Allergy shots are an integral part of long-term treatment that comes under immunotherapy. These are injections containing limited doses of allergens. This is the basic information that is available everywhere over the internet. Concerns hovering around allergy shots have compelled us to come to your aid. So here we are, at your rescue always!
What is the underlying mechanism behind allergies?
Honestly, allergies are nothing but misinterpretations of our immune system.
Our immune system is our defense system. It is responsible for all the fighting back mechanisms when any foreign particle enters our body so that it does not cause any harm to us. But when this identification of the harmful foreign particle is confused with other particles, it leads to allergies.
Antibodies are produced by the immune system when encountered with a foreign substance. When any substance enters the body and our immune system mistakes it to be harmful even though it is not, it starts its routine procedure.
The usual mechanism of producing antibodies and fighting against the foreign body begins in the body but for a non-harmful substance. This results in the development of allergic symptoms. Sometimes they can be severe as well.
Evaluate your allergy
We know those stubborn allergies just get on your nerves intervening everywhere. Sometimes you start sneezing, coughing, or some rashes appear on your skin out of the blue. That is annoying. Sometimes in some people, these allergic reactions take severe forms.
The thumb rule of treating any allergy is to stay away from those substances or factors that cause allergic reactions. Oral medications, nasal sprays, skin creams, etc., are the possible measures to heal allergic reactions. Allergy shots being the most effective form as it reduces the symptoms for life long.
But before you decide to get the allergen immunotherapy, we want you to evaluate some points and then go for it.
Certain factors, like the type of allergy, i.e., the type of allergen that triggers those haywire reactions in your body, are the first and foremost criteria. Allergies caused due to almost everything are treatable by allergy shots except the food allergies (sorry guys!).
You must be wondering
i. Do allergy shots work for indoor allergies triggered by dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, cockroaches? Are outdoor allergens like trees, dust, insect stings, also included?
ii. Are they effective for seasonal allergies?
It is affirmative. Not only outdoor/indoor triggered allergies can be treated with allergy shots, but also seasonal allergies are curable. Allergies concerning the eyes-nose and even hay fever are no exception.
Allergy shots are a long-term treatment procedure. It takes years to complete all the doses. It is only after the completion of the entire course that the treatment is effective.
There are two phases in this treatment procedure. The first is the built-up phase, then comes the maintenance phase. Let’s take a closer look at them.
- Build-up Phase: The number of allergy shots given is more frequent. This first phase lasts for 3-7 months. In the majority of the cases, one or two injections are administered every week. However, the frequency and the dosage depend on the doctor and the seriousness of the condition. The symptoms become noticeable less during this phase.
- Maintenance Phase: This phase is longer than the build-up phase, wherein the frequency of the shots is reduced with the appropriate power of the dose. This phase may last for 3-5 years. The allergy symptoms also become less but take more time, unlike the build-up phase.
Both of these phases require an appointment with the doctor and in-office administration approximately for 30 minutes every time you take the shot. This is important for the vigilance of symptoms or any other reactions.
How do allergy shots work?
Allergy shots work much like vaccines. As said previously in this article, these shots consist of limited doses of allergens pushed into the body. The allergens’ doses administered are such that they do not cause any severe reactions but allow the body to react more subtly. This mechanism helps the body to cope with the allergen and slowly desensitize.
During the build-up phase, the doses are frequent and limited. As the treatment progresses, the frequency is reduced. While the power of the doses is increased in a particular pattern as decided by your doctor. The highest concentration of the doses is reached during the maintenance phase. This is considered to be optimal for the treatment purpose.
What are the benefits of this therapy?
Since we began writing about allergy shots, we have been continuously mentioning their long-term effectiveness.
These allergy shots treat the cause of allergies to the root of it. For people who are unwilling to take oral medications, these injections are a good alternative.
Symptoms are lessened significantly on the completion of the entire course. So you can lead an untroubled life hereafter.
Are there any risks?
Everything comes with its own sets of pros and cons. While we appreciate its advantages, there are certain drawbacks to this therapy.
- Anaphylaxis is the acute allergic reaction the body produces in response to antigen. When the injection is pushed into the body, there are high chances of anaphylaxis. So waiting at the doctor’s chamber for 30 mins is compulsory every time throughout the course.
- Swelling, irritation, redness-like symptoms can also develop on the skin through where the shot was administered.
- People under other medications can have other side-effects. So it’s better to consult the doctor before giving a nod to this therapy.
- Also, children under the age of five years are not recommended.
Do allergy shots work?
Many people who have suffered due to allergies have acknowledged that this treatment method has given them great relief. In some cases, allergies have diminished completely.
Therefore, it is proven that allergy shots do work well provided the entire term of the course is completed. Otherwise, it might have other repercussions. Provided that it is a time-consuming method, it is worth all of it if you can get rid of the pain. Consultations of medical experts are a high priority on our list. We hope that we have given all the necessary information regarding allergy shots.