Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy was created to help your body build up an immunity to allergens, the things that trigger allergic reactions. They aren’t a cure, but in time, your symptoms will get better and you may not have symptoms as often or even at all.
Once we have done your initial allergy test, which consists of a surface test of 80 of the most common allergens to the area, we are able to know with certainty what it is you are having allergic reactions to. We then create an allergy serum that is specific to you and this serum is injected weekly or biweekly depending on the severity of your allergic reaction and how far along your treatment path you are.
How Often Do You Get Allergy Shots?
At first, you’ll come to the office once a week for several months. You’ll get the shot in your upper arm. It’ll contain a tiny amount of the serum which contains a combination of everything you’re allergic to — pollen, pet dander, mold, dust mites, or bee venom, for example.
The dose will go up gradually until you get to what’s called a maintenance dose. After that, you’ll usually get a shot every 2-4 weeks for 4-5 months. Then your doctor will gradually increase the time between shots until you’re getting them about once a month for 3-5 years. During that time, your allergy symptoms will get better and may even go away.
If your symptoms don’t improve after a year of shots, talk with your doctor about other treatment options.
How Should I Prepare for Allergy Shots?
First, stop taking any antihistamines for 72 hours prior to your allergy test. This allows your body to react fully to the allergens you are being tested for helping the allergist to understand the severity and complexity of your allergic reactions.
Also, please check the expiry date on your EPI pen and be sure to bring it into your appointment with you. Having this with you will help to ensure that if you do have a severe reaction to your shot you are prepared. This severity of reaction has never occurred in our clinic but we like to be fully prepared.
You may want to avoid exercise or doing anything strenuous for 2 hours before and after your appointment. That’s because exercise boosts blood flow to the tissues and may cause the allergens to spread throughout your body faster. It’s not likely to cause a serious problem, but it’s best to be safe.
Tell your doctor about any other medicines or herbs and supplements you take. Some medications interfere with the treatment or raise the risk of side effects. You may need to stop allergy shots if you take these medications.
What Should I Expect Afterward?
Be sure to remember to bring your EPI pen into your appointment with you. Usually, you’ll stay at the doctor’s office for about 15 minutes after you get an allergy shot. This is to ensure you don’t get severe side effects like itchy eyes, shortness of breath, a runny nose, or a tight throat. If you get these symptoms after you leave, go back to your doctor’s office or to the nearest emergency room.
Redness, swelling, or irritation right around the site of the injection is normal. These symptoms should go away in 4 to 8 hours.
Do Allergy Shots Work for Everyone?
A lot depends on how many things you’re allergic to and how severe your symptoms are. Generally, allergy shots work for allergies to bee stings, pollen, dust mites, mold, and pet dander. There’s no proof that they work for food, drug, or latex allergies.
When Should I Call My Doctor?
Get on the phone and go to the nearest emergency room if you have shortness of breath, a tight throat, or any other symptoms that worry you after getting your shot.
Do I Have to Get a Shot?
There is another type of immunotherapy: three under-the-tongue tablets that you can take at home. Called Grastek, Oralair, and Ragwitek, they treat hay fever and boost your tolerance of allergy triggers.
Who Should Not Get Allergy Shots?
They may be more risky for people with heart or lung disease, or who take certain medications. Tell your allergist about your health and any medicines you take, so you can decide if allergy shots are right for you.
If you are suffering from allergies, as we know so many Texas residence do, we are here for you. We have had patients have huge success with our allergy shots and treatment process. Patients have shared that the allergy shots changed their life and that they were able to regain the quality of life they were looking for.
If you would like to book an appointment to get your allergy test and treatment started at our Uptown Dallas, Downtown Fort Worth or Keller/Southlake clinic locations call 817-632-5400 today.
Some information cited from Web MD.