Allergy shots can provide life-changing results for people with allergies. However, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what to expect and whether they’re right for you.
If you live with allergies, our team at Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Associates can guide you through your treatment options. Here’s what you need to know about allergy shots and what to expect from this long-term treatment option.
Unlike medications you take to control allergy symptoms, this treatment stops them at the source.
When you have an allergy, your immune system overreacts to something and misfires. This can occur with anything you come in contact with, including things you touch, inhale, or eat, or even something that stings you.
Depending on the severity of your reaction, your symptoms can range from a little discomfort to life-threatening anaphylaxis. That’s where allergy shots come in.
Allergy shots, or immunotherapy, work to desensitize your immune system to the substance that triggers your reactions. The process relies on very small doses, exposing you to just enough of the allergen to activate your immune system but not enough to ignite a full-blown reaction.
Since allergy shots help you build up a tolerance to specific allergens, they can provide game-changing results when you suffer from specific allergies. Allergy shots aren’t an option for people with food-related allergies, but food oral immunotherapy could be an option.
It’s hard to imagine why a person wouldn’t get allergy shots to reduce and even prevent reactions entirely. However, our team typically recommends them in specific situations, such as:
Another consideration for allergy shots involves your commitment to the process. That’s because your new and improved immunity doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, getting the best possible relief and maintaining your results can take years.
As mentioned above, allergy shots succeed when they desensitize your immune system. However, it takes a specific approach to make this happen and get results that last. Our team accomplishes this in two specific phases.
This part of the process involves administering small amounts of the allergen to your system to desensitize it. We gradually increase the dose with each injection until you reach the effective therapeutic dose — the amount needed to provide relief from your symptoms.
When you complete the buildup phase, you move into the maintenance phase. As the name implies, this stage helps you maintain your desensitized immunity. During this time, you continue getting allergy shots, but they occur every 2-4 weeks and last 3-5 years or longer.
Allergy shots themselves are fairly quick, but you need to remain at our office for at least 30 minutes afterward in case you have an allergic reaction.
While allergy shots don’t work overnight, you usually see improvements within the first year of treatment. However, it’s more common for the most striking improvements to occur during the second year, and the benefits only improve from there.
It’s also important to note that allergy shots aren’t a cure for allergies. Instead, they reduce your immune response, so you have fewer symptoms and require less medication.
Are you curious to see if allergy shots can improve your symptoms? Contact Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Associates in South Tampa, Carrollwood, or Brandon, Florida, today to see what you can expect.