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If you’re tired of watching your child struggle with allergies, immunotherapy offers a solution. At  Advanced Pediatrics in Vienna, Virginia, allergy services include testing and immunotherapy. Booking a visit is as easy as a quick phone call or a few moments online, so make today the day you take action.

ImmunotherapyQ & A

What role does allergy testing play in immunotherapy?

Allergies develop when your child’s immune system mistakenly launches an attack against a substance not normally harmful to humans (allergens). Kids can develop allergies to a wide range of things, including common household products, foods, pet dander, and plants. 

Knowing which substances trigger an allergic reaction is the first step in treating allergies. At Advanced Pediatrics, your child’s pediatrician has access to the most advanced diagnostic tools in the industry. 

Skin testing is a common starting point. The process works by exposing your child’s skin to a small volume of known allergens, usually by creating a very minor scratch or injection. 

The way your child’s skin reacts to the allergen lets the pediatrician know if there is an allergy. 

How does immunotherapy work?

Immunotherapy is a treatment for allergies, and it works by exposing your child to minute volumes of the allergen to develop tolerance. This treatment option takes time to be effective, but many parents prefer this approach to medications that carry a risk of side effects. 

You can also reduce your child’s risk of an allergic reaction by avoiding circumstances where specific allergens are present. It’s difficult, however, to control the different environments your child is exposed to. 

Immunotherapy often involves bringing your child in for allergy shots. These injections don’t enter the muscle tissue and aren’t painful. Most kids tolerate treatment very well, especially as they learn what to expect. 

How long does it take to see the effects of immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s important for children and parents to be patient as you move through the process. There are two primary phases of immunotherapy: build-up and maintenance. 

Build-up phase

After allergy testing, your child receives injections two to three times a week for a period of three to six months. Over time, the concentration of allergens increases as your child begins to develop immunity.

Maintenance phase

Once your child is able to tolerate an effective dose of a specific allergen, the next part of the process is periodic injections to continue the treatment. Injections are spaced two to four weeks apart, depending on how your child’s body responds. 

Overall, your child might notice improvements in allergy symptoms within the first few weeks of treatment, but it can take up to 12 months at the maintenance stage to see the full effects. 

If you’d like more information about allergy testing or immunotherapy, schedule a visit at Advance Pediatrics online or over the phone.