Solving Childhood Allergies With Sublingual Immunotherapy
North Carolina is known for many things: basketball, bbq, great beaches, beautiful mountains, and, well, allergies.
Historically, the treatment of choice for allergies was to take over-the-counter or prescription allergy medication. If you were particularly proactive, allergy shots were another option. But they are shots, and many kids were resistant – despite their parent’s good intentions.
Thankfully, advancements in allergy treatments have provided less archaic options – and one alternative, in particular, kids can easily get behind.
Knowing the cause of allergies is the first step for parents to tackle them. The most effective way to do this is through allergy testing. Allergy testing involves a skin test that exposes the child to small amounts of allergens and then pricks the outer layer of the skin. If the area swells and becomes red, the results are considered positive. At Rainbow Pediatrics, we can test for a variety of allergens. Most insurances cover the costs associated with allergy testing.
The next step is to build immunity to any known allergens.
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) – also known as allergy drops – is a safe and effective alternative to allergy shots and other allergy treatments. The word sublingual means beneath the tongue. Sublingual immunotherapy uses specially formulated allergy drops that you can place under your child’s tongue where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. With allergy shots, the more exposure a person gets to the serum in the drop, the more they become desensitized to the allergen. This process is called immunotherapy.
Sublingual immunotherapy can treat a wide variety of allergens, including those that come from the outdoors, such as trees and grasses. It is also effective at treating food and pet allergies.
What Ages Can Receive Sublingual Immunotherapy?
Sublingual immunotherapy is a safe and effective treatment for children (and adults) of all ages. This is excellent news for those who are more likely to develop a food allergy. Studies have shown that the sooner sublingual immunotherapy is started, the more likely a child will develop immunity to peanut allergens.
How Do I Get My Kids Started with Immunotherapy?
Once the type of allergies your child has is known, their pediatrician can prescribe a special formula of allergy drops specific to your child. You can fill your prescription at your local pharmacy and administer it at home.
Allergies don’t have to mean misery or avoidance. If you are interested in exploring sublingual immunotherapy, schedule an appointment for allergy testing with your child’s pediatrician. You can also mention your interest during their well-child examination.