What Are The Downsides
The most obvious drawback for allergy shots is the time commitment. You must stick to a weekly schedule of allergist visits for months, and it could be years of monthly follow-ups before you see significant improvement.
That said, symptoms generally start to improve within the first year of treatment and often continue to get better during the second year. By the third to fifth year, most people are free of allergy symptoms and may be able to stop getting shots.
Aside from time, thereâs the potential for a reaction to the treatment, since it has small amounts of the things youâre allergic to. For instance, you may have redness or swelling around the injection site if you get a shot, or you may have other symptoms.
âSometimes, patients report an increase in nose or eye symptoms, such as stuffy nose, runny nose, or itchy eyes,â says allergy immunologist Kathleen Dass, MD, of the Michigan Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center. While itâs rare, itâs also possible to have anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction involving hives, swelling, trouble breathing, dizziness, and/or loss of consciousness. Thatâs why you need to get the treatment in your allergistâs office and wait there for a while after each shot, Dass says.
Also, allergy shots can be expensive. While theyâre generally covered by insurance, if you have a high-deductible health plan, you may have to pay out of pocket until you hit your deductible each year.
All That Said Are Allergy Shots Worth A Shot
Allergy shots can relieve allergy symptoms. Many people who get allergy shots are able to stop using their allergy medication completely because they no longer have symptoms. Other people report significant improvement in their symptoms and are able to use less medication. This relief can last for several years, but relapses may happen. In these cases, it is possible to restart allergy shots.
Which Type Of Allergy Medication Is Right For You
Dr. Menachof, MD, has specialized in conditions around the head, throat, ear, nose, neck and face for over 20 years, and was the first to bring sublingual allergy drops to Colorado in 2005. He has been recognized as a Fellow by multiple academies, named one of Americas Top Facial Plastic Surgeons continually since 2003 and is featured in multiple national publications.
There are many different ways to treat allergies, and some treatments work better than others depending on your symptoms and lifestyle. Each person reacts differently to allergensthe irritants that trigger histamine reactions and cause symptoms like stuffy nose and itching. The same is true for allergy medications as well.
It may take some trials with different medications, or a combination of several, to find the ideal relief from all of your allergy symptoms. Allergy treatment options include antihistamines, decongestants, combination drugs, corticosteroids, and other medications. Immunotherapy is also a long-term approach to allergy treatment, which gradually increases your tolerance to allergens through allergy shots or allergy drops.
Below we explain the differences between several types of allergy medicine, how they work, and which allergy symptoms they alleviate most effectively.
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Blocking Allergy Symptoms: How Pretreatment Works
Tackle allergies before they start, and you could be breathing a lot easier.
For lots of people, allergy treatment is reactive. You get stuffed up, your eyes water, and then you go to the medicine cabinet for relief. But many doctors say that weÃ¢ve got it the wrong way around. Instead, we should be taking the medicine before we have symptoms. Call it allergy pretreatment.
Ã¢We always tell people to start taking medicine before the allergy season begins,Ã¢ says Jonathan A. Bernstein MD, an allergist and professor of clinical medicine at the University of Cincinnati. Ã¢People often come to me in the middle of the allergy season, and theyÃ¢re already a mess. Once the symptoms start, they can be like a runaway train.Ã¢
By waiting, you could be risking more than mild discomfort. Once allergy symptoms start, you might need more heavy-duty medicine to get them under control. In some people, allergy symptoms quickly turn into allergic sinusitis and more serious problems. That requires even more intensive treatment.
So the key to getting through the allergy season is to have a good defense. By arming yourself with medicine before the trees unleash their pollen â or before you go visit your sister and their five cats â you can save yourself a lot of suffering. How does allergy pretreatment work? Here are the answers.
Allergy Shots: How Long Before They Start Working
Allergen immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, is considered a long-term treatment that decreases symptoms for many people with allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma or stinging insect allergy. Allergy shots can also be effective for people with hay fever and other seasonal allergies, as well as for year-round indoor allergies like mold, dust mites, and animal dander.
