Desensitization, or specific immunotherapy, is, in addition to avoiding the allergen, the only treatment for allergies. Desensitization to Hymenoptera venom, house dust mites, and pollen is very effective.
What is an allergy?
Allergies are disorders of the immune system. If you are allergic, you develop symptoms of varying degrees of severity because of contact with the allergen (environmental factor). Symptoms are usually so disturbing that they require not only symptomatic but also causal treatment.
What is desensitization?
Nowadays, more and more people suffer from allergies, and instead of accepting them, they are looking for a solution to their problem. Recurrent, persistent symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, or conjunctivitis keeps many allergy sufferers awake at night. For some patients, an asymptomatic treatment that is beneficial from time to time is not sufficient and the allergy problem recurs. So-called desensitization, that is, specific immunotherapy (allergen immunotherapy, allergen vaccination) or resonance desensitization may be helpful.
Desensitization, in addition to preventing contact with the allergen, is currently the only available treatment for allergies.
How does desensitization work?
Due to desensitization, susceptibility to this allergen is reduced, which contributes to a decrease in allergy symptoms. If you opt for generic immunotherapy, your body will begin to tolerate the allergen. This will prevent the development of allergic disease and its symptoms and improve your quality of life.
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The allergist always decides about desensitization. Before giving an opinion, he must carefully analyze your ailments and confirm that you are allergic to this allergen using appropriate tests. Your doctor will establish a causal relationship between exposure to the allergen and the symptoms of the disease, as well as their severity. Before proceeding with desensitization, it is also important to exclude all contraindications.
Desensitization - what does it look like?
Desensitization is the introduction of a gradually increasing dose of an allergen, which makes the body get used to it and eventually tolerates it. Most often, allergens are administered as subcutaneous vaccines, but there are also drugs that are administered in a sublingual or oral form.
Injections are usually given in dispensaries or hospital wards under the supervision of medical personnel. The shock absorber must always be available. At the very beginning, the intervals between injections are usually about 7-14 days.
When is desensitization effective?
Specific immunotherapy is effective, especially if you are allergic to Hymenoptera venom (such as wasps, bees, or ants) if you suffer from allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis, or seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, hypersensitive to pollen allergens, house dust mites, etc.
Before starting desensitization, it is essential that the doctor determine which allergen is causing your symptoms. Desensitization to Hymenoptera venom, pollen, house dust mites, or animal hair is very common (desensitization to dogs, desensitization to cats). They are the most effective.
Depending on the allergen, year-round and seasonal desensitization is carried out. Year-round desensitization is performed when allergens are constantly present in your environment, such as desensitization to house dust mites.
However, when it comes to seasonal desensitization, you can take advantage of them if you are allergic to allergens that only occur at certain times of the year, such as grass or tree pollen. Typically, this type of desensitization is performed before the start of the pollen season and stops during periods when the concentration of the allergen in the environment is high.
Who can get desensitized?
There is no fixed age limit for specific immunotherapy, but it is usually recommended after 5 years. As for the upper age limit, it all depends on the patient's state of health. Not every elderly person can undergo desensitization due to frequent comorbidities, such as coronary artery disease, cardiac arrhythmias, or cancer.
Remember that an allergist determines indications for desensitization individually, after an interview and additional tests!