SLIT Allergy Treatment Explained

SLIT Allergy Treatment, Family Practice Associates

More than 50 million Americans have some type of allergy, making it the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States today. The prevalence of allergies is also continuously on the rise, meaning an ever-larger percentage of people can expect to develop them with each passing year.

Allergies occur when your immune system overreacts to a normally harmless substance (allergen) like pollen, dust, animal dander, or mold. You can be born with an allergy, or you can develop one at any point during your life — even in late adulthood. Allergies are a chronic condition, and many people who have allergies have more than one type.

While there’s no way to prevent allergies, the right management plan can help reduce your risk of having a reaction and provide fast symptom relief when you do come in contact with an allergen. For people who suffer from environmental allergies, immunotherapy can help increase tolerance to the allergen and build lasting immunity.

Here at Family Practice Associates, we’re proud to offer sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), a safe and effective alternative to allergy shots that can help you say goodbye to your allergies for good. If that sounds appealing, here’s what you should to know about this easy, innovative treatment.

What is SLIT?

Sublingual immunotherapy uses a custom liquid anti-allergy medication that matches your “allergic fingerprint” to reduce symptoms and help your body gradually build tolerance to your allergens.  

Also known as allergy drops, SLIT works in much the same way as allergy shots. But instead of being administered via injection, the liquid antigens used in SLIT are placed under your tongue, where they’re quickly absorbed by your body.

How does SLIT work?

SLIT allergy treatment increases your tolerance to particular allergens by targeting cells -- called dendritic cells -- that help your immune system “get used to” your allergens. The area beneath your tongue is home to the highest concentration of dendritic cells in your entire body. When those cells are routinely bathed in a custom-made solution of allergy drops that addresses your unique blend of allergies, your body begins to increase its tolerance to the substances that cause your allergic reactions.

Because it takes time for your body to build lasting immunity to allergens, SLIT is given in gradually increasing dosages until you’ve reached optimal tolerance levels — meaning you’re no longer at risk of having an allergic reaction.

Who can receive SLIT?

SLIT is a safe and effective treatment for virtually anyone who suffers from environmental allergies like pollen, ragweed, mold, dust mites, grass, and animal dander. It’s especially beneficial for people whose allergies are accompanied by a chronic condition, such as asthma or sinusitis. It’s also an ideal solution for those with multiple environmental allergies.

Because it doesn’t involve injections, SLIT is an excellent option for babies, children, and needle-phobic adults. For this reason, and because some people simply aren’t able to commit to an in-office allergy shot program, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends SLIT as a practical alternative to traditional allergen injection immunotherapy.

SLIT is also considered the treatment of choice for young children affected by eczema and recurrent ear infections, a combination that often arises from underlying allergies. In such cases, early treatment can help prevent the development of other allergies, asthma, and other chronic conditions later in life.    

What is the treatment like?

After in-office allergy testing confirms your specific allergies and level of sensitivity, we make a custom-mixed vial of allergy drops that directly correspond to your unique allergic fingerprint.

Then, in the convenience of your own home, you take the drops under your tongue every day (or as directed, depending on your personal needs) for a certain period of time. The first four months of treatment is known as the escalation phase, and during this time we slowly increase your dosage.

Then comes the maintenance phase, where you take the same dosage each day to help build long-term immunity. To achieve full and lasting immunity, most people require three to five years of allergy drop therapy.

 

To find out how SLIT allergy treatment can benefit you, call our office in Broomfield, Colorado, or use our easy online tool to schedule an appointment with Dr. Abrams.

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