ALLERGIES IN NORTH CAROLINA
It’s a top ten list that most North Carolinians know all too well. It’s not the latest musical hits or basketball team rankings: this top ten list features pollen, dust mites, mold, and pet dander. These are among the ten most common allergy triggers, and when spring and fall come to North Carolina, it may seem impossible to avoid them.
But allergy immunotherapy can help. Commonly called “allergy shots,” immunotherapy enables your body to decrease its sensitivity to these allergens. Often, these allergy shots provide long-lasting relief from allergy symptoms even after the treatment has ended. As physicians specializing in internal medicine, the doctors at Raleigh Medical Group, P.A. are uniquely qualified to help patients with seasonal allergy problems.
Allergy shots are NOT used to treat food allergies. Patients with allergies to certain foods should take strict precautions to avoid those foods.
But immunotherapy isn’t the right course of treatment for everyone. First, physicians usually consider how well a patient is responding to current allergy medication, and if long-term medication use is appropriate. Allergy shots also require a significant time commitment, and patients must be available for schedule treatments.
HOW THE TREATMENT WORKS
There are two phases to immunotherapy allergy treatment. The first is the build-up phase, where patients receive injections with increasing amount of allergens. While the length of this phase varies, in general, patients may receive the shots one to two times a week for three to six months. After the build-up phase, there is a maintenance phase that starts once the effective dose is reached. This dose varies with each patient, and is dependent upon how he or she has responded to the build-up phase.
While allergy shots have been shown to be effective, it may take as long as 12 months to notice an improvement. Maintenance treatment may be continued for three to five years.
Don’t feel you have to face the dreaded symptoms of spring and fall allergies; even if immunotherapy is not right for you, your physician can coordinate a course of treatment to help alleviate symptoms.