If you live with allergies, it’s easy to get tired of managing them with medications day after day — especially if your drugs no longer work the way they used to. Fortunately, immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, can help where medications fall short.
Our skilled allergists at Advanced Allergy & Asthma recommend immunotherapy for all types of allergies. Here’s how they provide results safely.
How immunotherapy works
When you have allergies, your immune system overreacts to something it misinterprets as a threat. Your response can vary from mild sniffles and itchy eyes to life-threatening anaphylaxis.
It can be alarming for anyone suffering from allergy symptoms to consider intentionally exposing yourself to your triggers. That’s why immunotherapy starts by injecting small amounts to build up your body’s tolerance over time gradually. These precise doses provide just enough of the allergen to stimulate a response from your immune system, but not enough to cause an intense allergic reaction.
Immunotherapy involves two phases of treatment. To start, we provide low doses of allergens to your system through shots once or twice a week. After 3-6 months, you move into the maintenance stage. At this point, you only need your allergy shots once or twice a month to keep your symptoms at bay.
We also offer rush immunotherapy treatments. Instead of a slow introduction of allergens to your system over a few months, rush immunotherapy can suppress your allergies in a single day. This approach can offer faster benefits but requires a full day at our office with larger doses of allergens and careful monitoring for adverse reactions.
Before beginning an immunotherapy program, we perform a comprehensive allergy assessment to determine your triggers and the extent of your reaction so we can plan accordingly.
What to expect from immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is a safe and effective option for both adults and children as young as five years old. However, you can develop minor reactions from your shots.
In some cases, you may notice redness, swelling, or irritation at the injection site. Less commonly, there’s a possibility of nasal congestion, sneezing, hives. In rare cases, severe reactions to immunotherapy can cause wheezing, throat swelling, chest tightness, low blood pressure, or trouble breathing.
You can rest easy knowing that severe reactions to immunotherapy aren’t common. Plus, these responses typically occur quickly, so we keep you under close observation in our office for at least 30 minutes after each of your allergy shots.
If you maintain your treatment schedule or take an antihistamine before your appointment, you can often prevent these flare-ups.
When to consider immunotherapy
You can consider this a good treatment option if you:
- Don’t find relief from medication any longer
- Can’t take allergy medication
- Want to reduce your allergy medication use
- Have an allergy to insect stings
Immunotherapy can also control symptoms caused by seasonal or indoor allergies, but they aren’t an option for food allergies.
While immunotherapy isn’t an immediate cure for allergy symptoms, it can provide significant relief. And, the longer you continue getting your allergy shots, the more desensitized you become to the allergens causing your symptoms.
Ready to see how immunotherapy can help with your allergies? Contact one of our convenient Ogden locations by calling to schedule an appointment today.