Allergies - Immunotherapy, the solution?

Ninja_Stoker

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For those suffering from allergies, as you possibly already know, they are a bar to entry.

This includes bee venom and food allergies (even mild ones), such as shellfish, nuts, kiwi fruit, etc. Oddly, a penicillin allergy is not an issue.

About a year ago, I received a question asking whether immunotherapy was an acceptable cure in order to meet the medical standards for entry. The individual stated; "I have researched 'Immunotherapy' which is a long and difficult process involving years of injections to build up resistance to bee venom. I would happily go ahead with this if it meant I could join at the end of it. However, I am concerned I may be rejected anyway even after the treatment."

My response was I believed it was unlikely to change the medical standard for entry but that it was worth registering an interest in joining the Armed Forces so that definitive advice could be given via the Service Entry Medical Cell.

Yesterday, I was brought up to date with the following message;

I was informed by the RM that I would be able to join after immunotherapy as long as a Dr approved that I was no longer allergic after the 3 year programme.

It was a quick process, I just had to ask my GP for a reference to a hospital that performs it and I now have an injection once a month for the next 3 years.

It is all on the NHS, I have not paid a penny apart from transport.

At the clinic in London I have seen people having the treatment for nuts and pollen etc, so it seems to be comprehensive in treating many allergies that bar people from joining the RN.

I hope this information proves useful and helps you point potential candidates in the right direction.
Indeed it does. Further advice, which we hope may help those that follow:

I asked last July [2017] and applied for the immunotherpay treatment in September and was on the course 3 months later in November.

I am already about 8 months into the treatment now and the staff there said that there is an 85% success rate of becoming immune in the first 3 years.

One thing to note is that I applied just before I tuned 18 and was technically registered on the 'child' list which my GP said would speed up the process as for adults there is a supposedly a longer waiting list.

Again, I hope my experience proves useful for you to pass on to those in my boots, as this treatment seems to be under the radar.
Fingers-crossed this information will benefit others who suffer from allergies.

Be aware the following caveat applies:

Cases are reviewed individually, no two are the same, there's no guarantee of success, but there maybe a way ahead.

Many thanks to Joe for providing the feedback.
 
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This is really interesting. Is it known where the treatment was undertaken? He mentions London, but l wondered if more specific details are available?
 

Chelonian

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Is it known where the treatment was undertaken? He mentions London, but l wondered if more specific details are available?
I can't answer your specific question but the NHS website page on allergies has a brief comment about allergy immunotherapy (desensitisation).

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/allergies/treatment/

There doesn't appear to be any suggestion that the treatment, presumably referred by a GP or other health professional, is not also undertaken at regional locations outside of London.
Hope that this helps.
 

Hoofin

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In cases of doubt over the history of allergy or where self-administered adrenaline injection has been prescribed but there is doubt over its necessity candidates may wish to ask their general practitioner to refer them to an allergist for opinion. Referral should be made to the Lead Consultant at one of the clinics shown in Table 1, which are approved by the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology. In the case of food allergy, allergic response could be assessed by serum or skin tests followed by a sequential challenge test (eg eating up to 10 peanuts). No reaction to the tests would equate to the same risk as an individual without a history of food allergy. Wasp and bee sting desensitisation may be undertaken although future anaphylaxis cannot be ruled out; however, those who had previously reacted to stings, but then went on to have further stings without problem could be considered to have no greater risk than the general population if they then sustain multiple stings.
 
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