Allergy Shots: The Basics Of How It Works And Which Candidates Are Most Ideal

Allergy season is quickly approaching. Up to 30% of the entire worldwide population is affected by hay fever, but allergy season is not the only concern for most Americans. 1 in 5 Americans suffer from some type of allergy, whether it be a sensitivity to food and drugs or a sensitivity to compounds found indoors or outdoors. Those who are extremely sensitive to various allergens may find taking allergy medicine on a regular basis to be inconvenient. Allergy shots, or immunotherapy, is a long-term treatment option that may be the answer. If you're not afraid of needles and want to finally be relieved of your allergy symptoms, speak with an allergist regarding whether allergy shots may be suitable for you. This article will give you some basic information to consider about allergy shots. 

The Fundamentals of How Allergy Shots Work

Before allergy shots can be administered, an allergist will first need to conduct several tests in order to determine which particular allergens you may be sensitive to. These allergens are then injected into your body in the form of a vaccinated shot, and the dosage will be gradually increased overtime in order to encourage your body to develop an immunity or tolerance to the allergen. There are typically two phases involved with an allergy shot: the build-up phase and the maintenance phase.

During the build-up phase, your allergist will inject shots that contain an increasing amount of allergens once or twice a week. Most of the time, 28 injections are made during the build-up phase. Once you have reached the maximum allergen concentration possible and recommended, you go into what is known as a maintenance phase. During the maintenance phase, you will be given shots every 2 to 4 weeks. During this time, the amount of allergens that are present in each shot will remain relatively constant for your body to build up tolerance or immunity.

Most patients experience relief from their allergy symptoms within 6 months of starting the shots; however, it is important that patients continue to get the shots in order to ensure that the allergies do not return. Some shots will help your body build up a permanent tolerance or immunity over the course of several years. As you can see, getting allergy shots require a lot of time and dedication.

Criteria for Ideal Candidates

Most professionals recommend taking medication, as most allergy symptoms are simply not severe enough for allergists to recommend allergy shots. Generally speaking, allergy shots are recommended for those who are:

  • experiencing allergy symptoms that are so severe that they outweigh the risk of expenses and time involved with getting the allergy shots. These candidates normally experience shortness of breath or constricted airways upon being exposed to the allergens.
  • are allergic to substances that are difficult to avoid. If you have a severe allergy reaction to pollen, allergy shots may be for you, as it is almost impossible to avoid this substance.
  • are allergic to substances that require constant medication.
  • do not respond well to allergy medications. Allergy medications may have no effect on these patients or may cause severe side effects.
  • seeking for a treatment for the underlying allergy, and not just merely the symptoms that are caused by the allergy.

Be Free From Allergies 

Depending on the type of allergy shots that you have received, your body may build up a permanent tolerance. In which case, you will no longer exhibit allergy symptoms even if the shots are no longer administrated. Your allergist will need to perform a thorough examination before advising you when you can stop. Although there are some complications, like wheezing or dizziness, which may arise from allergy shots, they are definitely worth the time and effort if you are considered an ideal candidate. You will finally be free from your allergies and can finally start enjoying your life without any restrictions or limitations.