If you have some kind of allergy, you may already know that the best way to avoid it is to avoid your allergens. If the symptoms are severe, or you cannot avoid exposure to allergens, immunotherapy, or allergy shots, may work for you. It helps to prevent, or at least relieve the allergic reactions.
How often do you need allergy shots?
At first, you need to visit your doctor once or twice every week for several months. Your doctor will give you the shots in your upper arm. Each shot contains a tiny amount of your allergens. Your doctor will increase the doses gradually until you get to the maintenance dose. Then, you need a shot each couple of weeks for 4-5 months. After that, your doctor will gradually lengthen the time between two shots. Over a period of time, you will only need shots every month for 3-5 years. During that time, your allergy symptoms will be less severe and may even go away.
How to prepare for allergy shots?
It is advisable to avoid exercise or doing exhausting physical activities for a couple of hours before and after your appointment. Since exercise stimulates blood flow around the body and can make the allergens spread throughout your body. Although serious reactions are unlikely, it is best to be safe. You will also need to tell your doctor about any medicines you may be taking. Certain medications can interfere with the shots or increase the risk of side effects. Pregnant women should consult with their health care providers before taking or continue to take allergy shots.
What are the expectations?
Standard procedures require you to stay at the doctor’s office for at least half an hour to make sure you do not have side effects. You might experience symptoms such as itching, breathing difficulties, a runny nose, or a tight throat after you leave. In that cases, get back to your doctor or the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.
Can allergy shots treat all allergies?
Whether allergy shots work for you depends on your allergens and the severity of your symptoms. Basically, allergy shots can fix common allergens such as insect venom, pollens, dust mites, mold, and pet dander. It has not been clear if allergy shots actually work for food, drug, or latex allergies.
Allergy shots may be harmful to people with heart or lung disease, or who is taking certain medications. Therefore, tell your allergist about your medical history and any medicines you take. So they can decide if allergy shots are beneficial for you.
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