New, faster treatment for allergies - WFSB 3 Connecticut

New, faster treatment for allergies


Chances are if you suffer from spring allergies, the sniffling and sneezing of the season is starting.

Some have found success fighting off the problem with allergy shots, but the problem is they involve a big commitment on the part of the patient.

Teacher Edward Crowell said he has had issues with his allergies dating back to college.

"Oh, itchy eyes and runny nose," he said. "It gets to a point, though, when you're anxious. You're agitated and it starts to consume your time."

Allergy medications can help, but there's no cure.

"I had gone through several years suffering through allergy symptoms, and then at one point I just decided that I had enough and needed an option other than taking allergy medications," he said.

So, he said he turned to allergy shots, which made a big difference.

"A lot of the symptoms had subsided, and I found a lot of relief actually," he said.

But he had a busy life and that got in the way of continuing treatment. Traditionally, in order for allergy shots to work, patients need to get them quite often.

"It's actually three to five years time," said Dr. Shayna Burke, of St. Francis Hospital. "They come weekly for a period of time, then spread out every two weeks and then monthly for the rest of the time."

But a new approach can cut those weekly visits down significantly. It still involves getting shots, but not nearly as often.

The key is that the patient needs to make a full-day commitment.

"It's a full day," Burke said. "It's 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m."

It's called rush desensitization.

Instead of visiting the allergist once a week for many months, those initial doses are done in one day.

"They get seven shots on the hour," Burke said. "People get anywhere from one to four shots at each of those times. So anywhere from seven to 28 shots total for the day."

The idea made sense to Crowell, who took a day off from work to do it a couple of months ago.

"It just makes the whole process a lot shorter in the long run," he said. "That's what I was really looking to do to get the results as quickly as I could.'

With the traditional protocol, patients get shots every week for a period of six to 12 months, and then less frequently after that.

"And with our protocol, they come weekly but for three to six months after that whole-day procedure," Burke said. "And so it just cuts down that weekly part. It doesn't cut down the monthly part. That's for several years."

Burke said this approach, which can help with seasonal and pet allergies, is new to the area and quite popular with patients.

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