Immunotherapy Providing Relief For Allergy Sufferers - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Immunotherapy Providing Relief For Allergy Sufferers

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Nearly 35 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies and there are 12 million doctor visits a year, due to severe allergy symptoms.

Seasonal allergy sufferers probably don't need to be told that this has been a pollen filled spring.

"It's all from the tree pollens, which right now are very active," said Dr. Maria Reyes with Northern Nevada Allergy Clinic. "Consistently, since February, the tree pollen counts have been in the high range."

Tree pollens will soon be accompanied by those all too familiar culprits: blooming flowers, weeds and grass, which cause incessant coughing, sneezing and many other not so friendly side effects.

"Some of this has to do with the fact we've had much warmer weather. Overall, we've seen in recent research that with global warming, we are seeing much more severe allergy seasons."

Reyes said there are some simple remedies, like over-the-counter antihistamines which gross billions of dollars every year.

This spring there is a new addition to your the drug store counters.

"Recently, the FDA has approved a nasal steroid to actually be purchased without a prescription over-the-counter and that would be another alternative as well."

If the traditional treatments don't work, you might want to consider immunotherapy, which is a vaccine that works against allergens in the environment.

"We have allergy shots or immunotherapy to treat grass and weed pollens, cats, dogs, pets, mold and dust mites. What we're trying to achieve is make your body resistant to all these different allergens by changing the way your immune system responds to these allergens."

Immunotherapy is an aggressive program, requiring usually two to four shots a week, lasting three to five years.

"The goal of that is when the immunotherapy or allergy shots are stopped, the patient goes on to benefit from the tolerance that has been induced by the allergy shots."

Immunotherapy's success rate is impressive.

Dr. Reyes said about 85% of allergy patients get significant relief.

Written by Chris Ciarlo

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