Immunotherapy services offered in Alexandria and Lansdowne, VA
Immunotherapy might be what you need if you’re tired of your daily allergy meds or not getting the relief you want from all that sneezing, sniffling, and itching. Primary care services at CN Internal Medicine in Alexandria and Lansdowne, Virginia, include allergy and asthma treatments that can involve immunotherapy. Starting with allergy testing that accurately identifies the substances your immune system dislikes, they create a plan that helps you breathe easily again. Schedule a visit today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.
What is immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is a preventive treatment that causes your immune system to overlook substances (allergens) mistakenly considered toxic. During treatment, your provider introduces small amounts of the allergen in increasing doses over weeks to months. This makes your immune system less sensitive to the allergen, effectively reducing sneezing, watery eyes, and other symptoms associated with an allergic reaction. Immunotherapy also blocks the inflammatory response that causes allergic rhinitis (hay fever), eczema, and asthma. Many people find their asthma is much better controlled with immunotherapy.
Which allergies can you treat with immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is often recommended for:
- Pollen allergies, including grass and ragweed
- Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- Mold allergies
- Dust mite allergies
- Animal dander, including cat and dog allergies
- Cockroach allergies
- Insect venom (bees, wasps, and other stinging insects)
Peanut and other food allergies can also be treated with immunotherapy. However, immunotherapy isn’t a “cure” for food allergies. Instead, it helps reduce the severity of allergic reactions caused by accidental exposure to peanuts and other food allergens.
What happens during immunotherapy?
Before starting immunotherapy, your CN Internal Medicine provider administers testing to accurately identify the substances that trigger your allergic response. This is typically done through skin tests. During skin testing, small amounts of common allergens are introduced by a small needle scratch to an area on your inner forearm. Your provider then checks the site for a response, likely a tiny red bump. Depending on the type of allergy, your CN Internal Medicine provider may recommend: Allergy shots Allergy shots are the most familiar form of immunotherapy. Different allergens can be combined in one injection and administered once or twice a week for 6-12 months. Eventually, injection frequency is decreased to once a month, which can continue for 3-5 years. Most people can discontinue immunotherapy at that point. Sublingual immunotherapy Sublingual immunotherapy is administered by tablets that dissolve under the tongue. It’s been approved to treat grass, ragweed pollen, and dust mite allergies. Each tablet covers one allergen, making this immunotherapy much less versatile than allergy shots. In addition, people with severe or uncontrolled asthma aren’t eligible for sublingual immunotherapy. Schedule an evaluation at CN Internal Medicine today for more information about allergy care. Call the office or request an appointment online.