Back in the day, the town doctor went house to house, trying to address any number of physical ailments. Today, we have specialists—experts in their certain fields. An allergist, for example, is trained in all of the ins and outs and subtleties of allergic disease.
Here’s a quick run-down of the two main types of allergists:
Subcutaneous Immunotherapy Allergist (SCIT doctor). These doctors use injections to deliver antigen into your bloodstream. The antigen helps you develop an immunity to certain items in the environment that make you miserable—pollen, pet dander, dusts, mold, etc. Allergy shots must be given under physician supervision, so patients usually need to drive to the allergist’s office a couple times a week for shots.
Sublingual Immunotherapy Allergist (SLIT doctor). These doctors use under-the-tongue tablets or liquid drops to deliver the antigen. The antigen the absorbs into the bloodstream through special cells in the lining of the mouth. SLIT is safer than allergy shots, so it can be taken at home. A SLIT allergist may be a good choice if you do not have time for shots at the doctor’s office or if you travel frequently. It may also be a good choice for children who are too young to get allergy shots (SLIT has been shown to be safe for kids under age 5) or for patients of any age who have “needle-phobia.”
If allergies dampen your enjoyment of life, it’s time to get help! Talk to your general physician to see if you would benefit from seeing a subcutaneous immunotherapy doctor or a sublingual immunotherapy doctor.