How Do Allergy Shots Help
Allergy shots help the body build immunity to specific allergens, so it’s not as bothered by them. Allergy shots also can help kids who have allergies and have fewer asthma flare-ups.
Allergy shots contain a tiny amount of a purified form of the allergen causing problems. Doctors increase the dose slowly over the first 36 months. This lets the immune system safely adjust and build immunity to the allergens. This is called the buildup phase.
The highest effective safe dose becomes a child’s monthly maintenance dose. Health care providers give this to the child for about 3 to 5 years. Most kids will need fewer shots over time.
Some kids’ allergy symptoms ease during the buildup phase. Others don’t feel better until they’re into the maintenance phase. After years of getting allergy shots, some may have lasting relief from symptoms.
How Does Dr Kumra Customize Your Injection
Allergy shots are a very precise science that involves a thorough test to determine to which specific substances you have an allergic reaction. Dr. Kumra applies suspected allergens one by one to sections of your skin and then measures your allergic response. He can then formulate an allergy shot to those specifications.
You receive these injections in two phases:
Which Allergies Can Allergy Shots Treat
Allergy shots cant treat all allergies, but they can help those with allergies to several different pollens including grasses, trees, and weeds. They are also beneficial for molds, house dust mites, cockroaches and pet dander.
If you have general insect allergies, including an allergy to yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, bees or fire ant, allergy shots could also be a good option.
If you struggle with seasonal allergies, talk to your doctor or allergist about immunotherapy injections.
How Long To I Have To Keep Getting My Allergy Shots
There are two phases to allergy shot therapy: a build-up phase and a maintenance phase.
- Build-up phase: In this phase you will start with a low dose injection and build to a higher dose of allergens over time. For typical immunotherapy this phase lasts from 6 to 10 months, depending on how often you get your shots and how well you tolerate them. The build-up phase for venom therapy generally lasts for 10 weeks.
- Maintenance phase: When you reach your effective therapeutic dose you will begin the maintenance phase. During this phase you receive your allergy shots less often, usually every 3 to 4 weeks. The maintenance phase typically lasts 3-5 years .
How Long Do They Take To Work
It varies from patient to patient. Some find relief from symptoms in just a few months during the build-up phase. Others require a full year of consistent treatment to see significant improvement.
You should talk to your doctor if youre concerned that your symptoms arent going away. Adjusting your shot schedule or slightly reformulating your medicine may help.
They Contain Allergens So Reactions Can Happen
Allergy shots work by exposing patients to tiny amounts of whatever it is they’re allergic to. The amount of allergen in each injection increases gradually over time so the body can build up a tolerance.
“It changes the person’s immune system from having a bad reaction to pretty much ignoring the allergen,” says Dr. Dziadzio. “For some people, it decreases their enough so they can come off medicine entirely, and for some it helps their medicines be more effective.”
But because are involved, reactions to the shots themselves are possible. These can range from swelling and itching at the injection site to sneezing and a runny nose, to, in rare cases, anaphylactic shock. That’s why it’s recommended that patients stay at their doctor’s office for 30 minutes after each shot so they can be monitored and treated for reactions if they do occur.
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, in worse-case scenarios, anaphylactic shock. And while allergy shots can help prevent all of those, they can also help with related conditions, as well.
If you have , getting your allergies under control may also help reduce flare-ups, improve your breathing, and reduce your need for medications. , an inflammatory skin condition, is often associated with environmental allergies.
Getting Your Allergy Shots
You will get your allergy shots at your provider’s office. They are usually given in the upper arm. The typical schedule is:
- For the first 3 to 6 months, you receive shots about 1 to 3 times a week.
- For the next 3 to 5 years, you receive the shots less often, about every 4 to 6 weeks.
Keep in mind that many visits are needed to get the full effects of this treatment. Your provider will assess your symptoms now and then to help decide when you can stop receiving the shots.
What Is Allergen Immunotherapy
immunotherapy is a treatment procedure for preventing/reducing reactions to specific allergens. Immunotherapy reduces the dependence on medications for symptom relief.
Some people tend to develop severe allergic reactions to common substances which normally do not provoke an immune reaction in most people. Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment and gradually makes a persons immune system more tolerant to the allergens.
Allergen immunotherapy is of two types:
- Subcutaneous: Injections given in the tissue beneath the skin, usually in the upper arm.
- Sublingual: Tablets which the patient keeps under the tongue for a couple of minutes before swallowing. Sublingual drops may also be also used, but are not approved by FDA.
Why Are Allergy Shots Used
An allergy is when the body’s immune system overreacts to a usually harmless substance. Things that cause allergic reactions are called allergens. Common allergens include dust mites, molds, pollen, pets with fur or feathers, stinging insects, and foods.
