Immunotherapy or allergy shots are a form of allergy treatment that decreases symptoms for people with allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, conjunctivitis or eye allergies and stinging insect allergies. In the following, we will talk about 5 things about allergy shots which can benefit you in future.
- Allergy shots are very effective because it lessens the intensity of your reaction to allergens and frequently leads to lasting relief of allergy symptoms even when treatment is stopped. This makes it a cost-effective and beneficial treatment for many people.
- Allergy Shots can be given to children and adults, although it is not typically recommended for children under the age of five. When giving allergy shots to an older adult, considerations need to be taken for medical conditions such as cardiac disease and should be discussed with your allergist or immunologist first.
- The decision to take allergy shots by you and your allergist or immunologist should be based on the following:
- Length of allergy season and severity of your symptoms
- How well medications and environmental controls help your allergy symptoms
- Avoiding long-term medication use
- Time available for treatment
- Cost, which may vary depending on insurance coverage
- Allergy shots are not used to treat food allergies. The best option for people with food allergies is to strictly avoid that food.
- Lastly, when taking allergy shots, they work similarly to a vaccine. The body responds to injected amounts of an allergen, given gradually and increasing doses, to develop immunity or tolerance to the allergen.
There are two phases:
- Build-up phase: This involves receiving injections with increasing amounts of the allergens about one to two times per week. The length of this phase depends upon how often the injections are received but generally ranges from three to six months.
- Maintenance phase: This begins once the effective dose is reached. The effective maintenance dose depends on your level of allergen sensitivity and your response to the build-up phase. During the maintenance phase, there will be longer periods of time between treatments, ranging from two to four weeks. Your allergist or immunologist will decide what range is best for you.