Have you been diagnosed with inhalant allergies? The staff at the ENT and Allergy Center of Missouri can help you with options to treat your allergies and allergic symptoms including allergy avoidance, medications and immunotherapy.
Simply avoiding contact with known allergens that irritate you will reduce your symptoms.
- Indoor allergy avoidance. For indoor allergens such as dust, create an environment that is as dust-free as possible using:
- Air purifiers
- HEPA filter vacuums
- Removal of curtains and excess carpeting from your home
- Pet allergy avoidance. For pet allergies, you may need to avoid the pet completely. At a minimum, pets should be kept out of bedrooms.
- Mold allergy avoidance. For mold allergies, cleaning mildew from moist areas and wiping ducts will remove allergenic mold spores.
- Pollen allergy avoidance. Pollen allergies may be helped by showering and changing clothes after coming in from the outdoors. Nasal irrigation also removes excess pollen from your sinuses.
Allergy medications may relieve your allergic symptoms. Medications include:
- Eye drops. Eye drops may be antihistamines or anti-inflammatory agents.
- Inhalers. Inhaled medications for opening airway and lungs.
- Nasal sprays. Nasal sprays deliver steroids, antihistamines and other types of medications.
- Tablets. Tablets include antihistamines, decongestants and leukotriene inhibitors.
- Toothpaste. The customized toothpaste not only cleans your teeth, but also helps your immune system develop a resistance to allergens.
Your provider will determine the appropriate medicines for your symptoms.
Skin or blood testing determines substances to which you are allergic and provides information about the appropriate starting dose for immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy comes in three forms:
- Allergy shots
- Under-the-tongue drops
Based on your test results, immunotherapy exposes your body to its allergens in a safe and controlled manner, to reduce the severity of your allergic response over time. This method changes the body's immune system to enable it to tolerate environmental allergens like trees, grasses and molds.
Immunotherapy is delivered by either weekly under-the-skin small injections, daily drops under the tongue that you hold there for a short time, then swallow, or daily immunotherapy toothpaste use.
Shot therapy (Subcutaneous Immunotherapy, or SCIT) is delivered by regular weekly injections. Injections are only given in our office or in the office of a provider approved by our clinic. Patients must wait 20-30 minutes in the office after an injection is given. Most serious reactions occur within this time frame. Minor reactions to SCIT include swelling at the site, itching and redness. We do require a vial test be done before you receive an injection from a new vial. You may be required to do this in our clinic.
Drop therapy (Sublingual Immunotherapy, or SLIT) is delivered by placing liquid under the tongue daily. It is a relatively new form of allergy treatment in the U.S. However, SLIT has been safely and effectively used in both children and adults in Europe for decades. Both the AAOA (American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy) and the AAAAI (American Academy of Allergic Asthma and Immunology) have approved sublingual drop therapy. SLIT vials are made with the same antigens used for shot therapy.
Toothpaste therapy (Oral Mucosal Immunotherapy, or OMIT) is like a regular toothpaste that uses the same antigens used for shots and drops. You will brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a pea-size amount of paste. Each tube will last three months. Do not eat, drink, shower, or exercise 20 minutes before/after using your toothpaste.
Sublingual tablets are a dissolving tablet that you use daily. They are very specific, used only for grass or ragweed season. You will start taking them three to four months prior to grass or ragweed season and then continue them through the season. Do not eat, drink, shower, or exercise 20 minutes before/after taking your tablets.
To achieve the best results, immunotherapy requires a relatively long-term commitment — usually three to five years.
Most patients are very happy with immunotherapy because they feel much better. However, the effect on the body might not be permanent and may not completely get rid of the allergy. Additional allergy medications may still be needed after treatment.
Occasionally we see patients who do not improve on immunotherapy.
Your allergy treatment plan
The allergy team at the ENT and Allergy Center will work with you to set up the best treatment plan for you. If your treatment involves immunotherapy, you will meet with one of our highly trained allergy nurses to learn the proper dosage and application for drops or to receive your initial shot therapy at the ENT and Allergy Center.