allergy desensitizationmedical dictionary

Stimulation of the immune system with gradually increasing doses of the substances to which a person is allergic, the aim being to modify or stop the allergy war (by reducing the strength of the IgE and its effect on the mast cells). This form of treatment is very effective for allergies to pollen, mites, cats, and especially stinging insects (e.g., bees, hornets, yellowjackets, wasps, velvet ants, fire ants). Allergy immunotherapy usually takes 6 months to a year to become effective and injections ( shots ) are usually required for 3-5 years.

(12 Dec 1998)