The nose is running, the eyes are burning and there is no antidote? Not quite, because allergies can also be treated fundamentally. However, so-called hyposensitization does not always work – and takes a lot of time.
An allergy is more than embarrassing for some people affected. Depending on the severity, this can permanently limit the quality of life and even become very dangerous. It is estimated that 25 million people in Germany are allergic.
Affected people take drops, nasal sprays, swallow medications – but only relieve their discomfort. Evil can only be fought at the root by hyposensitization. "Such immunotherapy is the only treatment that causes allergy causally," says Professor Philipp Babilas, a dermatologist in Regensburg.
How is allergy determined?
Whether it's pollen, mildew, house dust mites or insect poison, hyposensitization helps whatever triggers it. In the first place, the doctor focuses on the allergy, which torments him and examines in what situations it occurs. Then there is an allergy test on the skin. The doctor will try to find out exactly what the patient is responding to. "Specific immunotherapy is particularly recommended if the patient has difficulty in escaping the triggers of allergies in daily life," says Professor Jörg Kleine-Tebbe, an allergist in Berlin.
What are the benefits of hyposensitization?
Effective treatment has many benefits: "Hyposensitization can relieve symptoms, reduce medication use and, if used early, reduce the risk of the disease developing and causing bronchial allergic asthma", explains Sonja Lämmel of the German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAAB).
But there are also counter-arguments: Immunotherapy takes a lot of time for the patient. And there is no guarantee of success. "Out of ten patients, more than half to two-thirds benefit, one more, the other less," says Kleine-Tebbe.
How is the treatment done?
The hyposensitization lasts at least three years. The doctor injects each week what is called allergen extract into the adipose tissue located above the patient's arm. From week to week, the allergic dose is increased. After the injection, the patient should remain under medical supervision for the first half hour – if side effects occur requiring immediate medical attention. It may therefore happen that the solution containing allergens in the patient triggers urticaria or asthma. An allergic shock is also possible. "These are very rare cases," says Babilas.
Benign allergic reactions such as local itching or swelling at the site of injection are not uncommon after injection. If the maximum dose of allergen extract is reached and the patient has tolerated it without side effects, this dose will continue to be injected, now once a month. "If the treatment really begins, the patient's symptoms diminish considerably and he needs fewer drugs," says Kleine-Tebbe, spokesperson for the German Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI). .
What are the variants?
In addition to this classic variant, there is also short-term hyposensitization for patients with hay fever: only a few syringes are fixed before the corresponding pollen season. "This procedure is repeated at least three times in three years," says Babilas.
Another form of hyposensitization is sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). "The allergen is not administered by spraying, but by drops or in the form of tablets," says Lämmel. In this procedure, the patient keeps the allergen preparation under the tongue for a few minutes and then swallows it. "Immunotherapy tablets are currently available only for grass pollen allergies and dust mites, drops for people allergic to trees, grass grasses and pollens, and dust mite allergies."
For people allergic to insects, so-called ultra-urgent hyposensitization can also help. At first, the patient receives several injections a day during a three-day stay in the hospital. Subsequently, an injection takes place every month for three to five years.
And with the syringe, this is not enough: for the therapy to proceed as best as possible, allergy sufferers should avoid sports and other physical efforts on the day of injection or taking drops or tablets. Optimal, it is also giving up the day in the sauna or hot baths, explains Babilas.
When does therapy make sense?
Generally, "an allergic person should consider hyposensitization in conjunction with his or her doctor if the allergy to medication is difficult to overcome and if the affected person is suffering greatly from allergy and its consequences," said Babilas. The patient must also be over five years old.
If the patient is suffering from severe cardiovascular disease or poorly controlled asthma, hyposensitization is not usually the first choice. The same goes for immune deficiencies, serious autoimmune diseases or pregnancy. "In the end, the decision belongs to the doctor and the patient," says Kleine-Tebbe.
Important note: The information does not replace the professional advice or treatment of trained and recognized doctors. The contents of Good king News can not and should not be used to establish independent diagnoses or to start treatments.