Allergies are often treated symptomatically. This means managing and treating the symptoms rather than the cause. There are numerous medications that can inhibit the release of histamine and other allergy-inducing chemicals. They help alleviate symptoms like redness, itching, swelling, and difficulty of breathing.
However, none of these therapies address the cause of the allergy none of these therapies try to modify how the immune system reacts to allergens so that future attacks are prevented. Immunotherapy does exactly that. So, what is immunotherapy?
What is Immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy, also called allergy shots, is a series of vaccinations containing a specific allergen. The goal of immunotherapy is to condition the immune system to tolerate a specific stimulus or allergen so that symptoms and future occurrences are reduced.
When the immune system learns to handle the allergen, symptoms are less likely to show up. If symptoms do occur, they are not as serious and they do not stay for very long.
How is Immunotherapy Done?
How Long Does It Take Allergy Shots to Start Working?
The Allergy Store
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How Long Does It Take For The Allergy Shots To Start Working
It can take anywhere from three months to over a year for allergy shots to start working.
This is not a quick fix, Dr. Harbour said. Typically we tell clients that this is something we commit to for the long-haul.
Or they might recommend a dog-safe over-the-counter antihistamine which is usually best paired with an omega-3 supplement.
Getting The Most Out Of Treatment
We do have a number of patients who come to our clinic either actively receiving shots from another physician or having been on allergy shots in the past who remain symptomatic. Some have even been on shots for 20-30 years or longer! This is usually explained by the fact that the amount of allergen extract in the shot is insufficient or by the fact that their tests were incorrectly interpreted in the first place and they were never really allergic at all! Patients should ask their shot provider if the contents of their shots and the schedules by which they are administered meet current AAAAI/ACAAI guidelines. Also, patients should be aware of what is actually contained in their allergy shots. The use of generic mixes of allergens is very popular and can be potentially harmful if the patient is not allergic to each component of the mix.Shot providers should be able and willing to discuss the contents of the shot, the amounts of each allergen, the schedule by which the shots will be administered, and how this plan follows the guidelines for allergen immunotherapy.
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They’re Not Just For Seasonal Allergies
Allergy shots can be effective for people with hay fever and other seasonal allergies, but they can also work for year-round indoor allergieslike mold, dust mites, and animal danderand allergies to insect bites or stings.
“In the case of stinging insects, the shots can be close to curative,” says Dr. Dziadzio. “That’s the one time I really push people to get the shots no matter what, because it’s such a dangerous allergy.” Allergy shots may also be a good choice for people who don’t like taking medications or can’t avoid the thing they’re allergic tolike a pet or the great outdoors.
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.
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Best For Treating For Nasal And Sinus Congestion Or Pressure
Allergy medications that are decongestants can come in pill, liquid or nasal spray form. The most common form of decongestant are pills, which many people use to combat seasonal allergies especially. Nasal sprays and eye drops can both stop being effective or make symptoms worse if overused, so it is important to use them sporadically to treat symptoms.
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 histamine. This release can cause symptoms such as wheezing, trouble breathing, coughing, a stuffy nose, and more. Some allergic reactions can be serious.
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.
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How Long Does A Steroid Shot For Allergies Last
Long-lasting steroid shots for allergies can last between three weeks and three months. During this time, the steroid is slowly released into your body.
A long-lasting shot may mean that you only require one shot per allergy season. However, long-lasting shots come with risks. In particular, theres no way to remove the steroid from your body if you experience side effects.
There are few studies examining the effectiveness of steroid shots over time, as the risk of serious side effects increases with repeated use.
Are Allergy Shots Effective
Allergy shots work best for allergies caused by:
Unfortunately, allergy shots do not work for drug, latex, or food allergies.
Allergy shots do not cure allergies. After allergy shots, many people have fewer or no allergy symptoms. For many people, that relief can last for years. Unfortunately, some people do have early relapses of symptoms. Healthcare providers cannot predict who will relapse. But, in these cases, a person can restart allergy shots.
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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.
How Long Do I Need To Get Allergy Shots
To be most effective, you should continue to get allergy shots for 3-5 years. At that point, most patients will have developed an immunity to the allergen that allows them to be exposed to the allergen without having an allergic reaction.
