the patient.
How Are Allergy Shots Administered?
A course of immunotherapy for allergies typically begins with Dr. Daneshrad injecting a small quantity of the allergen into your body once a week. As your allergy treatment continues, the doses are slowly increased to help your immune system generate a tolerance to the allergen.
After one or two months of treatment, an optimal amount of allergen in the injection will be determined that allows the patient to experience limited exposure to the allergen without developing symptoms.
This is referred to as a maintenance dose. Once the maintenance dose is reached, the patient will receive the same dose with decreasing frequency.
What Are The Benefits Of Immunotherapy?
Allergy immunothrapy is personalized and specific. Rather than taking non-specific allergy medications that have associated side effects, like drowsiness and an increased risk of cataracts, a patient is given small amounts of the specific allergen to which they are allergic. With time, the patient’s immune system evolves to recognize the allergen as non-toxic, and the symptoms decrease. With immunotherapy, the immune system is being changed for the better whereas with medications, the symptoms are just being masked.
When Will I See The Benefits Of Immunotherapy For Allergies?
A short term decrease in allergy symptoms is generally seen in 6 months. In order to eradicate the allergy all together, immunotherapy will take 3-5 years depending on the allergen and the patient’s sensitivity.
Are There Any Risks Of Allergy Shots?
In general, immunotherapy is safe, but certain precautions must be taken when receiving immunotherapy for allergies, such as post-treatment observation and carrying an epi-pen should a reaction occur. For most patients, immunotherapy for allergies does not produce any reactions.
Occasionally we will see some redness and irritation at the site of the treatment, whether it is under the tongue or at the site of the injection. Very rarely, a patient can have an anaphylactic reaction to allergy shots.
Allergy drops are safer than allergy shots, as there has never been a reported anaphylactic reaction with drops.
Dr. Daneshrad proudly provides patients from Santa Monica, Torrance and the surrounding areas with immunotherapy for allergies, including both allergy shots and allergy drops. Contact us at 310.453.6500 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment today. We are proud to serve patients from Brentwood, Malibu, Culver City, Marina Del Rey, Venice, Pacific Palisades, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, and Palos Verdes.