The immune system is a network of cell types working together to defend and protect the body from “invaders” such as viruses, infections and disease. If you suffer from allergies, your body’s immune system may overreact to certain allergens*. Or, if you have an immunodeficiency disorder, your body’s immune system is compromised and has difficulty fighting infections.
The concept behind immunotherapy (allergy shots) is that the immune system can be desensitized to specific allergens that trigger allergy symptoms. The allergen(s) are identified through a combination of a medical evaluation performed by a trained allergist, and an allergy diagnostic testing (skin or allergy blood tests).
Allergy immunotherapy is a proven effective treatment for allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma and stinging insect allergy. It also may be effective in some individuals with atopic dermatitis (eczema) if they have allergies to airborne allergens. Currently, immunotherapy for food allergies* is not recommended and strict avoidance of the food is advised although investigations with oral desensitization for food allergies are in progress in the United States. Immunotherapy can potentially lead to lasting remission of allergy symptoms, and it may play a preventive role in the development of asthma and new allergies.
Corticosteroids are medications used to treat asthma and some allergic conditions such as skin allergy. These corticosteroids are not the same steroids used by athletes. Inhaled corticosteroids are medications used to specifically treat asthma and they are taken by using an inhaler. This medication should be taken consistently so that it decreases inflammation in the airways of your lungs and prevents asthma flare-ups.
Corticosteroids are considered the most effective long term usage medication for control and management of asthma. Depending upon the severity of your asthma, your physician may combine an inhaled corticosteroid with a long-acting beta-2 agonist* to treat your condition. Oral and intravenous corticosteroids may be required for acute asthma flare-ups or for severe symptoms. Topical corticosteroid cream medications are used to treat allergic conditions such as atopic dermatitis (eczema).
The majority of insect stings come from wraps, yellow jackets, hornets and bees, and in the southern states the imported red or black fire ant.
The severity of an insect sting reaction varies from person to person. Mostly from a local pain, swelling and redness confined to the sting site.
The most serious allergic one, including:
- Generalized hives, itching, and swelling.
- Abdominal cramping, vomiting, nausea or diarrhea.
- Tightness in chest and difficulty in breathing
- Hoarse voice or swelling of tongue, throat or difficulty swallowing.
In even more severe allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis can occur within minutes and may be life threatening.
There is a 60% chance of having a similar or worse reaction if a person had a previous allergic reaction.