Allergies are a common problem that affects millions of Americans. They can cause symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and even asthma. While there are many treatments available to manage allergies, subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) is considered the most effective way to manage allergies in the long term. In this blog, we will explore what subcutaneous immunotherapy is, how it works, and why it is considered the best way to manage allergies.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy is a treatment that involves injecting a small amount of an allergen into the patient's body. The allergen is injected under the skin, usually on the upper arm, and the dose is gradually increased over time. The goal of the treatment is to desensitize the patient's immune system to the allergen so that they no longer react to it.
Allergies reactions occur when the immune system overreacts to a substance that is normally harmless, like pollen or dust mites. When the immune system encounters an allergen, its immediate response is to produce antibodies that cause inflammation and other allergic symptoms. Subcutaneous immunotherapy works by exposing the patient's immune system to small amounts of the allergen over time. The immune system gradually becomes desensitized to the allergen, and the allergic symptoms become less severe or disappear altogether.
The treatment is administered in two phases: the build-up phase and the maintenance phase. During the build-up phase, patients receive weekly injections with gradually increasing doses of the allergen. This phase can last for several months until the maintenance dose is reached. In the maintenance phase, patients receive injections every 2-4 weeks with a consistent dose of the allergen.
SCIT exposes the immune system to small amounts of the allergen over time, which trains the immune system to become less sensitive to it. This reduces the severity of allergy symptoms over time and, in some cases, can even eliminate allergies altogether.
While SCIT is an effective treatment for allergies, it's important to note that it is not a quick fix. It requires a significant time commitment and patience, as it can take several months or years to see significant improvement. However, for those who are willing to commit to the treatment, the benefits can be life-changing.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) is considered the best way to manage allergies because it addresses the root cause of allergic reactions rather than just treating the symptoms. Unlike medications such as antihistamines and corticosteroids, which only provide temporary relief, SCIT is a long-term solution that can provide sustained relief from allergy symptoms.
SCIT is also effective for a wide range of allergies, including those caused by pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and insect venom. It is particularly useful for patients who have severe or debilitating allergies that significantly impact their quality of life.
Another benefit of SCIT is that it can reduce the need for other allergy medications. Studies have shown that patients who undergo SCIT require fewer allergy medications, such as antihistamines and nasal sprays, to manage their symptoms. This not only saves patients money on medication costs but also reduces the potential side effects associated with long-term use of these medications.
SCIT is also a safe treatment option when administered by a qualified healthcare provider. While there is a risk of allergic reactions to the injections, these are rare and can be managed with appropriate medical intervention. In contrast, many allergy medications can have significant side effects, especially when used long-term.
Finally, SCIT can provide long-term benefits that extend beyond just allergy relief. Studies have shown that SCIT can reduce the risk of developing asthma in patients with allergic rhinitis, which is a condition where the nasal passages become inflamed due to allergies. This is because untreated allergic rhinitis can lead to chronic inflammation in the airways, which can contribute to the development of asthma.
While SCIT is generally safe when administered by a qualified healthcare provider, there are potential side effects and risks to consider. These include:
1. Local reactions: The most common side effect of SCIT is a local reaction at the injection site, such as redness, swelling, or itching. These reactions are usually mild and go away on their own within a few hours.
2. Systemic Reactions: In rare cases, SCIT can cause a systemic reaction, which affects the whole body. Symptoms of a systemic reaction may include hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, and low blood pressure. These reactions are much more severe than a typical allergy attack and can be life-threatening that require immediate medical attention.
3. Anaphylaxis: Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction that can occur after SCIT. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, swelling of the face and throat, and loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical attention and may require the use of epinephrine.
4. Interference with Other Medications: SCIT can interfere with other medications, such as beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors, that are commonly used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease. Patients should inform their healthcare provider of all medications they are taking before undergoing SCIT.
5. Cost: SCIT can be expensive and may not be covered by insurance, which can be a barrier to some patients seeking treatment.
A good candidate for SCIT is someone who has a confirmed allergy to a specific substance and has not responded well to other treatments, such as avoidance of the allergen or medication. They should also have a good overall health status and be able to commit to the treatment schedule, which may involve weekly or monthly injections for several years. Patients with severe asthma or cardiovascular disease may not be suitable candidates for SCIT. The decision to undergo SCIT should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider who can assess the individual's specific needs and circumstances.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy is considered the best way to manage allergies for several reasons. It is the only treatment that addresses the underlying cause of allergies, is effective for a wide range of allergens, is a safe and well-tolerated treatment, and can be cost-effective in the long term. If you suffer from allergies, it's always to talk to your healthcare provider about whether subcutaneous immunotherapy may be an appropriate treatment for you. With the right treatment plan, you can manage your allergies and enjoy a better quality of life.
If you're sick and tired of suffering from allergies, Curex may be able to help. We give you a convenient alternative to doing allergy shots, which can be quite time-consuming. With Curex, you can apply allergy treatment through immunotherapy at the convenience of your own home. Our sublingual immunotherapy service is a safe and effective way to manage your allergies and improve your quality of life. Say goodbye to allergy symptoms and enjoy life to the fullest with Curex.