Question: Explain desensitization. How can anybody know if their allergy can cause asthma? Does desensitization for extrinsic asthma benefits? What are the criteria then?
Desensitization For Asthma
Desensitization is also called immunotherapy and is an approach to treating allergies. It is the prevention of allergic hypersensitivity reaction of the body. Gradual small dose of the allergen or sensitizing substances is introduced into the body. The body may with time become less sensitive or desensitized to the allergen, so that it will no longer trigger an allergic reaction. But if desensitization therapy is used it should be done year round and not seasonally.
To detect the presence of allergies doctors can perform several tests. To determine if the body has been sensitized to one or more allergen – skin tests such as skin-prick test, scratch test and intradermal test are performed. RAST (radioallergosorbent test) is a sophisticated blood test that measures the amount of IgE antibodies (if any) in the blood unique to particular antigens.
Desensitization For Extrinsic Asthma
Desensitization does not necessarily help everybody with extrinsic asthma. Of the approximately forty to sixty percent of asthmatic people with allergies, about half would be appropriate candidates for desensitization.Even out of them only a small proportion would be considered suitable, because desensitization involves considerable potential danger and must be used very judiciously. The asthmatic person should meet some criteria to be a candidate.
One of the first criteria is that the person should be suffering from allergic asthma caused by one specific allergy. Desensitization therapy will hardly benefit people who are sensitive to more than one allergen. Presently desensitization is most beneficial for asthma triggered by pollen – particularly grass, dust mite excreta enzymes, certain moulds and cat dander. It is not effective for food allergies.