For years I’ve been trying to get a referral for immunotherapy for my hay fever and dust mite allergy but have been told that it’s not available, that I wouldn’t qualify because I have asthma etc. etc.
OK… but my dust allergy causes most of my asthma problems in the first place, if it was treated I might be able to throw away the asthma medication… I’m pretty sure hay fever affects my breathing too.
Where can you get immunotherapy?
A friend told me that the best place to obtain immunotherapy is either The Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital (RNTNE) or Guys Hospital. They offer either injections (SCIT), or SLIT (sub-lingual drops or tabs) depending on patient preference. SCIT requires visits to the hospital, SLIT is done at home. Both seem to work well in practice. It seems that getting a referral for any immunotherapy is the tricky part. I’m up for the challenge though.
Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital state that you would need to stop taking asthma and allergy medication during treatment so this could be the reason having asthma prevents immunotherapy being viable.
Anyone who takes two puffs morning and night of the brown inhaler could easily come unstuck if they stopped doing so, especially if they were taking immunotherapy treatment at the same time, which can also trigger asthma reactions.
Imagine not being able to take your inhalers OR anti-histamines for the duration of your immunotherapy treatment, which could take months of years to complete?
Immunotherapy IS safe with asthma
However a quick google research led me to this paper from some research in China entitled “Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of standardized dust mite allergen specific immunotherapy to children with allergic asthma.” which concluded that,
The standardised dust mite allergen specific immunotherapy is efficacious and safe to children with allergic asthma. SIT can reduce house dust mites skin sensitivity and prevent new allergens appearing.
So it seems that it is possible… and I KNOW it is possible because my own sister had grazax grass immunotherapy about five years ago when she was in her thirties and it was a complete success. I would say her asthma has always been worse than mine. So why, in Enfield, can you get immunotherapy? but in wealthy Bucks you cannot?
It is a postcode lottery and treatment seems to be not that important in the Health Service.
Why don’t we have ‘allergy shots’ like other countries?
I know that in Europe and America people with allergies get their ‘allergy shots’ for anything from dust mite allergy, tree pollen and grass to animal hair and dander allergies. Immunotherapy was invented in this country so why is it so hard to get this treatment? Even finding a private consultancy seems impossible.
Talking to a friend the other day about this we discussed that because my life isn’t immediately threatened by this condition there is no need to treat it. They prescribe me lethal horse tranquiliser anti-histamines and an adrenalin auto-injector and that is all I’m going to get.
I am perfectly able to live with it, cope with it, put up with it, rage about it, ponder the injustice of it.
I understand why it has to be like this, but my life, right now, is getting very badly affected by these damned allergies. It’s not just air borne it’s food allergies too. If I had Michael Jackson’s money I would be much healthier in living in an oxygen bubble with special chefs to cater to my every allergy restricted whim.
As I sit here now my face is a raging angry swollen demon. It is not me I see in the mirror. My thoughts at not my own. It is as if the allergy takes over my brain and turns me into a nasty, mean, grumpy, lazy, bored, unproductive and venomous being. This is not me.
Having immunotherapy could literally change my life. I crave an outdoor life but at certain times of the year I dread even going outside because the pollen not only wrecks my eyes and blocks my nose, it also lands on my face and burns my skin.
Of course this could be a combination of airborne allergens and something I ate.
Either way I’m fed up of being me and grateful I don’t really have to be anywhere important this week because I HATE going out when I look like this. Don’t make me angry today. I’m warning you!
Right, where were we? Rant over. Can you have immunotherapy if you have asthma? Ask my doctor and the answer is NO. I am NOT taking NO for an answer any more… if I have to find this treatment privately I’m doing this but what would my general health be like if I stopped taking my asthma medication? I could be at risk from severe anaphylaxis, made more dangerous if asthma is not under control…
Anyone had immunotherapy who also has asthma? Did it work? Was your asthma manageable?