Allergy / Immunotherapy
Whether your symptoms are seasonal or last throughout the year, we have testing and treatment services available for patients of all ages.
What are Allergies?
Allergies are simply an overreaction of the immune system to a substance foreign to the body. The body’s immune system treats the substance (called an allergen) as an invader and tries to defend itself, resulting in symptoms that can range from annoying to significantly debilitating. When exposed to allergens the immune system produces antibodies that cause cells in the body to release chemicals, including histamine, into the bloodstream. It’s the release of these chemicals that cause allergic reactions, affecting a person’s eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, or gastrointestinal tract. Allergic reactions have many forms. The most common are itchy and watery eyes or an itchy nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, throat tightness and trouble breathing. Repeated sinus infections and ear infection can also be related to allergic reactions. Cass Street ENT & Allergy understands that allergies make even the simplest tasks unbearable. Whether your symptoms are seasonal or last throughout the year, we have testing and treatment services available for patients of all ages.
Initially we test for about 30 of the most common allergens, these can be divided into seasonal pollens such as trees, grasses, weeds, as well as year round allergens such as mold, dust mites and pet dander. Your allergy test will take about two hours to complete. The results will be reviewed with you by one of our providers. Immunotherapy treats the root cause of allergies by giving you small doses of what you are allergic to in order to increase your “immunity” or tolerance and reduce the allergy symptoms.
Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT)
The information we obtain from your test will allow us to tailor a desensitization program for you. This will usually consist of weekly injections of allergens that were positive during your testing. Over time the allergens are injected in larger amounts as the body learns to tolerate them. We prefer that you come to our office so we can follow your allergic care more accurately, until you reach a maintenance dose of the injections. At that time other options can be discussed. It is important to know that allergy problems are inherited. SCIT helps to control the bodies reaction to allergens, but does not “cure” allergies. Control of your symptoms may occasionally be affected by development of the common cold, sinus infections, or sudden changes in the weather. These interruptions should not discourage you as they should only be temporary and your symptoms should continue to improve with time as you continue the program.
Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT)
Sublingual immunotherapy is given as drops under the tongue (SLIT). Unlike allergy medicines, which only treat allergy symptoms, SLIT addresses the underlying cause of allergies. The antigens used in drops are the same as in the injections and are prepared the same way. The difference is in the route of administration, a dropper that delivers the antigen under the tongue versus a syringe injecting the antigens into the skin.