If you’ve tried everything to stop your allergies from flaring up when you walk through Wildwood Park, it may be time to ask your allergist about immunotherapy. This type of treatment can help build immunity to allergens over time and is offered in a couple of different forms. Namely allergy shots and allergy drops.
How Allergy Shots Work
Allergy shots, also known as subcutaneous immunotherapy, are the most commonly used form of immunotherapy. They have been used to successfully treat allergies for more than 100 years. They have shown effectiveness in treating reactions to allergens including:
- Dust mites
- Animal dander
- Insect stings
They work by getting your body used to the allergen slowly, with the hopes that you will develop an immunity or tolerance to the allergen. The process has two phases:
Build-up phase: Injections once or twice a week, with the dosage gradually increased each visit for 3-6 months.
Maintenance phase: The dosage is no longer increased, and you receive shots once or twice a month for 3-5 years.
These shots are administered at a doctor’s office. You must wait for 20-30 minutes in the office after the injection given the small chance that you could experience a serious allergic reaction.
How Are Allergy Drops Different?
Allergy drops, or sublingual immunotherapy, work in a very similar way to allergy shots. However, there are a few key differences.
- They are taken orally by placing drops under your tongue.
- Allergy shots can be self-administered daily for 3-5 years. No need to visit an allergist’s office for treatment after the initial visit.
- They seem less likely to cause severe reactions than allergy shots. However, your doctor may still prescribe an epinephrine injector in case one occurs.
What Form of Immunotherapy is Right for Me?
What type of immunotherapy will work best for you depends on several different factors. The type of allergy you have as well as the severity will affect your treatment options. Additionally, allergy drops only target one allergen at a time, whereas allergy shots can provide relief for multiple allergens.
Many people find the convenience of taking drops (and not having to get regular shots) appealing.
However, allergy shots are more likely to be covered by insurance.
In the end, you and your allergist will work together to determine what treatment option is best for you.
If you have additional questions or wish to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call ENT of Georgia North today.