Lakeside Allergy ENT is home to three board-certified otolaryngologists and allergy doctors who specialize in diagnosis and treatment of all ear, nose, and throat-related disorders, including allergies and allergy testing. If you or your child has any symptoms of allergies and you want to learn more about allergy testing, our office at or get started by requesting an appointment with our expert allergists using the form on this page.
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What If I Have More Questions
If youre still wondering, Are allergy shots worth it?, the immunologists at Florida Medical Clinic are here to help. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Daniel Reichmuth in Land OLakes, Wesley Chapel or Zephyrhills, FL, please .
Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to substitute professional medical advice. Always talk with your doctor before starting or stopping medications.
Skin Testing Identifies Allergens
Skin testing is the gold standard. Blood tests are also available, but reactions in the blood and the skin are not always the same. When investigating symptoms on the skin, we want to go directly to the skin to test reactions, explains Dr. Miller.
Dr. Miller wants owners to understand that skin testing does not diagnose allergies. Testing is done only in the context of pursuing immunotherapy treatment. In some circumstances, a dog can be allergic yet have normal or negative allergy test results. This does not mean the dog is not allergic. Rather, it means that allergy shots are not a treatment option for that patient.
After one year of shots, we start to wean the pet off the other allergy medication to see if any improvements have been made to the allergic signs. If there has been no change, we may stop giving shots and choose a different therapy. If the shots appear to be working, they may be continued for life, explains Dr. Miller.
The goal of immunotherapy is to control the allergies, not to cure them. With proper treatment and owner education, many dogs with allergies can have perfectly normal, happy lives.
If you have questions about allergies and immunotherapy, contact your veterinarian or the veterinary dermatology service at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
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Can I Take Allegra Or Claritin If I Am Pregnant Or Breastfeeding
Allegra is classified as pregnancy category C, which means that you should use it only if the potential benefits of taking the medication outweigh the potential risks to your baby. Be sure to discuss your options with your OB/GYN.
Claritin is classified as pregnancy category B, which means that the medication is generally safe to use during pregnancy if it is clearly needed. Other medicines in category B include prenatal vitamins and acetaminophen .
Claritin passes into breast milk, and you should not take it while you are breastfeeding. Researchers do not know if Allegra passes into breast milk. Given the lack of information, you should not use Allegra if you are nursing. Antihistamines, in general, tend to dry up breast milk. If you are breastfeeding, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about safe options to treat allergy symptoms.
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What Are Allergy Shots
Allergy shots are also called subcutaneous immunotherapy . Subcutaneous means the shot is given under your skin, unlike vaccine shots, which go in your muscle. Immunotherapy means that the allergy shots are actually training your immune system not to react to something. In this case, thats an allergen.
Allergy shots contain small amounts of an allergen. When a person gets an allergy shot, they are injected with the allergen they are allergic to. The goal is to teach the immune system to stop overreacting to that allergen. A trained healthcare provider will give these shots starting with a small dose of the allergen. Over a period of months, the dose will increase. Eventually, the immune system can tolerate a high allergen dose without having a serious reaction.
Allergy shots begin with a build-up phase. During this phase, you will get an allergy shot once every 1 to 3 weeks for several months. Then you will move to the maintenance phase where you get a shot every 4 to 6 weeks. This entire process can take 3 to 5 years.
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Not Fleas Or Food Try Environmental
And that leaves the final category, allergies to environmental stimuli, which afflict between 10 and 20 percent of dogs. In fact, an environmental allergywhich includes allergy to grasses, pollens, insects, and moreis diagnosed only after ruling out all other possible causes of the allergic signs.
In environmental allergies, the immune system overreacts to these allergens and causes a variety of signs, including itching, skin inflammation, skin infections, and ear infections, says Dr. Miller.
Unfortunately, we cannot treat environmental allergies by removing grass, trees, dust, mold spores, and so on from our pets environment. So, instead of changing the pets environment, we have to mediate the pets allergic reaction.
Immunotherapy, commonly known as allergy shots, is one of the oldest and still most effective treatment options for environmental allergies in dogs, says Dr. Miller. It is the only natural way to truly try to change the immune systems response to allergens, but it requires a long-term commitment on the part of the pet owner.