If you’re one of the millions of people in the United States suffering from allergies, you’re likely eager to find a way to manage the nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes and other uncomfortable allergy symptoms that can interfere with your day and make it harder to do things like take walks through Cooper Furnace Nature Trail.
One popular treatment is immunotherapy, which is usually administered in the form of allergy shots. Let’s take a closer look at what this type of allergy treatment entails, as well as how long you need to continue receiving allergy shots.
How Does Immunotherapy Work?
Immunotherapy is a method of exposing your immune system to your specific allergy triggers slowly over time in an effort to reduce your reactiveness to these allergens and minimize your symptoms.
The most common method of administering immunotherapy is through allergy shots. These injections are given at your healthcare provider’s office. They contain a small amount of the substance (or sometimes multiple substances) that you react to mixed in with a delivery liquid.
Over time, your allergist or provider will increase the amount of allergen in your shots.
Allergy Shot Schedule
While allergy shots can offer long-lasting relief, it doesn’t start working overnight. While you and your provider can work to individualize your schedule, immunotherapy often begins with weekly shots that continue until you enter your maintenance phase at around six months.
While some see an improvement in symptoms during this initial phase, others only experience relief once they are in the maintenance phase. Though the treatment seems long, research has shown that three years of allergy shots can offer allergy tolerance that lasts for at least 2-3 years after stopping treatment. Additionally, you’re more likely never to have your allergic reactions return if you receive allergy shots for three or more years.
Are Allergy Shots Right for Me?
While there are many benefits to allergy shots, like all medical treatments, they carry the risk of some side effects. Most side effects from these shots show up within the first 30 minutes after treatment, which is why your medical provider will have you wait in their office to see if a reaction occurs.
Most side effects are minor and include slight swelling, redness or itchiness at the injection site. On rare occasions, people experience a severe allergic reaction after a shot, known as anaphylaxis. This can cause swelling in your throat, trouble breathing, rapid pulse and loss of consciousness and requires immediate medical attention, which your healthcare professional can provide.
Additionally, there may be other considerations like timeframe, severity of your allergy symptoms and your ability to regularly visit your medical provider when it comes to deciding if allergy shots are the right course of treatment for you.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call ENT of Georgia North today.