Pollen allergy – immunotherapy can help

Pollen allergy – immunotherapy can help

The classic symptoms of a pollen allergy (hay fever) are a runny nose, burning eyes and itchy throat. In our latitudes, hay fever is the most common type of allergy, affecting around 22 percent of Swiss men and 26 percent of Swiss women (statistics from 2017). Autumn days usually bring some relief, so this is the best time to get treatment.

The ideal time

In autumn, the air is pretty much pollen-free, and the body is therefore no longer exposed to these allergens. In other words, this is the ideal time to gently and slowly accustom the body to the allergens through an immunotherapy. The therapy aims to strengthen the immune system and thus prevent allergic reactions in future.

Treatment and procedure

Immunotherapy generally takes about three to five years. First, the allergist administers skin and blood tests to create a profile of the substances to which you are allergic. Your physician then uses this profile for making an individual therapy plan for the critical allergens. The doses of the treatment are then either injected into the upper arm or taken orally as drops or tablets under medical supervision. At the beginning, the therapy is administered in short intervals, which are then gradually extended. The dose is increased each time in order to adjust the body gradually to the allergen. To optimise the chances of success, the immunotherapy should be administered without interruption.

For further information on desensitisation and a brochure on specific immunotherapy, please refer to the Aha! Allergy Centre Switzerland.