How Do Allergy 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.
How do you Prepare for an Allergy Shot?
Before allergy shots will be administered, a doctor will conduct a skin or blood test to determine what allergens an individual's body reacts to. This evaluation informs the doctor and nurse as to which allergens should be included in the shot.
Once an individual's specific allergens have been identified, the shot is ready to be administered. It is recommended an individual avoids strenuous activities for two hours before and after an allergy shot appointment. Exercise increases blood flow and can increase your risk of a reaction to the shot.
What is the Procedure for Allergy Shots?
Shots are typically given in two phases: buildup and maintenance.
In the first phase, shots are given once a week for at least a six-month period. This schedule must be adhered to in order to get the best results. The amount of allergens in each dose gradually increases with each shot.
In the second phase, shots will be received once or twice a month for a total treatment time of three to five years. This maintenance dose consists of the maximum amount of allergens in the shot.
What are the Results of Allergy Shots?
In is important to know that allergy shots will not stop allergy symptoms overnight. It is common though for symptoms to improve in the first year with even greater improvement the second year. In the third year, most people are able to discontinue allergy shots and no longer experience significant allergic reactions. However, some individuals may need to continue shots to keep symptoms under control.
Contact your child's doctor to make an appointment and see if allergy shots are a good choice of treatment for them.