Knowing what you are allergic to allows you the best chance of avoiding the triggers for your symptoms. Sometimes simple changes in lifestyle can pay big dividends in improved control of your allergy and asthma symptoms. Our physicians can collaborate with you to help you know what measures to implement that have the best chance of making the greatest impact in improving your quality of life.
As you are probably aware, there are myriad medications available for the treatment of allergies. Knowing what to use when and in which patient is part of the art of specialized allergy & asthma care. Medication regimens formulated for you, your symptoms, and your lifestyle provide the best opportunity for symptom control.
Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots)
See the Allergy Shot FAQ under the “Allergy Info” button for more detailed information.
Allergy shots are the only treatment available today that will decrease your allergies. All other therapies are, in the end, “band aids” that control or mask symptoms. With allergy shots we are actually re-training your immune system so that it does not react to things to which it should not be reacting.
Allergy shots are effective for the management of pollen, mold, animal dander, and insect venom allergy. They can reduce the need for allergy medications, increase the number of symptom-free days, reduce asthma exacerbations, and save lives in the case of venom allergy shots. Allergy serum is custom-made on a per-patient basis to ensure that your serum is individualized to maximally treat your allergic sensitivities.
Allergy shots are the single best treatment to make a long-lasting improvement in your day-to-day allergy symptoms.
Traditionally, allergy shots are given twice weekly in the beginning followed by once weekly. This is how the dose is slowly escalated to re-train your immune system to not react to the components in the allergy serum. Over time, your dose “builds up” to a target dose shown in research to be effective in producing long-term improvement in the majority of patients. This type of regimen is very effective in the treatment of allergies but it may take several months after starting shots in order to reach doses that provide noticeable improvement.
A relatively newer method of building up to the effective dose is known as Rush Immunotherapy. In this method, several shots are clustered into an all-day visit at our office. By clustering the shots close together and by pre-treating you with a cocktail of allergy medicines before the procedure, we encourage the body to allow a much more rapid buildup of serum dose so that you feel better faster. Improvement in allergy symptoms after rush therapy is often seen within 6-8 weeks of the rush day.
Xolair is the first medication of its kind. It is a new medication that is designed to combat the allergy antibody in the blood. It is used currently to treat asthma but other indications for its use may be forthcoming. In select patients with asthma, it has dramatically reduced their need for steroid medications. It is one of the most high-tech therapies available in medicine today.
Sometimes you need a medication even though you are allergic to it. If no reasonable alternative exists, in many cases, we have techniques that allow us to slowly introduce the needed medication into your body so that you can tolerate it for as long as you need it. This can be life-saving in the event that a patient has an infection and needs an antibiotic to which they have had an allergic reaction in the past. There are many other examples of situations in which desensitization can make a dramatic impact on treatment options available. The procedures are very specialized and are available only from a few physicians in the community.
Tailored Asthma Care
Everyone is different. Every patient’s asthma is slightly different too. Patients have different allergic sensitivities, different medication tolerances, and different lifestyles. Having a physician take the time to look at the whole picture of asthma, its triggers, and how these relate to a patient’s lifestyle can make all the difference between mediocre and excellent asthma control. We individualize care to each patient knowing that “cookbook” medicine does not work any better than “one size fits all.”