SPECIFIC IMMUNOTHERAPY FOR SEVERE HAY FEVER
Allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, the allergy to pollen is an immediate-type allergy mediated by IgE (immunoglobulins E). Pollens are produced by plants for the purpose of reproduction. During the flowering period, they can be found in large quantities in the air. They contain potent allergens, proteins that can trigger an immune response. Symptoms appear immediately after contact with the pollen and usually affect the eyes (redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, increased tearing, itching and swelling of the eyelids) and the nose (runny or stuffy nose, frequent sneezing, itching) and compromised sense of smell. In addition discomfort in the throat and skin rashes can occur. As a complication of the pollen allergy, there can be an involvement of the respiratory tract with a dry cough and asthma, even severe. Preventing hay fever by avoiding the allergens as much as possible is very difficult. Various medications are available to treat the symptoms. Specific immunotherapy can be attempted in patients who do not respond adequately to symptomatic therapy. The aim of desensitizaton is to gradually get the patient’s immune system used to the allergen until it no longer reacts allergically. In contrast to conventional therapy with immunosuppressive drugs, which alleviate the symptoms, immunotherapy is causal, i.e. it treats the cause of the symptoms. The therapy consists of the continuous supply of purified and standardized allergens (that is, the substances that trigger the allergic reaction in the patient), which leads to gradual habituation. The allergens can be administrated subcutaneously, i.e. injected undr the skin, or sublingually, i.e. given under the tongue (drops or dissolving tablets). Therapy is usually started before the pollen season and then continued for three years. In most cases, the therapy leads to a significant improvement in the symptoms over time, i.e. to less severe allergic reaction, in many cases even a “cure” in which there is no longer a reaction from the immune system. In our practice we carry out oral immunotherapy, where you only have to come to the practice the first three times and take the tablets under medical supervision in order to be able to help you immediately if you have an allergic reaction. You can then carry out the therapy independently at home.