The body reacts to the allergen by releasing chemicals, one of which is . This release can cause symptoms such as wheezing, trouble breathing, coughing, a stuffy nose, and more. Some allergic reactions can be .
The best way to prevent or control allergy symptoms is to avoid allergens. Allergists look for causes of an allergic reaction with skin tests and blood tests. Based on the test results, they can recommend treatments, including medicines and ways to avoid allergens.
If these treatments don’t help, the allergist might recommend allergy shots.
What Kind Of Allergies Can Be Treated With Allergy Shots
Allergy shots work well for hay fever , eye allergies, bee-sting allergy and some drug allergies. In some people, allergy shots can improve asthma symptoms.
Usually people get allergy shots after they have tried other treatments that haven’t worked. Other treatments include avoiding the things that make you have allergy symptoms and taking medicine, like an antihistamine, to prevent and relieve your allergy symptoms.
What Matters Most To You
Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.
Reasons to choose allergy shots
Reasons not to choose allergy shots
I want to do whatever possible to relieve my symptoms even if I don’t know how long the shots will work.
I don’t want allergy shots if I can’t be sure how long they will work.
When Allergy Shots Don’t Work
The Tankersley Clinic: Allergy, Respiratory and Skin Care
Claritin, Clarinex, Zyrtec, Xyzal, Allegra, Nasonex, Flonase, Astelin and Singulair. All treat allergy symptoms, but none actually makes you less allergic. You stop the medicine, it soon stops working. Allergy shots are unique in that if taken at the right dose for 3-5 years, they can continue to provide beneficial immunologic effects after you stop taking them. In short, allergies shots offer a potential cure to your allergies with 80% of patients getting an 80% improvement.
Why else don’t allergy shots work? It’s important to split up some components into separate vials. For example, mold and allergens can destroy tree, grass and weed allergens in the same vial making them ineffective. If you are allergic to several things, but your allergy serum is all in just one vial, it is possible that some of its contents are being degraded. Molds should be in a vial all by themselves. There is enormous variability in how allergy shots are formulated, and how they are dosed. Many allergists continue to follow recommendations made 30 or 40 years ago.
We don’t want you to just run the race, we want you to win the race!
What Happens When Coming In For An Allergy Shot Without An Appointment
When a patient starts immunotherapy and chooses the traditional build-up schedule, they will receive notice when their vials are available at their shot room. We have 40+ offices throughout the region, and the office you choose to get allergy shots in does not have to be the same one where your appointment with your physician was if another is more convenient. After you receive notice, visit the office, check-in at the desk, and take a seat. Once your name is called, our staff will go over safety information during the first visit. At your first visit, you will also be given a scan card to let you sign in by scanning your card at the next visit. This barcode can also be stored on our patient app.
After the first visit, patients come in scan their card and take a seat so our shot room staff can get their vials ready.
Benefits Of Allergy Immunotherapy
When oral medication and/or avoidance of allergens fail to control a patients allergic reaction, allergy, shots also known as immunotherapy or allergy desensitization therapy, may be the solution. There are several benefits for patients who get allergy shots and they include:
- Some people dont tolerate oral medications well. These patients might do better with allergy shots so long as needles and injections do not bother the individual. Though shots are taken on a weekly schedule that becomes monthly, after three to five years the shots may be ended when the response is permanent.
- While the cost of allergy shots is more expensive than oral over-the-counter medication, in the long run, allergy shots are less expensive than oral medications as patients do not need shots forever.
- Allergy medications taken by mouth treat the symptoms of allergies, but, allergy shots treat the causes of allergic responses. When immunotherapy is successful, patients enjoy a complete cure as the shots treat the underlying causes of allergies rather than the symptoms.
Allergy Shots: Science Vs Tradition
Serving Memphis and the Mid-South
As recently as 20-30 years ago, allergy shots were very different. In 2003, clearly defined immunotherapy practice parameters were published by the American Academy and American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology. They were updated in 2007, and again in 2010. The Tankersley Clinic follows these guidelines as a part of our core values of integrity, service before self and excellence in all that we do.
Now, with cluster visits, we are able to make allergy shots work to block your symptoms within half the time as usual. More importantly, we are often able to stop your allergy shots after three to five years and have the immunologic benefit continue thereafter.
The bottom line is that we base our allergy shot contents on current scientific research. Those in the US who use placebo doses base their recipes on tradition; still practicing the same methods that were used 50 years ago. Study after study has shown that these obsolete techniques are no more effective than a placebo .
Did you quit taking allergy shots because they just didn’t work? Unlike nose sprays and pills, wouldn’t it be great to achieve the unique benefit that only allergen immunotherapy provides? Maybe it’s time to try allergy shots again. But this time, leave it to Dr. Tankersley at The Tankersley Clinic who uses doses that are based on science rather than tradition. We serve the allergy, respiratory and skin care of needs of those in Memphis and the Mid-South.
