A growing number of people who suffer from allergies and not finding the relief that they want from antihistamines are turning towards allergy shots to hopefully put an end to their dreaded sneezing, wheezing, itching and misery.
So exactly what are allergy shots? Allergy shots actually contain a very small amount of whatever it is that you’re allergic to. If you have multiple allergies, such as a combination of indoor and outdoor allergies, then two shots are actually given. One for the outdoor allergies and one for the indoor allergies.
How do allergy shots work? Well, in theory it’s actually very simple. Allergy shots help your body fight the allergen that is bothering you. When you get shots of the allergen itself your body makes antibodies to the allergen. These antibodies help block the effects of the allergen itself. Your symptoms become less severe because the antibodies block the way your body reacts to the allergens. After taking enough of these shots over a long period of time you might start to get relief from your symptoms. This relief should last for a very long time.
Many kinds of allergies can be battled with allergy shots. They work very well with allergies to pollen, or what is commonly called hay fever. They also work for eye allergies, bee sting allergies, and even some drug allergies. In many people, allergy shots can greatly improve asthma symptoms. Most people will get allergy shots after they have exhausted every other option.
Unfortunately, not everyone can get allergy shots. If you have severe asthma or a heart problem you should not get allergy shots. Also, if you take a beta blocker for a heart condition you shouldn’t take allergy shots. Children under five years of age should also not get allergy shots. Also, you shouldn’t start allergy shots if you are pregnant.
If you decide, along with your doctor, to get allergy shots, he will first have to give you an allergy test to determine what allergies you have. This test in effect is actual treatment as some of each allergen has to be injected into you in order to do the test. After the results are in, a vaccine can be made which can then be given on a weekly or biweekly basis or for whatever interval the doctor thinks is necessary.
Once you start taking your shots you will at first have to take them every week or every other week. After about 6 months most people can go on what is called maintenance and get shots once each month. This usually continues for about 3 to 5 years until eventually most people no longer need to take shots because their immunity has been built up enough to the allergens.
Allergy shots are normally not harmful but some people do have reactions to them. If you should have a severe reaction the doctor will usually keep you in his office for about 20 minutes each time you get your shot so that if you have a reaction he can give you something to counteract it.