Allergy is a true dysfunction of the immune system. It is a dysfunction, because the symptoms of allergy (regardless if they are centered in the head, nose, eyes, gut, lungs, skin, or elsewhere) are caused by the inappropriate function of the immune system. Usually it is hyper-responding to something that should be ignored (like ragweed pollen or milk proteins for example).
Because we need our immune system to protect us from the outside world, we do not want to shut it off or supress it without good reason. A better approach is to understand the causes of your allergy symptoms, teach your body to ‘un-learn’ this hyper-responsiveness, all while helping you feel better in the process. This is what we call Proactive Allergy Care and it has 5 components:
1. Understanding Your Symptoms and Targeted Allergy Testing
Our first step is to find out which allergies are present and how severe they are. We will put together when and where your symptoms occur and from that determine just what type of testing to select. We can test for allergies to foods, chemicals, grass pollens, molds, dust, pet dander, and tree pollens. We can test by placing patches on the skin, taking a blood test, doing a ‘challenge’ test, or skin testing. It is your unique situation and needs that drive which tests are ordered, that your treatment may be the safest and most effective possible.
2. Avoid Allergens (in Moderation?)
Once we know to what a person is allergic, we help find ways to avoid allergens (the substance that causes the allergic response) by suggesting changes in diet and lifestyle when possible. Unfortunately, just avoiding the offending allergen doesn’t change the fact the body’s immune system is still set to ‘over-react’. Avoidance alone often is followed by the “spreading” effect – where the individual develops more and more allergies to things that used to be tolerated.
3. Natural & Nutritional Therapies- to support a healthy immune system
Allergies are often worsened by nutritional inadequacy. Many nutrients and natural compounds are helpful in decreasing the severity of allergic reactions by improving the underlying function of the body, and modulating the immune system as a whole. These compounds often have many ‘side-benefits’ in other areas of health. We have many patients that have reversed their allergies by the use of natural compounds only.
4. Immunotherapy – to re-teach the immune system to tolerate your world.
Customized allergy drops (unique to each person’s allergies), transform the patient’s immune system to again be tolerant of their world. Allergy drops work much like allergy shots and are made of the exact same natural extracts that are used in allergy shots. Unlike allergy shots, with allergy drops, patients are able to self-treat at home rather than having once or twice a week visits to their doctors clinic.
Your provider will monitor your progress throughout your care. Several antigens can often be combined in one treatment vial. Treatments for foods, metals, pollens, molds, pet dander, dust mites, and even poison ivy are available. Possible treatment regimens include:
This is a quick build up of antigen weeks prior to an “allergy season.” Treatment continues during the season using a maintenance dose. Common treatments are for spring grasses, trees, and ragweed.
Allergies to dust, molds, some pollens, poison ivy, and foods require an ongoing build up of antigen, followed by a maintenance or threshold dose schedule. This is the most common treatment sought out at our clinic.
This is, of course a very careful and slow treatment guided by in vitro specific IgE levels (blood testing) or intradermal skin testing. Doses are increased only when we see sensitivity to the allergen decrease. To ensure your safety, the first dose is given in our office.
Drugs – as needed for symptom control
To help reduce symptoms, you might be prescribed medications, such as non-sedating antihistamines and nose sprays. As treatment continues, most patients find their need of medications to treat their asthma, sinusitis, dermatitis, eczema, and allergies markedly decrease.
If you would like to make an appointment to be evaluated for allergy drop therapy please call the MaxWell Clinic at (615) 370-0094 today.