What Is Immunotherapy?

What Is Immunotherapy?

More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, including food allergies and allergies to dust, pollen, and other triggers. While occasional mild allergies like hay fever can be annoying and uncomfortable, many people suffer from allergies regularly, dealing with a stuffy nose, itchy eyes, hives, nausea, and breathing issues.

Primary Care Associates is a leading provider of immunotherapy, an advanced allergy treatment that helps your body slowly adapt to allergens, so symptoms are reduced or eliminated. Here’s how our team is helping patients at our Frederick and Clarksburg, Maryland, offices improve their allergy symptoms and health.

The basics of allergies

Your body’s immune system is a remarkably complex system designed to fight off invading germs and pathogens. Sometimes, though, your immune system overreacts to a substance that’s not necessarily harmful. That’s what happens in an allergic reaction.

Allergies happen when your body’s immune system has an abnormal response to a substance like pollen, chemical fumes, foods, medicines, or pet dander. The first step in treating allergies is determining what’s causing that abnormal response. We do that with allergy testing.

Allergy testing

Skin testing is one of the most effective ways to check for an allergic reaction to common substances. Our team marks out a grid on your back during a skin test, then administers a very tiny amount of an allergen to one square in the grid. 

After a brief period, we check the square for a reaction, noting which squares (and substances) exhibit allergic responses. Once the cause of your allergic reaction is determined, we can develop a custom treatment plan that may include immunotherapy.

How immunotherapy works

Sometimes called “allergy shots,” immunotherapy administers tiny “doses” of a known allergen to help you build up a tolerance or resistance to the substance. While immunotherapy was once only available as injectable “doses,” today, the therapy can also be administered for some allergies using drops placed under your tongue (sometimes called oral immunotherapy).

Our team offers both injections and oral drops, depending on your allergy type and other factors. Regardless of the type of treatment you receive, you’ll need to have frequent doses over several months, followed by maintenance doses to help you maintain tolerance and manage your allergy over the long term.

Immunotherapy isn’t always the best choice for very mild, infrequent symptoms, nor is it the best option for all types of allergies. For instance, because of the potential for severe reactions, allergy shots may not be used in treating many types of food allergies. Oral immunotherapy is a better option for some patients with food allergies.

Learn how to manage your allergies

No matter what type of allergy you suffer from, our team can help you manage your symptoms with immunotherapy, lifestyle changes, or other treatment options. Book an appointment online or over the phone today with the team at Primary Care Associates and let them develop a plan for you.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Aspects of My Overall Health Can Dementia Affect

Millions of Americans are diagnosed with dementia, and while many people only think about the cognitive effects, the fact is, dementia can affect many other aspects of your life, too. Here are some of the symptoms and effects you should know about.

At-Home Exercises to Help Counteract Incontinence

Incontinence affects millions of Americans, becoming more common as we get older. Fortunately, there are things you can do to manage and reduce your symptoms. Medical treatment can help, and so can these exercises.

How Diabetes Affects Your Foot Health

Diabetes affects millions of Americans, and they have an increased risk of developing serious foot problems. Here’s what you should know about the link between diabetes and your foot health — and what you can do to keep your feet healthy.

5 Ways to Improve Your Nutrition as a Senior

Your health needs change a lot as you get older, and so do your nutritional needs. These five simple tips can help you get the nutrients you need to stay healthy and enjoy a more active, more satisfying lifestyle.

Can Stress Cause Migraines?

Millions of Americans suffer from migraines. Millions of Americans are chronically stressed out. Could the two be related? This post explores the link.

Childhood Skin Problems: When to See a Specialist

Childhood skin problems can look alarming — but they’re not always a sign of something more serious. Still, seeing a doctor is a good idea to find out what’s causing the issue and help your child find relief. Here’s when to call our office.