Immunotherapy can be described as a process of triggering an immune response by the body. Some of the substances that could induce immune reaction are materials such as weakened or dead bacteria, allergies, or vaccines. Immunotherapy has proved useful in the treatment of many diseases. However, they do have some adverse effects. Some of them include low-grade fever, fatigue and so on. On the other hand, allergy shots are medications in the form of injections that are administered at regular intervals over a certain period of time, say between 3 to 5 years, to eliminate or reduce allergy attacks. These allergy shots are a form of immunotherapy. These allergy shots consist of a small number of substances that are capable of triggering allergic reactions. This kind of substances is also known as allergens. These shots consist of just the right amount of allergens that are suitable enough to induce the immune system to the reaction, however, they’re not enough to cause an allergic reaction in the patient. The physician might decide to increase the dose of the allergens in the allergy shot over time. This assists the body with desensitization. A term used to describe the process by which the body gets used to allergens. The body develops tolerance to these allergens over time, till the symptoms eventually get eliminated, or reduced to the barest minimum.
What Is Immunotherapy Treatment For Allergies?
Allergy shots are a form of immunotherapy. They are useful for significantly reducing and completely eliminating allergies. Examples of cases where allergy shots are useful include for people with seasonal allergies, indoor allergens, and insect stings.
Why Are Allergy Shots Important?
As earlier mentioned, allergy shots are a form of immune therapy. Allergy shots might be a good option if you belong to any of these categories;
- Allergy medications are not effective in the management of your symptoms, and you can’t avoid the triggers of the allergy.
- The allergy medications you use to react with other drugs you must use, leading to adverse effects.
- You have an allergy to insect bites.
- You want to reduce the duration of using allergy medication.
Allergy shots are effective in the treatment of the following;
- Seasonal allergies: People with seasonal allergies such as asthma, hay fever symptoms, or that are allergic to pollens that are released from trees, and plants can benefit from allergy shots. These shots are specified for this purpose.
- Indoor allergens: If you have symptoms throughout the year, there is a high probability that you’re sensitive to indoor allergens such as dust mites, rats, and even from domestic animals such as dogs, rabbits, and cats. Oral allergy immunotherapy is available for this for this type of allergy.
- Insect stings: This kind of allergy occurs when an individual is bitten by an insect. Examples of these insects include bees, wasps and so on.
It’s important to know that there are no allergy shots for food allergies for now.
What Are The Risks Of Taking Allergy Shots?
It’s rare for people to develop reactions to allergy shots. However, because allergy shots contain allergens, it’s possible for people to react to them. Some of the possible reactions to allergies include the following;
- Local reactions: This presents as the redness, swelling, and irritation at the site where the injection enters the body. These reactions start few hours after injection and usually clears off shortly afterward.
- Systemic reactions: This kind of reaction occur less often, but could be severe. Affected individuals might present with signs and symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, and hives. Some of the more serious reactions are the swelling of the throat, tightening of the chest, and wheezing.
- Anaphylaxis: This is a severe and life-threatening reaction to allergy shots. Patients can present with symptoms such as hypotension, and difficulty in breathing. Anaphylaxis usually starts after 30 minutes of administering the injection. Although it can also start at a time later than that.
People who take allergy shots weekly or monthly consistently without skipping their doses have a low chance of developing a severe reaction to it. Taking an antihistamine medication before taking an allergy shot helps to decrease the risk of allergic reaction. Although the thought of developing a reaction might be scary, you’d be examined in the physician’s office at least thirty minutes after each shot. In case you develop a reaction after you leave the doctor’s office, you must return back to the doctor for prompt treatment.
How Long Does It Take For Allergy Shots To Be Effective?
Some patients might discover improvements of signs and symptoms few weeks after, especially during the buildup phase. However, significant improvements might only start to show after half a year or even 12 months in some cases. The effectiveness of an allergy shot is directly proportional to the strength of the shot, and also the duration of usage of the medication.
Do Allergy Shots Really Work?
Allergy shots work effectively, especially when they are used at the right time, and at the right dose. However, there are a lot of reasons why allergy shots may not work. First, it’s important to identify and treat all the clinically important allergens that the patient might be exposed to. Also, you must use the allergy shot in levels that commiserates with the symptoms. Allergy shots do have a specific mixing recommendations. The allergy shots will not work if non-compatible medications are mixed together, and in cases where they work, the treatment won’t be effective. Lastly, allergy shots must be given for a long period of time for the therapeutic dose to be effective. As earlier mentioned, the maintenance therapy of allergy shots can take up to a year, before the patients start seeing significant improvements.
Ear Nose And Throat Doctor Near Me
It’s important to go see a doctor if you notice you’re allergic to something. Most cases of allergies can be treated with allergy shots, except for food allergies.
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Wickman, M. (2005). When allergies complicate allergies. Allergy, 60, pp.14-18.