Everything You Need To Know About Allergy Shots
What exactly happens when you get an allergy shot? And why should you get them? These are common questions for patients with different allergies. If you are one of them, you may want to know all about allergy shots before getting one.
An allergy is a condition where your immune system overreacts to something harmless. The symptoms include sneezing, itching, watery eyes, or even hives. You might want to consider getting allergy shots If you suffer from allergies.
Allergy shots are administered through injections into the skin. They contain tiny amounts of allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, or pet dander. This treatment helps your body develop tolerance to these substances.
Our Chandler allergy expert will explain below all you need to know about allergy shots so you can get a better idea of how they work.
What Exactly Are Allergy Shots?
As we previously said, allergy shots are regular injections that reduce allergy attacks. They are injected for a period that goes from three to five years. These shots are part of a treatment known as immunotherapy.
Each allergy shot has a tiny amount of the substance that triggers allergic attacks (allergens). These allergens stimulate the immune system but are not strong enough to cause a common reaction.
The doctor increases the dosage of allergens over time. This way, your body gets used to the allergens, and your immune systems build up the tolerances. Your allergy symptoms should diminish in the long term.
How Do They Work?
They work by helping your body create a tolerance to allergens progressively. While building up this tolerance, the symptoms should reduce.
This process is similar to getting vaccines because your body creates antibodies to combat the substance in the injection. In this case, the substances are allergens.
Before getting allergy shots, you must take an allergy test first. You can always contact a Queen Creek allergy expert to take the test.
Allergy tests are necessary to know what you are allergic to. The most common test is the skin prick test, where the doctor places a few drops of allergen extracts on the forearms or back. Then, the doctor pricks the skin underneath the drop to see if there is any reaction.
Once the doctor knows what exactly you are allergic to, they can recommend allergy shots as treatment. Allergy shots work in two phases: the buildup phase and the maintenance phase. Both phases vary in time, so you can expect them to last from a few years.
What To Know About The Buildup Phase
In this phase, you receive injections once to twice a week so that your body gets used to the allergens. You must stay in the medical center for 30 minutes after each shot so the doctors can check the symptoms.
Each dose will gradually increase until you reach the maintenance phase. The buildup phase can last from three to six months.
What To Know About The Maintenance Phase
During this phase, you will get allergy shots only once or twice a month. However, you still have to remain in the clinic for 30 minutes. Your Mesa allergy expert must keep monitoring your symptoms.
The allergist will start this phase once your body has gotten used to the first injections and you are no longer reacting to the side effects. The maintenance phase is the last one, so it lasts from three to five years.
Why Are Allergy Shots So Important?
They are not always recommended, but they are a great treatment choice in the following situations:
- Over-the-counter or prescribed medications cannot control your symptoms well, and you can’t avoid the triggers that cause your allergic reactions.
- Your medications interact with other treatments you must take.
- Your allergy medications cause bothersome side effects.
- You want to reduce the long-term use of medications.
- You are allergic to bug stings.
Am I A Good Candidate For Allergy Shots?
You are a good candidate if you experience severe allergy symptoms all year long and don’t respond well to usual medications. You may also need allergy shots if you have allergic asthma, eye allergies, allergic rhinitis, and allergies to insects.
However, children under five years old, pregnant women, patients with heart diseases, and patients with severe asthma should not get allergy shots.
Allergy shots aren’t recommended for food allergies or chronic hives (urticaria).
Consult With Mesa Allergy Experts
If you have severe allergy symptoms, contact San Tan Allergy & Asthma to schedule an appointment and find the best treatment. We have an amazing team of doctors ready to help you with any allergy, including skin allergies, allergic asthma, eczema, and more! Contact us now.