Odds are, you either know someone who gets allergies consistently, or you’re a victim of allergies yourself. Allergens are everywhere, but fortunately, there are many ways to treat them. If you find yourself constantly battling reactions to different allergens, allergen immunotherapy or “allergy shots” might be the treatment you need to keep you out of the emergency room. Allergy shots provide long-term relief for your allergy symptoms, reducing the severity, duration, and amount of times your allergies flare up.
If you are considering getting injected, you may be wondering about how allergy shots work and how you might be affected by them. Whether you’ve gotten allergy shots before, or are considering going for your first time, read more to learn how often you’ll need to get your allergy shots and prepare yourself if you’re considering your first visit.
How Do Allergy Shots Work?
Allergy shots increase your tolerance to allergens by slowly introducing your body to more and more of the allergen. In essence, it’s forcing your body to learn how to defend against future contact with that specific allergen.
In contrast to others like the flu shot, allergy injections are a scheduled period of shots and not just one dosage. But the idea behind the allergy shot is the same as it is a flu shot; build up the patient’s immune system to protect against an invader. It just happens over a more extended period of time.
So, How Often Do I Need Allergy Shots?
The duration of how long you get allergy shots depends on your doctor’s instructions, but generally, it’s over a period of 3-5 years. Most patients will have developed their immune system sufficiently enough that they can be exposed to the allergen without developing severe allergic reactions. While allergy shots technically aren’t a cure, most patients find that symptoms disappear entirely, even after they stop getting shots.
The process occurs in 2 separate phases:
- Build-up phase: Doctors provide you with a lower dosage containing small amounts of allergens that gradually increase over a period ranging from 3 to 6 months. Where you land in that range depends on how your body tolerates the shots.
- Maintenance Phase: After reaching what your doctor determines to be your maintenance dose, you will receive it over increasing increments until the 3-5 year period concludes. This ends your immunotherapy.
In some cases —known as rush immunotherapy — doctors will give doses in a shorter period of time to get you to the maintenance phase faster. This process does increase the risk of side effects, and you should always consult your doctor on how this option affects you. Either way, you will remain in the doctor’s office for 30 minutes after each shot as a precaution.
How Do I Prepare for Allergy Shots?
Prepare for allergy shots by first noting if you are feeling unwell at any point before your appointment and if you are taking any other medications or treatments. Avoid any strenuous activity for about 2-3 hours before your appointment, and let your nasal allergy specialists know if you are pregnant or considering pregnancy at any point during your immunotherapy period.
Why Should I Get Allergy Shots?
Consider getting allergy injections for any of the following reasons:
- Your allergen is common, and you find it difficult to avoid.
- You don’t want to depend on allergy medication or find they aren’t working to control your symptoms well.
- You are suffering from multiple allergies.
- You want to attack the root of the problem and not just the symptoms.
Get Your Allergy Shots From An Experienced Doctor Today
If you’re considering allergy shots, you want to ensure that your process runs as smoothly as possible. You’ll be consulting with your doctor for 3-5 years, so you want to make sure you are working with an experienced professional you can trust to give you the best treatment and the RIGHT treatment. Dr. Goldberg and the team have over 50 years of experience with all things allergies, so contact us today and get started on relieving all of your allergy symptoms.