What Is Immunotherapy Is It The Same As Allergy Shots
Immunotherapy refers to treatment and management plans that train the immune system to act differently than it normally would. For example, treating your immune system not to react to allergens.
There are multiple types of immunotherapy used for allergies. Subcutaneous immunotherapy refers to immunotherapy that is done under the skin, via a shot. Subcutaneous immunotherapy, then, is another term for allergy shots. SCIT is a long-term treatment designed to reduce the severity of symptoms for allergy sufferers. For some, their allergies may even stop completely. This type of immunotherapy is considered the gold standard for allergy treatment.
What Are Alternative Routes To Allergy Shots
Although allergy shots are the most common form of immunotherapy in the U.S., some other methods of allergen-specific therapy have been investigated and proven effective in controlled studies.
- Nasal immunotherapy: Allergens are sprayed onto the nasal mucosa. This technique is not currently available or FDA-approved, though it appears to be effective. Clinical trials have revealed frequent local side effects.
- Sublingual Oral immunotherapy : Allergens are orally ingested. This technique has proven effective in some studies, and three products are FDA-approved. Oral immunotherapy offers some promise as a future treatment for food allergy as well.
They Can Take A Few Years To Really Work
Allergy shots aren’t a quick fix: While some people may start to feel better during the build-up phase of their treatment, most people won’t experience noticeable improvement until they’ve been in the maintenance phase for six to 18 months, says Dr. Dziadzio.
In fact, a 2017 British study found that it took three full years for allergy shots for hay fever to be more effective than placebo shots. The maintenance phase for most allergy shots is usually continued for three to five years. Some patients experience long-lasting relief after that, and some may need continued treatment.
Allergy Shots: Are They Worth It 5 Things You Need To Know
If you suffer from allergies, youre familiar with the constant congestion, sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and other hay fever symptoms that always spring up as springtime rolls around. Or maybe your symptoms plague you all year long because of ever-present pets, mold, and dust.
Perhaps youve tried oral decongestants, nasal sprays, and eye drops all with no long-term success. If thats the case for you, youre not alone. Allergies are the 6th most common cause of chronic illnesses in the US.
Fortunately, one of the most effective treatments is one of the simplest: an allergy shot. Weve asked Dr. Daniel Reichmuth, one of our expert immunologists, to share insight into the question, Are allergy shots worth it?
What Are The Allergic Diseases Treated With Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is a useful treatment option for people who are unable to avoid exposure to allergens. Allergen immunotherapy can be used to treat allergic conditions such as:
Immunotherapy may not be suitable for
- People with uncontrolled or severe
- People with or lung disease
- Children younger than five years of age
- women, though therapy may be continued if a person got pregnant while on immunotherapy
Why Do I Have Allergies
Allergies are a sign of an overactive immune system. If you have allergies, your body overreacts to substances that are safe for most people, such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
A severe form of reaction anaphylaxis may make it difficult to breathe or cause you to lose consciousness. Anaphylaxis is potentially deadly. If youre at risk for anaphylaxis, we prescribe an epinephrine pen that you carry with you wherever you go.
Youll Have To Stick To A Schedule
For treatment to be most effective, youll need to create an allergy shot plan that involves multiple doses over a period of time.
Exactly how many doses youll need and for how long will depend on your individual situation. Dr. Reichmuth, one of the expert immunologists at Florida Medical Clinic, says your doctor will work with you to create a schedule best suited for your symptoms.
Schedules are split into two phases: the build-up phase and the maintenance phase.
During the buildup phase, allergy injections are given more frequently, typically 1-2 times a week for 4-8 months. During maintenance phase, the injections become less frequent according to the plan you create with your immunologist.
Allergy Shots: Could They Help Your Allergies
Another name for allergy shots is allergen immunotherapy. It is a type of treatment that relieves symptoms for people who have chronic allergies. Allergy shots contain small amounts of the thing you are allergic to, called an allergen. The first shot you get has a low amount of the allergen. The dose increases with each shot. Over time, this process helps your body fight the allergen. Your immune system creates antibodies to block its effect. The result is your allergy symptoms become less severe.
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How Allergy Drugs Work
Much of the confusion regarding the loss of a drug effect stems from the misuse of the terms “immunity” and “resistance.”
Immunity is the body’s defense against a harmful substance. Resistance describes the process wherein a bacteria, virus, or other disease-causing agent changes and is able to overcome the effects of the drug. Neither of these processes applies to changes in how certain allergy medications work.
With an allergy, the immune system overreacts to an otherwise harmless substance and floods the body with a chemical known as . The main function of histamine is to trigger , the body’s natural response to injury. It does so by dilating blood vessels so that immune cells can get closer to the site of an injury or infection.
