There are many causes of allergic reactions, but there are also several ways you can relieve them. One way is to aid it with over-the-counter medications, which can provide you with short-term relief. Others use prescription drugs. But some people choose immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots because of its long-term effectiveness.
Allergen immunotherapy – commonly referred to as allergy shots – can be life-changing. Allergy shots are regular injections over a period of time. They work by exposing your body to small amounts of a substance that causes your allergic reactions. The amount of allergen in each injection increases gradually over time so that the body can build up a tolerance. Allergy shots contain just enough allergens to stimulate your immune system, but not enough to cause a severe allergic reaction.
Most allergies respond to allergy shots. They are used to control symptoms triggered by seasonal allergies, such as those allergic to pollen released by trees or grasses. Allergy shots are also used for indoor allergens like dust mites, mold, and pet dander. Lastly, allergy shots can work too for insect stings such as those allergic reactions triggered by bees, wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets.
With millions of people experiencing different types of allergies every year, it is essential to know the treatment options available to relieve allergy symptoms. Many people still have hesitations over the effectiveness of allergy shots. However, they work. As mentioned earlier, they are not just used for seasonal allergies such as hay fever, but could also work for year-round indoor allergies like mold, dust mites, and animal dander.
In our blog entitled 4 Common Misconceptions of Allergy Shots, we talked about the different misconceptions surrounding allergy shots. Your allergist can personalize the treatment so that it fits your needs. Once your allergy trigger is identified, the allergist would then administer an allergy shot. An article published by Harvard Health Publishing discussed how allergy shots are often recommended for people with severe allergy symptoms who do not respond well to the usual medications. Furthermore, allergy shots are also advantageous to those people whose allergies can become life-threatening.
Some people believe that allergy shots are only useful in cases where severe allergic reactions are manifested. That’s not true. You can consider immunotherapy as your first treatment option. Allergy shots help about 80 percent of patients with allergic rhinitis. Shots can even potentially cure your allergies so that you won’t need other medication. Imagine the amount of money you can save when allergy shots cure your allergies.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, allergy shots work on both adults and children. Most people over the age of 5 can get allergy shots. The researchers found out that allergy shots can improve allergy and mild asthma symptoms. They can also lessen the need to take allergy and asthma medicines. However, it is essential to remember that allergy shots can have mild side effects. Because they contain small amounts of allergen, you may have an allergic reaction to the shot itself.
Some common side effects include headache, coughing, tiredness, mucus dripping down your throat, sneezing, and swelling or redness at the place where the shot was given. Although it rarely happens, however, allergy shots can cause anaphylaxis or a life-threatening reaction. It includes severe swelling of the face, throat, or tongue, tightness in the chest, wheezing, dizziness, nausea, itching, a skin rash, trouble breathing, diarrhea, or loss of consciousness.
Allergy shots are an effective way to treat your allergy symptoms; however, there are still things you might need to think through before deciding on whether you should have allergy shots. You may want to talk to your allergist about these matters:
After your body learns to tolerate the allergen because of the allergy shots, your symptoms will improve. If you’re a candidate for the treatment, then you have a chance to be allergy-free. Improve your quality of life and talk to your allergist about it.
Dr. Paul Jantzi has spent more than 13 years serving the south-central Texas region as an allergist. He is board-certified in allergy and immunology with prior specialty training in pediatrics and internal medicine. Schedule a meeting with him to learn more about immunotherapy and how it can help with your allergy symptoms.
National Center for Biotechnology Information
Harvard Health Publishing