Palm Beach County’s population swells this time of year for one major reason…the wonderful climate. And with sunshine practically year-round, being outdoors is part of the lifestyle. The moderate temperatures have a downside though – chronic allergies. Dr. Joshua P. Light is a double board-certified otolaryngologist who offers a wide array of allergy treatment options including immunotherapy.

What Causes Allergies?

Pollen is the leading cause of allergies in Palm Beach County. While the rest of the country experiences colder temperatures and snow, trees and grasses are releasing pollen. Some of the most common sources of chronic allergies are:

  • Oak
  • Pine
  • Grass
  • Dog fennel
  • Ragweed

The symptoms that you experience in response to these allergens is triggered by an hyper-reaction from your body. Your body tries to expel the allergens through sneezing, mucus production, tearing eyes and coughing.

Treatment for Chronic Allergies

The most common method of treating chronic and seasonal allergies in the Boynton Beach area is to take medications, either by prescription or over-the-counter from your Delray Beach CVS or Boynton Beach Walgreens. These medications aim to provide relief from your symptoms, but many people are dissatisfied with this option because the effects are short-term.

Also known as immunologic desensitization, immunotherapy is a treatment approach that helps your body build a tolerance to certain allergens. As your tolerance increases, you are less likely to have the normal hyper-reaction when exposed to pollen and grasses.

Benefits of Immunologic Desensitization

The non-prescription medications that you use for your allergies can only help you manage the symptoms. Using these products does not change your allergy sensitivity. Immunologic desensitization essentially trains your body not to react to specific allergens. You may experience fewer allergic episodes, be less dependent on medications and be able to spend more time outdoors. Immunologic desensitization is also considered a more cost-effective approach to treatment.

The Procedure for Immunotherapy

Immunologic desensitization for allergy treatment involves having injections that contain a small amount of the allergen that causes your allergic reaction. The amount of the allergen in the dosage is small enough to not trigger a severe reaction, but adequate for your body to detect the allergen. Using this approach allows your body to more properly manage the allergen.

As you continue with the injections, your tolerance builds and you are more able to manage allergens while outdoors and in other environments. Dr. Light recommends that you start this type of allergy treatment a few months before the Palm Beach County allergy season begins about October. You can continue the injections for up to three years until you reach the desired level of tolerance in your body.

Is Immunologic Desensitization Safe for Children?

Children can have treatments for immunological desensitization. Dr. Light adapts the treatment protocol to safely help your child overcome the hyper-reaction to allergens. Some research has shown that children who are treated with immunological desensitization for one allergen are less likely to develop allergies to other substances, and they may also have a lower risk for asthma.

To learn more about immunologic desensitization and our other treatments for conditions that affect the ears, nose and throat, contact us to schedule an appointment with double board-certified otolaryngologist, Dr. Joshua P. Light at our Boynton Beach office.