NEW YEAR RESOLUTION:GIVE UP MY ALLERGIES
For most people who have lived with allergies their entire life, it is difficult to believe that they could simply get rid of them. However, according to Dr Kusum Sharma who is board certified in Allergy and Immunology, this is actually possible. According to her, when someone is allergic to something, they have the following three options:
1. They could avoid what they are allergic to. This prevents an allergic reaction from happening.
This approach is commonly used for drug and food allergies. Since other effective drugs are available, doctors simply avoid the drug a person is allergic to. People allergic to certain foods avoid those particular foods. People with cat or dog allergies can try to avoid exposure to them. However it becomes difficult with other environmental allergens like pollens and dust mites that are found everywhere.
2. They could take medications to suppress the effects of the allergic reaction.
For seasonal allergies and asthma, most people take this approach. They take over the counter allergy medications or prescription medications given by their doctor. Often the symptoms are not completely controlled and people learn to live with their allergies. Also, this entails taking medications daily for prolonged periods of time.
3. They could “give up” their allergies by being de-sensitized to the particular allergens. This third option allows an allergic person to decrease their sensitivity to allergy causing substances, so that exposure to the offending allergen (pollen, mold, dust mites, animal dander, stinging insects, foods like milk and egg, drugs, etc.) will result in fewer/less severe or no symptoms. Desensitization is commonly done for medications like aspirin, penicillin and other drugs when the particular drug will be of benefit and no substitutes are available. Recently, desensitization to egg and milk has been possible in many cases. Venom immunotherapy allows for desensitization to bee, wasp and hornet venoms. “Allergy shots” or immunotherapy is a similar approach that desensitizes to seasonal allergens. This approach works in 85-90% of allergic patients. It typically takes about 6-8 months of weekly injections to achieve the final or maintenance dose. This seems to discourage many people. However, Dr Sharma has devised what she calls “Cluster Immunotherapy- AKANE protocol” so she can get the same results by giving fewer injections over a significantly shorter duration, typically 2-3 months. Once the maintenance dose is reached, it is continued once a month for 3-5 yrs. “Results are astounding” says Dr Sharma, “I see sneezing, dripping, stuffiness and even snoring disappear.” She is very excited about all the new research in this area. Sublingual immunotherapy or allergy drops delivered in the mouth instead of the allergy injections are now being reviewed by the FDA. For people with just grass allergy, a grass tablet is being formulated to take just before grass season.
If you suffered from allergies last year, this is your time to take action. Start this year with a new goal. Find out what causes your allergies, and which of the above three approaches is best for you.[box title=”Dr. Kusum Sharma At A Glance” box color=”#333333″]
Dr. Kusum Sharma is the Director, Allergy & Asthma Clinics at AKANE Institute of Allergy, Asthma & Sleep Medicine located in Scripps Ranch. She specializes in seasonal, food, drug, gluten, mold, cosmetic & skin allergy, asthma, sinus problems and hives.
Dr. Kusum Sharma
[box title=”Dr Anoop Karippo At A Glance” box color=”#333333″]
Dr Anoop Karippot is the Director, Snoring & Sleep Center at AKANE Institute of Allergy, Asthma & Sleep Medicine located in Scripps Ranch and La Jolla. He specializes in sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs, narcolepsy and other sleep disorders.
Dr. Anoop Karippot