Allergy is a condition when our body immune system reacts excessively to a normal harmless substance (allergen), such as pollens, molds, house dust mites, pests, animal fur, certain food and medications.
When encountered or exposed to these common allergens, the immune system will react by releasing histamines which cause inflammation and discomfort and may even cause life threatening reactions.
Millions of people worldwide are affected by allergy. Undeniably, allergy causes negative impact on sleep quality, school performance, work productivity, and sports activities.
What are the symptoms of allergy?
1) urticaria – white itchy bumps that feels similar to insect bite
2) eczema – red itchy rash over the skin folds of elbows and back of knees
3) conjunctivitis – itchy watery eyes
4) allergic rhinitis – repeated sneezing with runny congested nose
5) asthma – more than 50% of patients with asthma started with allergic rhinitis
We all know that avoidance of the allergen is important to prevent flare up of allergies. However, it is easier said than done, especially when the allergen is something we frequently encounter even though we try our best to avoid, for example allergens such dust mites.
Medications like nasal steroid sprays and anti histamines are very effective in relieving symptoms but unfortunately, they only treat the symptoms, therefore flare ups still occur so long as you are still exposed to the allergen.
So, is there a cure for allergy, you may ask?
What is sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT)?
Sublingual immunotherapy or Oraltek spray is the ONLY treatment that actually acts on the root cause of the allergy, and not just treats the symptoms.
This treatment is administered under the tongue to desensitize the body towards the specific offending allergen, thus modifying the body’s allergic response gradually over time.
This reduces or eliminates allergic symptoms, hence reducing the consumption of medication. In addition, SLIT reduces the risk of developing asthma and new allergies in the future, which will improve long term quality of life.
How successful is sublingual immunotherapy/Oraltek?
SLIT has been in use since 1980s and has a success rate of 80% especially for inhaled allergens like house dust mites, pollen and animal fur. In fact these allergens are the ones mostly responsible for allergic rhinitis. Reduction in your symptoms starts as early as 2-3 months from the start of treatment.
It is recommended that you continue treatment for 3 years even if you do not have any more allergy symptoms. Recommended duration of treatment is 3 to 5 years.
Improvement of symptoms may not last long if stopped prematurely.
How do I use the Oraltek?
Daily dose of 2 sprays under the tongue is all that is needed. Solution is held inside the mouth for 1-2 minutes before swallowing. It has a pleasant pineapple taste which makes it suitable for children as well. It is recommended that you should not eat, drink or brush your teeth the first 15 minutes after administration to allow maximum contact of the product to the administered area.
Is it Safe?Any side effects?
The safety profile is very favourable. Children as young as 2 years old can benefit from Oraltek use. Clinical studies done showed only 1.7% of patients reported transient mild itching under the tongue which resolved with continuous treatment.