They Can Make Asthma And Eczema Better
When people think of allergy symptoms, they generally think of itchy eyes and a stuffy or runny nose, or anaphylactic shock. And while allergy shots can help prevent all of those, they can also help with related conditions as well.
If you have asthma, getting your allergies under control may also help reduce flare-ups, improve your breathing, and reduce your need for medications. Eczema, an inflammatory skin condition, is often associated with environmental allergies.
Allergy Shots Treat Many Kinds Of Allergies
Allergy shots are great for treating indoor and outdoor allergies caused by environmental irritants, like pollen and dust.
If you feel like you cant escape allergens no matter how much you clean or how many decongestants you take, shots may provide long-term relief.
Shots can treat symptoms caused by these common allergens:
- Dust mites
- Animal dander
- Certain stinging insects such as bees, wasps, yellow jackets, fire ants
Note:Food allergies cannot be treated with shots. Talk with your healthcare provider about other options for treating food allergies.
How Often Do You Get Allergy Shots
At first, youâll go to your doctor once or twice a week for several months. Youâll get the shot in your upper arm. It’ll contain a tiny amount of the thing youâre allergic to — pollen, pet dander, mold, dust mites, or bee venom, for example.
The dose will go up gradually until you get to whatâs called a maintenance dose. After that, youâll usually get a shot every 2-4 weeks for 4-5 months. Then your doctor will gradually increase the time between shots until youâre 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 donât improve after a year of shots, talk with your doctor about other treatment options.
Also Check: What Is A Tree Nut Allergy
Most Insurances Have You Covered
Allergy shots are typically covered by most health insurances, though this may vary depending on your specific plan. Even if your shots are covered by insurance, you still may have to pay a copay for each visit. For some, this cost may be cheaper than the total price of over-the-counter medications and other sick visits related to hay fever symptoms.
If you have questions about your insurance coverage, we encourage you to reach out to your insurer. Otherwise, you can discuss costs with your healthcare provider directly.
How Many Shots Do I Have To Get
Most people get 1 or 2 shots each week at first. After about 6 months of weekly shots, your doctor will decide when you can start maintenance treatment. These shots usually are given once a month, year-round. You probably will need maintenance shots for 3 to 5 years. If your symptoms are better, you may be able to stop having shots.
Talk to your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 6 months. You may need to try another form of treatment.
Don’t Miss: Can Elderberry Syrup Help With Allergies
What Are The Side Effects
About half of the people who have this treatment experience mild side effects. This is to be expected when a person is given a substance that they are usually allergic to. The side effects include the following:
- Mild rash at the site of the injection
- Allergic reactions such as sneezing, watery eyes or mild symptoms
- Itching and swelling in the mouth
- Tiredness and headaches
These side effects are usually mild and temporary. They only rarely need to be treated.
If severe side effects occur, the dose is reduced again. It is then a good idea to rule out other possible causes too. Should other causes of these symptoms be found and treated, the dose might be increased again.
Immunotherapy can also be started during the pollen season. Some people worry that the treatment might be harder on their body at that time of year, and then cause more symptoms. But studies show that the side effects are about the same as when the immunotherapy is started in winter.
Treatment For A Child’s Allergy To Dust Or Pollen
Your child’s healthcare provider will consider your child’s age, overall health, how severe the allergic reaction was, and other factors when advising treatment. The 3 ways to treat allergies that work best are:
Staying away from the allergen
Avoidance means staying away from a substance that causes an allergic reaction.
Suggestions for staying away from some allergens include:
Stay indoors with the windows closed when the pollen count is high, and on windy days.
Control dust in the home, especially in your child’s bedroom.
When possible, remove wall-to-wall carpet, window blinds, and down-filled blankets or pillows.
Wash bedding, curtains, and clothing often. Use hot water. This helps get rid of dust mites.
Put dust mite covers on pillows and mattresses.
Use air conditioning instead of opening the windows.
Put a dehumidifier in damp areas of the home. Clean it often.
After playing outside on days when the pollen count is high, have your child take a shower. They should also wash their hair and change clothes.
Take vacations in places where pollen is not as common, such as near the ocean.
Your child’s healthcare provider will also have other suggestions.
Recommended Reading: Is Lactose Intolerance An Allergy
How Do Dust Mites Trigger Allergy Symptoms
Your immune system works to protect your body from diseases, viruses and infections. But for people with allergies, their immune system mistakes harmless substances such as the proteins in the waste and decaying bodies of dust mites as a dangerous intruder. An allergic reaction occurs when your body is exposed to a one of these triggering substances, known as an allergen, and your immune system overreacts.