In the absence of injury or infection, histamine can trigger an array of adverse symptoms, including itching, rash, sneezing, runny nose, stomach ache, nausea, and vomiting. Allergy medications are used to counter these effects because they are able to block the inflammatory process.
In none of these instances does a substance mutate or the immune system alters its natural response. What happens instead is that the body develops a tolerance to the drug, particularly if overused.
Who Can Be Treated With Shots
Allergy shots are recommended for patients with allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis , and stinging insect allergy. They are not recommended for food allergies. Before a decision is made to begin allergy shots, the following issues must be considered:
- Length of allergy season and the severity of your symptoms
- Whether medications and/or changes to your environment can control your allergy symptoms
- Your desire to avoid long-term medication use
- Is allergy immunotherapy covered by your insurance. We recommend that you verify coverage of allergy immunotherapy with your insurance.
Build Up And Maintenance
Completing immunotherapy may mean you’ll have to go to the doctor’s office one or more times per week for several months. The treatment is broken up into two phases called the build-up phase and the maintenance phase. During the build-up phase, you are given increasing amounts of the allergen weekly for three to six months.
The second phase is called the maintenance phase. During the build-up phase, your doctor will determine the best dose of medication for you. This is your maintenance dose, which is what you’ll receive for the remaining allergy shots and what your doctor feels you respond to best. The good news is that during the maintenance phase, you will only need to get shots every 3-4 weeks. The maintenance phase lasts about three to five years.
How Long Does It Take Allergy Shots To Work
Allergy shots have been around for around 50 years and have extensive research to back up their effectiveness. Because immunotherapy teaches your body to have a more measured response to the culprit allergen, the length of time varies based on the severity of the allergey and the pliability of your immune system to learn how to better manage the allergen.
Most patients experience a significant reduction in allergic symptoms within 12 months of initiating therapy, and by three years, many patients no longer have any sensitivity to the substance. Continued high-level exposure to the allergen during treatment may impact the efficacy of the treatment. For example, if you’re getting immunotherapy because you’re allergic to cats and you live with a cat, it may take longer for the immunotherapy to work, if at all.
Twelve months may seem like a long time when you’re accustomed to taking pills that quickly mask symptoms, but the sooner you start immunotherapy, the sooner you can lose the pills and feel better every day. Book online today.
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How Is Allergen Immunotherapy Administered
An allergist or immunologist schedules the immunotherapy treatment for an patient. Before starting immunotherapy, the immunologist typically takes the following steps:
- Records a complete history of the patients allergic symptoms.
- Checks existing medical conditions and medications.
- Performs a skin prick test that places a small amount of an antigen in the skin to find substances to which the patient is allergic.
- Prepares a diluted solution of specific antigens that cause the patients allergic symptoms.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy is performed in two phases:
- Buildup phase: Once- or twice-weekly injections for six months to a year, starting with a low dose, gradually increasing until the patient is able to tolerate the maintenance dose. The maintenance dose is calibrated to roughly equal the levels of allergens present in the patients environment.
- Rush immunotherapy: The buildup phase may be speeded up by a higher dose increase every week for patients who can tolerate it. Though it reduces time required to reach maintenance dose, it also increases the risks of a severe allergic reaction.
- Maintenance phase: The maintenance dose of injections are usually given once every two or three weeks for three to five years, depending on the patients response to the therapy.
- The patient remains under observation for about 30 minutes after each shot to check for any severe allergic reactions.
Can Everyone Get Allergy Shots
No. If you have severe asthma or heart problems, allergy shots may not be good for you. You shouldn’t get allergy shots if you take a beta blocker for heart problems. Children younger than five years of age also shouldn’t get allergy shots.
Allergy shots shouldn’t be started when a woman is pregnant. But if a woman has been taking allergy shots for some time and becomes pregnant, she can continue taking her allergy shots. Talk to your doctor about taking allergy shots while you are pregnant.
Will My Allergies Be Cured
Allergies are not like a bacterial infection that is cured when bacteria are killed with antibiotics. Allergy symptoms are your immune systems response to otherwise harmless substances called allergens. Shots can help desensitize your immune system to these agents by inducing tolerance.
Some find their symptoms completely disappear and never return. Others may enjoy relief for several years before symptoms resurface. Your bodys response depends on your own immune system.
Are Allergy Shots Harmful
Usually allergy shots are very safe. But because allergy shots contain small amounts of the allergen you’re allergic to, you might have an allergic reaction to the shot itself. One kind of allergic reaction is swelling at the place where the shot is given.
People can also have severe, shock-like reactions to an allergy shot. This type of reaction is called anaphylaxis and is very serious. But this problem rarely happens. If you get your shots on schedule , you’re less likely to have this kind of reaction.
In case you have a bad reaction, your doctor will have you stay at the office for about 20 minutes every time you get your shot. That way, if you have a reaction to the shot, your doctor can give you something right away to stop it.