My Quest for a Natural Allergy Solution, Part 2

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December 29, 2009

I am once again back at the doctor’s office because of my crummy sinuses.  I have an infection again, and I’m truly at my wit’s end.  I feel sick all the time; my eyes are watering, my nose is running, my throat is sore.  I’m convinced there are remnants of Rice Krispies cereal I ate as a kid in my sinuses–there’s a lovely snap, crackle, and pop sound every time my head changes elevation.  It’s almost impossible to work or exercise or to do anything really.  The doctor asks me how I’m doing and I begin to cry.  It’s embarrassing, but I might as well show her how I really feel.

As she tries to relieve my congestion with some saline inserts in each nostril–they’re about 1½ inches long, I think I’ll leave it at that–I tell her I’m ready to try allergy shots, which I’ve been avoiding.  I’ve read that allergy shots must be administered several times a week for a minimum of 6 months, and maintenance can take 3-5 years.  The doctor surprises me with information that there is an easier and less invasive option available…Sublingual Immunotherapy.

Sublingual Immunotherapy is the same idea as allergy shots but is administered in very diluted quantities, and is more effective, natural, and convenient.  The only ingredients are the allergen (for me, it’s straight-up cat hair) and glycerin, and you take this under the tongue.  Dosing yourself with the very thing that makes you sick may sound a little crazy, but it’s the basis of homeopathic medicine. Homeopathy is based on the theory that substances causing symptoms of illness in healthy people will act as a cure when given in very dilute amounts to sick people who show those same symptoms.

How they made my allergy therapy:

  1. One measure of pure allergen (cat hair) is added to a small vial of glycerin (called Vial A–most concentrated)
  2. One drop is taken from Vial A and added to Vial B
  3. One drop is taken from Vial B and added to Vial C
  4. One drop is taken from Vial C and added to Vial D (most diluted)

“Fun” fact:  With dog allergies, they have to determine to which breed(s) the patient is sensitive.  Cat hair is apparently all the same.  Interesting.

Method:  I will start with Vial D, taking 1 drop under my tongue each day for a week, then 2 drops/day for one week, then 3 drops/day for one week.  I need to keep notes of any reactions I have on the worksheet they give me.  After my worksheet is complete, I go to the doctor to get Vial C and a new worksheet and repeat the same process, and continue with this regimen for Vial B and A.  After 12 weeks, my body should have built up an immunity to cat dander and I will hopefully be cured.  I’ll need to get another skin allergy test at that time to determine if it worked.  There’s no guarantee, but I’ll take that chance.  The doctor gives me a prescription for an EpiPen in case I have a severe allergic reaction.  Fun.

I diligently took my drops every day, I didn’t want to screw this up.  One day in March as the weather started to change, I had an all-day allergy attack, which for me (99% of the time) precedes a sinus infection.  Fortunately that never happened.  Other than that, I really had no sinus problems.  I continued to use my neti pot, which I will probably always use since it keeps the sinuses healthy.  But as the weeks went on, I had to use the neti pot less and less.  In Part 3, I will reveal the results of my post-therapy skin allergy test.  I’m getting it done tomorrow…wish me luck!

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