Allergy shots functionally train your immune system to ignore the triggers that used to make you miserable. While a lot of medications can mask the symptoms or suppress your response, your allergies will come roaring back once you stop taking the drug. Allergy shots expose you to ever-increasingly larger doses of the allergen until your body stops responding to it.
What’s the Difference Between Allergy Shots and Immunotherapy?
An allergy shot that is formulated only with the allergen that your body is learning not to to respond to is a form of immunotherapy. Depending on the severity of your current flare-up and your traditional response to the allergen, you may also have to get a steroid shot, which will provide relief but is not considered to be immunotherapy.
While steroid shots are recommended for anaphylactic responses that can impact your ability to breathe, they’re not a good long-term solution for seasonal allergy relief. The short term side effects of steroids can be worrying. They include
- anxiety, irritability, and poor rest
- increased appetite, bloating and facial swelling
- elevated blood sugar levels
Long-term risks are also dangerous and can include
- dangerous digestive problems
- heart disease
In the final analysis, if your life is in danger, steroids are a valid and necessary action. If not, seek other treatments.
Benefits of Allergy Shots
Allergy shots offer a lot of flexibility. Nearly any trigger that causes your allergic reactions can be made available in increasing concentrations to provide you with immune support so you can resist your reactions to the allergens around you.
These shots can also help you find relief from reactions to insect stings. Because reactions to these stings can either be life-threatening or grow to the point that they are over time, starting a course of allergy shots to reduce your reaction to insect stings is critical. As soon as you have a dangerous sting reaction, allergy shots should be undertaken.
Unfortunately, allergy shots don’t appear to be a viable treatment for food allergies. As these reactions can be as dangerous or more dangerous than an insect reaction, other forms of immunotherapy treatment should be sought.
Other Forms of Immunotherapy
In addition to allergy shots in Newburgh NY, discuss your treatment options with your physician to see if your allergies make you a candidate for Sublingual Immunotherapy Treatments, or SLIT.
SLIT therapy can be taken in drops or in pill form. While allergy shots can take up to three years for you to build up the necessary amount of tolerance, SLIT therapies are generally done within a year.
When you sign up for allergy shots, you will need to visit the doctor’s office for your shots, and you’ll be monitored after the injections to make sure you’re not headed for an unmanageable or dangerous reaction. Your first SLIT therapy will be administered by the doctor to make sure that you don’t suffer any adverse reactions. Then you’ll probably be allowed to manage the drops at home.
Limits Of Sublingual Therapies
The treatments for sublingual therapies are, as yet, fairly standardized. If you’re allergic to grass or dust mites, these therapies can help. If your allergies are a bit more exotic, the SLIT therapy probably won’t work because a custom blend isn’t an option as yet.
Additionally, there are some sublingual therapy treatments that aren’t covered by insurance, so even if your allergies are pretty standard, it may be affordable to go through the shots to gain full relief and benefits at a much lower cost.
An Allergic Response to the Therapy
It should be noted that people can have an allergic reaction to their allergy therapy. This is part of the reason that it’s so important that the first treatment be administered by your physician. A bad reaction can come on fast and result in limited breathing passages or worse, so do not try this at home with someone else’s product. Never assume your reaction will be the same as that of someone else.
This works for both injections and sublingual therapies. While there have been no reported fatal reactions to sublingual therapies and 1 in 9 million to the shots, the side effects of a reaction can be quite unpleasant. Schedule down time after your shots so you have time to rest up and relax if your immune system flares up. When using the drops, take them every day as directed at the same time so you can easily manage any side effects you do have.
It is possible to pair your treatment with an antihistamine to reduce the risk and severity of side effects. Discuss these products with your physician and have one available after your chosen therapy so you can calm down your immune system and avoid an uncomfortable flare-up.
The reactions can run the gamut from irritated skin at the drop or injection site to a bit of redness to some inflammation. You may have itching at the site where the drop touched your mouth or where the needle was inserted into your skin. This is normal, though any open skin should always be carefully monitored for signs of infection, including heat, oozing or a re-opening on the injection site when the bandage is removed.
You don’t have to suffer through allergies. It is possible to get relief through a variety of treatment options, and you can train your immune system to have a smaller response over time. Discuss your concerns and any risks you face with your physician so you can make the best choice for your health.