What Is Immunotherapy and Is it Right for My Child?

You have probably heard the term “immunotherapy” before. But do you know what the term means? And most importantly, how it can improve your child’s allergies? The term refers to the process of decreasing allergy symptoms and sensitivities. If your child suffers from any kind of allergies, whether it’s seasonal, insects, or food, you can only imagine what a relief that would be! Allergy immunotherapy, which is also called “allergy shots,” is a long-term and cost-effective solution that can give you relief from your allergy symptoms even after you’ve stopped a course of treatment. A pediatric immunologist Las Vegas can explain the advantages of long-term allergy treatment through immunotherapy for your child. 


What is Immunotherapy? 

 Allergy treatments vary based on many factors, including the type of allergies involved and the patient’s preferences. Most people, your children included, want both short-term and long-term relief from allergy symptoms. Immunotherapy is generally used to treat airborne allergens, which includes many seasonal allergies. This type of therapy involves a series of allergy shots that help the immune system build up a tolerance to allergies and become less susceptible to triggers and sensitivities. Specifically, allergy shots are particularly beneficial for animal dander, mold, dust mites, tree pollen, grasses, and weeds. Keep in mind that while allergy shots can provide effective relief for allergy sufferers, they are not recommended for children under age five. 


Why is Immunotherapy Used? 

 Immunotherapy is used to help the body create a long-term and natural response to certain allergen exposure. An allergy arises when the immune system overreacts to a substance that’s usually considered harmless, such as pet dander, common foods, insects, pollen, and mold. When someone with an allergy is exposed to these substances, an unusual reaction can result. This causes symptoms such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, coughing, itchy and watery eyes, and more. While the best cure for allergies is to avoid the allergen altogether, that’s not always possible, especially with seasonal allergies and pets. Therefore, experts recommend solutions like immunotherapy to alleviate allergy symptoms even with exposure. 


How are Allergies Discovered? 

 The best allergist in Las Vegas uses a variety of techniques to pinpoint a child’s allergies. One of the most common methods is a skin test, where a doctor applies a small sample of possible allergens on a child’s arm. If the skin exposed to the allergy test develops a reaction, the allergist knows that the child is allergic to the substance. Sometimes, especially if a severe allergy is suspected, an allergist may order a blood test instead. A blood test will also reveal any allergies that your child has. 


When Should Allergy Testing Occur? 

 Quite often, parents believe their child must be a certain age to participate in activities or be exposed to certain things in life. That might hold true in some cases, but not allergies! It’s better to identify allergies as soon as possible to provide safe and adequate relief for your child. A child can be tested for allergens starting when he or she is just a month old. If you’re considering testing a child for allergies, consult with an allergist to determine when to bring the child in for a diagnosis. 


When Can You Expect Results? 

 Immunotherapy can last for years after treatments are finished. However, the success of an immunotherapy session is heavily influenced by the patient’s participation. Experts say that with diligent office visits with a pediatric immunologist Las Vegas, your child may start to see treatment results within six months. 


What Factors Influence Success? 

 As with many medications and other types of allergy treatments, there is not a “one size fits all” approach to treating allergies. This applies to immunotherapy, too. Some factors that might influence the effectiveness of immunotherapy include a patient’s allergy history, past success or failure of medication treatments, prevalence of the allergen in the local area, and skin test reaction. An expert allergy doctor can look at all these factors to determine if immunotherapy is the right course of treatment for a child. If all goes well, immunotherapy should be approximately 80-85% effective in providing your child with allergy relief. 


How Long Does Immunotherapy Last? 

 Unlike some medications that have short-term relief, immunotherapy’s benefits can last for quite some time. At best, the benefits will last for years after treatment has stopped. A patient’s level of success determines how often he or she will need follow-up treatments. If the initial immunotherapy treatments prove to be successful, your child will need fewer treatments and less medicine overall as time goes on. Some patients may need just one or two treatments to see relief, while others receive treatments for several years. 

 Immunology has many benefits for allergy sufferers of all ages, including children. If you think your child may benefit from allergy shots, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Dr. Tottori, the best allergist Las Vegas, is available to help your child find relief. Visit our website or call (702) 240 4233 today for more information and to schedule an appointment.