Quick relief for allergy symptoms - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Quick relief for allergy symptoms

If allergy season is making you miserable, there's a quick fix to get those symptoms under control. RUSH Immunotherapy is a speedy approach to reaching maintenance level on allergy shots, resolving symptoms in two days instead of the typical 4 months.

Family Allergy and Asthma is one of only 4 centers in the country providing a RUSH option to patients. Dr. Stephen Pollard developed the practice's protocol and busy patients with allergy problems are absolutely loving it.

Jim Butler was among the first to try it. He's no stranger to allergies or the shots to control them. "When I was in 6th grade, I started taking shots. I was coughing a lot," he says.

And when that same cough came back last fall, he knew he needed to start the shots again.

The shots, says Dr. Pollard, "stimulate the patient's immune system with controlled injected doses of whatever they're allergic to."

Traditionally, it takes three times a week and about 60 shots over a four month period to build that so-called 'natural immunity.' It's a time commitment not everyone can make. Add in a need for quicker relief and that's why Family Allergy and Asthma decided to come up with this new speedy plan.

"Two days, we can get it done," says Dr. Pollard.

With RUSH Immunotherapy, it's a two-day protocol involving about 18 shots. Dr. Pollard says despite the newness of the treatment, there's literature on this type of rush-to-maintenance level dating back to the 1930's.

Few offer it, he says, "simply because there's a higher risk of having a systemic reaction."

The reaction can include breaking out in hives, trouble breathing, or a drop in blood pressure; but patients are given antihistamines and steroids the day before to reduce that risk.

"But it occasionally happens, so it's very low, but when it does we're ready to deal with it," Pollard says.

Butler had some swelling at the shot site, but along with that minor reaction he says, "once I got the shots, it was very quick that the cough stopped."

Doctor Pollard says most patients do get relief by the end of the two days. In fact, he says some research indicates getting to a maintenance level faster improves the patient's immune response.

Family Allergy and Asthma is tracking patient outcomes and plans to publish results.

Once patients reach the maintenance level, they continue to receive shots on a routine schedule. Butler gets one shot a week to keep his allergy symptoms away.

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