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Allergy Medicine

Spring - when your nose does more running than you do.

Allergies are a misfire of our immune system, recognizing perfectly harmless proteins as potential invaders. Whereas in autoimmune diseases, our immune system recognizes our own internal cells/proteins as potentially harmful, allergy is directed at external triggers. Pollen, dust, dander, and other triggers are common, and can be seasonal or environmental (or both). Foods can also be allergens, and some food allergies are quite serious or potentially deadly.

One way our immune system can be "retrained" to tolerance of these harmless proteins is through repeated low level exposure, especially via our GI tract, where our immune system is on constant stand-by. This is done with very slow increases over time, and involves a shift in which immune cells are triggered by these various proteins. With sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), you take drops of slowly escalating doses of pollens, etc, daily for 4-5 years. By the end of therapy, you are generally without any allergy symptoms, and the effects can last 20+ years - essentially a "cure", similar to allergy shots. SLIT is done in the comfort of your own home/work, no need for weekly office visits and time off from work. 

Allergy shots work similarly, with increasing exposure over time. However, they require regular visits to the allergist's office for the shots, plus the additional time where you must wait in case of severe allergic reaction. They are also expensive if not covered by insurance. And from personal experience, I can also say they are not very comfortable. You have to stop taking your antihistamines and other allergy medications before and during treatment.

With SLIT (sublingual immunotherapy), you have a blood draw to test for allergens, with quarterly online visits for the first year, and follow up visits twice a year for the remainder of therapy. You can also continue to take allergy medications during treatment. More convenience, less expense, with a final cure for those pesky allergies. 

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please call for more information.

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