In order to fight off the intruder, the immune system releases antibodies called Immunoglobulin E , which causes your cells to release histamine. Histamine can increase your mucus production and cause swelling and itching.
Can Dust Mite Allergies Be Treated With A Pill
Its a common misconception that dust can trigger allergies, when its actually the microscopic bugs that feed on it known as dust mites. These tiny bugs belong to the same family as ticks and spiders, and they can live in most climates and at most altitudes. They thrive most in warm environments around 70°F and 70% humidity. Whether you like it or not, dust mites are all around you, no matter how clean your home is.
Don’t Miss: How To Cure Seasonal Allergies
They’re A Big Time Commitment
Allergy shots are given in two phases. In the “build-up” phase, you’ll need a shot once or twice a week for about three to six months. After that, you’ll enter the “maintenance” phase and receive them less oftenabout once or twice a month, for several years, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology ,
Sticking to this schedule is important, for the shots’ effectiveness and to reduce your chances of having a bad reaction. “For some people it’s absolutely worth it, but some people just don’t have that time to spare,” Dr. Dziadzio said. And while the shots themselves only take a minute, you probably will have to wait those 30 minutes in your healthcare provider’s office after each one.
Allergy Shots For Children
As early as ages 3, kids can begin to develop seasonal allergies, leaving many parentswondering what is the best treatment? We also get asked often are allergy shots safe forchildren. Yes, they are, but this is something that needs to be discussed with your allergist.Children, like adults, sometimes develop a minor reaction near the site of the injectionimmediately after the allergy shot is given. Simply applying ice to the area and administering anantihistamine can reduce the swelling.
There are rare cases where children can have a more severe reaction, including hives, itchingacross the body, or difficulty breathing. These are less common but can occur. That is why itsbest to consult with your allergy specialist to determine if an allergy shot is appropriate for yourchild.
Don’t Miss: How Common Is Hazelnut Allergy
What Are The Side Effects Of Allergy Shots
The side effects of allergy shots are usually minimal. Most commonly, patients will feel slight itching or swelling at the site of the injection. Other people may experience more severe allergy symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, nasal congestion, and hives. While rare, a person can have a serious reaction, like anaphylaxis, typically within 30 minutes after the shot is given. Therefore, waiting at an allergy office is required after an allergy shot is given. It is important for trained allergy staff to monitor patients after their allergy shots to ensure no reaction occurs.
Which Allergies Can Be Treated Using Allergen
Allergen-specific immunotherapy can’t be used for every . Allergen extracts that have been approved for use in immunotherapy are available for
- grass pollen, grain pollen and weed pollen,
- tree pollen,
- dust mites, and
- wasp and bee venom.
It’s also possible to do immunotherapy with allergen extracts that haven’t been approved for example, if you’re allergic to cats or mold. But unlike with the approved allergen extracts, there’s no guarantee that unapproved ones will be effective enough.
Recommended Reading: Can Food Allergies Cause Flu Like Symptoms
A Side Story: My Experience With Allergy Shots
Ive had serious allergies since I was very young. When they tested me for the various things I was allergic to, they drew a grid with one square per allergen. Every single square became an inflamed, itchy bump. Well, theres one square that didnt react, I pointed out to the nurse hopefully.
Oh honey, she said. Thats the control.
I started taking shots in my early 20s, but for various reasons I stopped for a few years. I started up again in my mid through late 20s. Even with health insurance, at the time money was tight and the copay took a bite out of our finances.
I never had any kind of systemic reaction from my shots. To be honest, after months and months of never having a reaction, I stopped waiting around the doctors office after the shots were administered. Id often get an itchy bump for a day or so, but thats it. Its also worth noting that, while you need an allergist to test and set up the serum, you can have your regular general practitioner do the weekly or monthly shots. This was great for me since my GP was much closer than my allergist.
What Do Dust Mite Bites Look Like
While other bugs you encounter may bite, dust mites themselves dont actually bite your skin. However, an allergic reaction to these pesky creatures may induce skin rashes. These are often red and itchy in nature.
Allergic reactions to dust mites are common and typically caused by inhaling the mites skin and fecal matter materials.
If you have a dust mite allergy, you may experience symptoms year-round. You may also notice that your symptoms peak during the hot, humid summer months. Common signs of a dust mite allergy include:
- itchy throat
Depending on the severity of your dust mite allergies, this condition may also trigger asthma.
You may notice wheezing, coughing, and chest pain as a result. Your symptoms may be worse at night when youre lying down. The more you stay indoors, the more you may be prone to dust mite complications.
The best way to treat allergies is to get rid of the underlying culprit. Depending on the severity of your symptoms though, you may need immediate relief.
