Allergy shots have the potential to change allergy sufferers’ lives drastically improving daily symptoms. While allergies can be a minor inconvenience to some patients, to others they can be a nightmare to control leading to severe seasonal or perennial symptoms that fail to respond to standard treatments. When over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal sprays fail, some patients turn to allergy shots to help better manage their disease.
What Are Allergy Shots?
Allergy shots are a type of immunotherapy that involves a series of injections given to a person over the course of a few years in order to better control allergy symptoms. Each allergy shot contains fragments of specific allergens that have been proven to affect the patient. They are given in low doses to start with and are gradually increased over time in an attempt to build up immunity and tolerance to the allergen(s). Shots start out by being given 1-2 times per week and slowly space out overtime to once weekly, every two weeks, every three weeks, and finally every four weeks for maintenance dosing. Once the patient achieves maintenance dosing most allergy symptoms the patient used to suffer from have significantly improved.
Benefits of Allergy Shots
Allergy shots administered by an Allergist can greatly reduce the strength of your seasonal and indoor allergies. Many people report that continuous shots cause their allergy symptoms to completely go away or to occur much less frequently. A very small proportion of patients may not see benefit from treatment. If no significant changes are seen after a year of consistent treatment, speak to your allergist or immunologist and see what else can be done.
Who is a Candidate For Allergy Shots?
Anyone who struggles with seasonal or year-round allergies that are not controlled by medications are great candidates for allergy shots. Patients that are allergic to the animals they live with are often very good candidates since avoidance of animal dander in this situation is impossible. The only patients who would be disqualified from starting on allergy shots are those with severe, poorly controlled asthma.
Are Allergy Shots Worth It?
Severe allergy sufferers can find themselves hesitant to begin allergy shot treatments often due to the time commitment. Shots require frequent visits and a standard wait time after each injection. The good news is that those who complete a full cycle of treatment find that their allergy symptoms disappear or are very mild. This treatment is ideal for those who have severe allergy symptoms that cannot be controlled by medication. For more information on allergy shots or to check with a provider if you’re a good candidate, contact us at Bernstein Allergy Group and we’ll be happy to help.