If your allergy treatments aren’t providing an effective solution for symptoms that frequently disrupt your life, immunotherapy may help. Dr. Richard Herrscher is a well-known and highly respected allergist and immunologist with AIR Care offices in Dallas and Plano, Texas. He’s dedicated to providing treatments for his patients that relieve your symptoms and protect your health over the long term. Call today for an appointment or schedule your visit online.
Allergic reactions occur when your immune system overreacts to certain substances (allergens), such as tree pollen, dust mites, or animal dander. This overreaction triggers a response that leaves you with nasal drainage, skin rashes, and other symptoms that are essentially “side effects” of histamine, which is a powerful chemical substance your body releases to defend your health.
Immunotherapy delivers specific amounts of the allergen your immune system finds offensive into your system over time so that you build up a tolerance to the allergen. It works much like a vaccine in that it helps your body fight off allergens without overreacting.
Dr. Herrscher first carefully reviews your medical history and symptoms and then uses testing to help identify your specific allergy. This means you’ll only receive the treatment you need rather than generic therapy for animal dander or spring pollen when you only need a defense against ragweed.
The doctor often performs allergy testing at the office through the skin prick method. It’s a quick and relatively painless test, during which the surface of your skin is introduced to tiny amount of allergens. Multiple sites are tested at once and then observed for reaction. In some cases, Dr. Herrscher may recommend a skin patch test or blood tests to better identify the cause of your symptoms.
Once he’s identified your allergens, you’ll start receiving immunotherapy, which includes a buildup phase and a maintenance phase.
The buildup phase can last for six months and requires treatments up to twice a week to help your body get used to the allergens. During the maintenance phase, you generally receive treatments once or twice a month for three to five years.
Immunotherapy requires a long-term commitment and skipping treatments can disrupt the entire process of resetting your immune system.
Injections were once the only option for immunotherapy. These days, allergists and immunologists might recommend sublingual therapy, during which a tablet or drops are placed under your tongue and then swallowed.
Sublingual therapy isn’t recommended in every case, but be sure to talk with Dr. Herrscher during your visit if you’re interested in injection-free immunotherapy.