Are Allergy Shots for Everyone
Allergies can range from mild to severe based on the individual. For some, nasal sprays and allergy pills may do the trick to alleviate symptoms. For others, a weekly allergy shot may be needed to help with symptoms.
Allergy shots assist an individual's body into getting used to the allergens that cause the reaction. While shots are not a cure, they can help over time minimize symptoms. To qualify to receive shots, symptoms have to have happened for more than three months and for allergy pills or nasal sprays to give no relief.
Whether or not an individual starts an allergy shot program also depends on what an individual is allergic to. Typically, allergy shots are used for allergies related to bee stings, pollen, mold, dust mites and pet dander.
Who are Allergy Shots for?
Most children five years of age and up, including adults, can receive allergy shots. Allergy shots may not be given to individuals who take certain medications or have heart or lung disease. Additionally, if an individual suffers from asthma, it must be under control before receiving a shot as the shot may cause a flare-up.
An individual can have reactions to the shots themselves as they contain the allergen. Reactions may be swelling, itching, runny nose, sneezing or in extreme cases anaphylaxis. Due to this, patients stay at the office for at least 30 minutes after receiving an allergy shot.
How Do the Shots Work?
Allergy shots contain a tiny amount of allergen, exposing the individual to what they are allergic to. As time progresses and more shots are given, the amount of allergen in the shot increases to aid in building a tolerance to the allergen. This tolerance teaches the immune system to ignore the allergen instead of having a bad reaction. This allows individuals to stop getting the shots and come off medicine completely, or at least make over-the-counter medicine effective.
Shots are typically given in two phases. In the first phase, shots are given once a week for at least a six-month period. In the second phase, shots will be received once or twice a month for a total treatment time of three to five years. It is important to stick to this schedule.