Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Three years of immunotherapy enough for dust mite allergy

Dust mite allergies are a common trigger of eczema flares for many. Dust mites--tiny relatives of spiders--thrive in bedding because they eat flakes of skin. And with the amount of skin that flakes off when you have eczema, it's a catch-22 problem.

From what I can find out, dust mite feces is the major source of their allergens. Eww!

One solution is to get allergy shots: regular injections of allergens at low doses that cause your immune system to develop a tolerance over time. I don't know what the regimen is--how many shots, and when you have to get them--but it is undoubtedly a hassle. Certainly it goes on for years. Doctors have debated how many years, some saying that five were required. A new study concludes that three years is enough. (Not a regime you're going to start on a whim.)

I asked the study's author, Iwona Stelmach, a professor at the Medical University of Lodz in Poland, for a copy of the paper, but haven't got one yet, so all I know is what I've read in the press release and the paper's abstract. It seems that the researchers worked with a three-part study group, totaling 90 asthmatic children, 30 each of whom had either had no immunotherapy, three years of immunotherapy, or five. While immediately after therapy, the five-year group needed less steroid to control a reaction to dust mite allergen, by the time three years had passed, the three- and five-year groups were essentially the same.

If you've got a severe dust mite allergy (and congratulations on figuring that out), it must be a relief to know you only need three years of allergy shots instead of five.


8 comments:

  1. What about NAET? Have you tried this at all?

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  2. Ah, NAET...how can I say this. There's no conceivable way it could work according to the laws of physics or biology.

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  3. Have you considered trying it-- I'm guessing you know the concept of sending the message to the brain to stop overreacting... we did it for a year, we also changed to Cerave and a couple of other things, but our very severe eczema is gone. I say that with all the fear in the world of it coming back of course. Btw, it also have a profound effect on my younger child's Sensory Integration issues. Here's a link to our eczema situation for one year ago.

    http://www.floridagirlinsydney.com/2011/04/eczema-and-alkaline-water-and-epsom.html

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  4. We also have just moved from Sydney to San Francisco as I see this is where you are.

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  5. I appreciate the suggestion, but I am 100% sure that any result I'd see from NAET would be a placebo effect. Of the many alternative treatments I've heard about, it has the most potential to go wrong if used on kids--it can't possibly identify allergens, so the kids may get exposed to actual allergens because the practitioner says they're OK, or deprived of nutrients because their parents are avoiding foods that are fine.

    I understand your fear and hope your kid is eczema-free. That was a fun post to read, and you have a lot more readers than I do!

    Maybe see you in SF some time.

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  6. I have been getting injections for 7 years and just had repeat skin testing that shows my reaction level has not changed. My allergens are mixed molds and mite DP. Maybe it doesn't work for everyone, at least not in 3 years. Next step is to decide if I should just abandon immunotherapy.

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  7. I think you're the first person I've heard from who has actually had immunotherapy. Wow, that is a long commitment. I can understand why you keep going back for injections--it is a relatively long time between them, right? and you are never sure whether they are doing any good, and then it becomes a habit. (Sounds like my physiotherapy.) If I were you I'd quit; to me it seems like you should see any effect within a year or two if it's working.

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  8. Interesting information on dust mite and diseases including eczema. Professional cleaning of fabrics is a must.

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