Talk to your doctor about the following treatment options for dust mite allergies:
Recommended Reading: What Allergy Medicine Can You Take When Pregnant
My Experience With Allergy Shots
During the first visit I was really nervous. The nurse explained that I might have a reaction to the shots, so during every appointment I would have to wait 15-20 minutes after receiving the shot to see if I had a reaction. With my 2-year-old daughter next to me, holding my hand , I braced for the nurse to inject me with the needle filled with substances I knew I was allergic to. I felt a slight pinch and then a little bit of burning and then it was all over in seconds. I read some childrens books to my daughter while we waited to be sent home. Luckily, I didnt have any reaction.
This became our weekly routine and then tapered off as the doctor had explained when I first began. After two years of treatments, I was tested again for allergies. I was no longer allergic to dust mites and dogs. I was still allergic to mold but the allergist said often that allergen does not respond well to the allergy shots. He told me that I could continue to receive the shots for mold for another three years, but that I still might be allergic.
Allergy shots only work if we are able to reach the doses we need to reach and if someone consistently gets their maintenance dose to allow for the body to change the way it reacts to the things you are allergic to, says Gupta.
After the two years of shots, I noticed my tissue supply hardly needed replenishing. I also didnt need to carry around a pack of tissues in my pocket anymore. So I decided not to continue getting the shots.
Are Allergy Shots Worth It
I finished getting my last allergy shots 10 years ago and Im so happy with my decision. I still take allergy medications, but my symptoms are mild. If you arent able to make the time commitment or afford allergy shots, there are other options. Talk to your healthcare provider about prescription-strength medication, or using allergy drops at home. You dont have to live with sniffling and sneezing forever.
Also Check: What Essential Oils Can Help With Allergies
Allergy Drops And Food Allergy Treatments
Allergy drops might also be effective for food allergies, but a lot less research has been done on it compared to oral immunotherapy .
OIT is another method used to desensitize you to an allergen. But its only used for allergies to food, especially peanuts. Its similar to allergy drops, but instead of the allergen being in a tablet thats put under your tongue, youre given tiny amounts of the food allergen to eat.
An article comparing OIT and allergy drops have found that OIT works better but has more side effects. Using both methods together may give a better result with fewer side effects. More studies are needed.
OIT is also not FDA approved. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, while we cant know if or when a standardized OIT product would be developed by anyone or approved by the FDA, the most likely would be for peanut allergy.
Allergy Shots Are Usually Very Safe
Allergy shots are well-tolerated by most people, and any side effects tend to be minor. Your doctor will discuss possible side effects to look out for during your visit. Shots are suitable for most patients over the age of five.
The most common side effects are typical of any injection, which include redness, swelling, or itching at the injection site.
If you experience trouble breathing, dizziness, or throat swelling after an injection, its important to let your allergy provider know immediately. These may be signs of anaphylaxis, which is a rare but serious side effect. Your doctor will ask you to wait in the clinic for half an hour after getting an injection to monitor you for signs of anaphylaxis.
You May Like: Why Are Seasonal Allergies So Bad This Year
Dust Mite Allergy And Management
The first-line management of dust mite allergy is always to manage the environment. Beyond cleaning , encasing any upholstery that cannot be washed will reduce the impact of dust mites, which like to burrow into soft cushions and mattresses. Zippered, allergen-resistant encasements for pillows, mattresses, and box springs can be purchased and are an effective measure in the fight against these microscopic mites. Over-the-counter allergy medications such as steroid nasal sprays and antihistamines can also be helpful.
For decades, when these measures have failed, we have used allergy shots, also called subcutaneous immunotherapy , to treat dust mite allergy. This is an effective but burdensome treatment, which involves weekly shots for approximately six to eight months, and then monthly shots for approximately three to five years. The shots must be given in a doctors office, where a physician is present, because of the risk of allergic reactions. This is an inconvenience during normal times, but even more so during the pandemic.
How To Make An Appointment With Our Allergy Specialists
To schedule an appointment call 801-581-2955 or submit an appointment request. A referral is not required to meet with our allergy specialists. However, you may want to verify your coverage with your insurance carrier first as some carriers do require a referral from a primary care provider to be seen by a specialist.
If you are transferring from another practice to U of U Health for allergy care, you will need to be evaluated by one of our providers before starting your allergy shot regimen at our clinic.
Also Check: Can You Outgrow A Shellfish Allergy
Whats The Difference Between A Dust Mite And A Bedbug
Bedbugs are larger than dust mites, and can be seen with the naked eye. Theyre sometimes confused with dust mites because they live in bedding, carpets, and curtains. And like dust mites, they can also cause allergic reactions.
The key difference though is that bedbugs literally bite humans and feed off of their blood. Dust mites can irritate your skin, but they dont bite you.