Sublingual immunotherapy is the treatment of allergies via oral dosing (drops under the tongue) of small amounts of the allergen (the substance the individual is allergic to). It is currently offered for the treatment of airborne allergens eg: cat/dog dander, tree & grass pollen, dust mites, moulds. SLIT treatment is currently offered at many prestigious hospitals, such as John Hopkins.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Many published scientific studies have shown that it significantly reduces allergy symptoms. Exposure to small amounts of the offending agent or allergen overtime increases the body’s natural immunity and increases tolerance to these allergens. By increasing immune tolerance, the body’s future allergic response is altered.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Currently, you can get allergy ‘shots’ or immunotherapy injections done through a medical doctor, typically an allergist. However with these oral drops, you can take them in the comfort of home or office as dosing is via a small bottle. This saves you countless trips to the doctor, offers a less expensive yet equally effective (in some cases, more superior) method of allergy treatment without concern of exposure to the preservatives an
With summer just around the corner, many of us are eager to get out and enjoy our favorite activities in the sunshine. Unfortunately, summer weather brings with it some potential health risks that are important to be aware of. Being educated and making conscious choices about your environment will help you steer clear of these risks. Read on to learn more!
BEWARE OF CHLORINE IN POOLS
Just as we want to avoid chlorinated drinking water, chlorinated swimming pool water also has a negative impact on health. Chlorine is used as a disinfectant in the water treatment process for most pools. Chlorine byproducts circulate in the air above the water and are inhaled and irritate the respiratory tract, skin and eyes.
Studies show a link between chlorinated pools and childhood asthma and allergies. Risk increases with exposure as evidenced by increased rates of asthma in individuals working in an indoor pool environment (such as lifeguards).
Fortunately, there are alternatives to chlorination available such as ozone-treated water. Ozone (O3) is generated from oxygen (O2) in the air and has potent sanitation and anti-microbial properties. Ozonation reduces the amount of chlorine required to sanitize and disinfect pools. Locally, the only indoor pool in the lower mainland that uses ozone treated water is Killarney pool in Vancouver. Kitsilano pool at Kitsilano beach is another good option. As a heated outdoor pool, it contains salt water, which also reduces the amount of chlorine used. Of course the best option is to enjoy the outdoors and swim at one of our beautiful local beaches!
THE DARK SIDE OF SUNSCREEN
While at the beach, be sure to be applying sunscreen to provide extra protection from the sun’s rays. Before you reach for your favorite brand, you’ll want to ensure that it provides protection without any harmful chemicals. The Environmental Working Group has just released their 2010 sunscreen guide, which reveals the results of over 500 different sunscreens tested for efficacy and toxicity. The results were astounding as they found that less than 10% of the products tested met their criteria for both safety and efficacy.
Among the top rated brands are mineral sunscreens with either zinc or titanium and include Badger brand,California Baby and Soleo Organics. Some of the lowest product ratings were given to Hawaiian Tropic Baby SPF 50 and Banana Boat Baby SPF 100, and Aveeno Baby SPF 55. It just goes to show that a higher SPF rating does not reflect a better product. For more information on the study, visit www.ewg.org.
Use sunscreen when you will be out in the sun for long periods of time or during peak hours, from 11am to 4pm. Covering up is a good idea as it eliminates the need for sunscreen on the area while reducing sun damage and premature aging. Remember to bring sunglasses and a hat wherever you go this summer! However, moderate sun exposure does have its benefits. UVB rays from the sun are absorbed by the skin and allow for the synthesis of vitamin D.
Sunscreen will minimize this process, so consider some time in the sun without it. At, we encourage our patients to have their vitamin D levels tested (available at our clinic) at least 2x/year (summer and winter) in order to assess need for supplementation.
So be sure to cover up safely, remember to watch for hidden exposures of toxins and make sure you are getting sufficient amounts of vitamin D for the best protection – inside and out!
d additives found in injectable allergy shots. It is also a good alternative for people who are uncomfortable with injections – especially children.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed sublingual immunotherapy as a viable alternative to injection immunotherapy.