Asthma is a condition that causes shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing. These episodes may be triggered by tobacco smoke, dust mites, air pollution, pests, pet dander, mold, pollen at Stephen C. Beachy Central Park, exercise, weather, strong emotions, etc. While there is no cure for asthma, there are ways to manage it. Additionally, research shows that asthma can be prevented in children with allergy immunotherapy.
What Is Allergy Immunotherapy?
Allergy immunotherapy treats the root cause of your allergies rather than just addressing the symptoms. It helps your immune system build up a tolerance to allergens by introducing very small quantities of them over time. There are two forms of allergy immunotherapy: subcutaneous (SCIT) and sublingual (SLIT).
SCIT, also known as allergy shots, involves getting regular injections at an allergy clinic. SCIT is administered in two phases: the buildup phase and the maintenance phase. During the buildup phase, you receive injections roughly twice a week for three to six months; each injection contains a slightly larger quantity of allergen extracts. During the maintenance phase, you receive injections about once or twice a month for three to five years; you’re likely to see improvements after the first year and little to no symptoms after the phase is over.
SLIT, also known as allergy drops, is administered in either drop or tablet form, which is placed under the tongue until dissolved. Other than the first dose, you can administer SLIT at home. SLIT has been FDA-approved to treat dust mites, ragweed and certain grasses. Depending on the severity of your allergies, you may take the drops three to seven days per week for three to five years.
What the Research Shows
A systematic review and meta-analysis conducted in Europe and published in Allergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in March 2022 found that children who undergo allergy immunotherapy have a lower chance of developing asthma later in life.
The results were most noticeable for SCIT and SLIT drops; however, SLIT tablets also demonstrated protective effects.
“This study supports a possible preventive effect of allergy immunotherapy in asthma prevention… These findings may also help improve clinical guidelines on the management of allergic diseases,” explained lead author Mariana Farraia, M.S., Ph.D candidate at the Institute of Public Health and Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto in Portugal. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call Texas ENT & Allergy today.