Allergy Drops SLIT
Treating allergies using Sublingual Immunotherapy (Allergy Drops)
Sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT, is a form of immunotherapy that involves putting drops of allergen extracts under the tongue. Many people refer to this process as “allergy drops” and it is an alternative treatment for allergy shots. Like shots, allergy drops desensitize patients to the effects brought on by allergens and help them build a tolerance.
This form of immunotherapy has been used for years in Europe, and recently has had increased interest in the United States. Most patients are administered allergy drops each day for three to five years.
What are allergies?
An allergy is an overreaction of the body’s immune system to normally benign materials or substances. These substances are referred to as allergens. Common allergens include pollen, mold, fungi, dust and dust mites, animal dander, insect venom, latex rubber and various food products.
There are four main types of allergies – respiratory, skin-related, food and insect. When a person is exposed to allergens, their body produces immunoglobin (IgE) antibodies, which attack the foreign substances and spur symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes and skin rashes.
Although it is not known exactly why people experience allergic reactions, it is known that genetics plays a part. Children with parents who suffer from allergies are more likely to experience allergic reactions.
Asthma and its relationship to allergies
Asthma is an inflammatory disease that affects the lungs. Patients affected by asthma will experience coughing, wheezing, bronchial spasms (tightening of muscles near the airway), a swelling of the inner linings and the formation of tiny mucous plugs that inhibit normal breathing.
Allergies, as well as pollutants, viral infections, physical activity and weather changes can trigger asthma attacks. Approximately 80 percents of children’s asthma cases and 50 percent of adult asthma cases are allergy-related.
Sinusitis – The most common chronic disease in the U.S.
Sinusitis affects nearly 50 million Americans annually. It is an inflammation of the paranasal sinuses caused by blockages of the openings that are supposed to drain mucus. These blockages are usually the result of an upper respiratory tract infection like the cold or flu. Respiratory allergies have a similar effect. More than 90 percent of chronic sinusitis is caused by allergic reactions to mold and fungi.
Sinusitis is characterized by any combination of persistent symptoms including facial pain, sinus headaches, fever, toothache, difficulty breathing through the nose, runny nose, loss of smell, or a foul smell in the nose.
A person experiencing more than two common symptoms of allergies may want to consult with their doctor. Only an appointment with a doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis and a recommended course of treatment.
Airborne allergens, like pollen and mold, cause a reaction often referred to as “hay fever.” The most common symptoms of respiratory allergies are sneezing, nasal congestions, runny nose, wheezing, coughing, conjunctivitis, watery eyes, puffy eyes, and itchy eyes, nose or throat.
Common symptoms of skin-related allergies include itching, burning, rashes, blisters, and eczema.
Patients who are allergic to food ingredients may experience skin rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat, itching of the tongue or throat, tightness in the throat or chest, hypotension, wheezing, runny nose, sneezing, or anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening.
Patients allergic to insect venom may exhibit the following symptoms: localized swelling, facial swelling, swelling of the throat, exhaustion, shortness of breath, dizziness, hypotension, nausea, abdominal or chest pain, and anaphylaxis.