If you suffer from allergies, you know how much of a damper they put on your life when your symptoms just won’t stop.
For many people, simply taking an allergy pill every day is enough to control their body’s reactions to the allergen. But for others, medicine and avoidance aren’t enough — they need a stronger treatment. That’s where allergy shots come in. Also known as immunotherapy, allergy shots help you build up an immunity to the allergen causing your allergic reaction.
Here’s what you need to know about these shots, straight from Dr. Sherwin Hariri and our team at Beverly Hills Allergy in Beverly Hills and Glendale, California.
What are allergy shots?
Immunotherapy works by exposing your body to tiny, diluted amounts of whatever it is you’re allergic to. You start with just enough of the allergen to activate your body’s immune response, but not enough to trigger a severe allergic reaction.
Over time, the amount of allergen in each shot gradually increases, which enables your body to build immunity to the substance. Eventually, your body will no longer produce an allergic reaction to the allergen, or your reaction will be much diminished.
Not only does this work for itchy eyes and a stuffy or runny nose, but allergy shots may also help reduce asthma flare-ups, improve your breathing, and decrease your need for certain medications.
Shots can improve seasonal allergies and allergies to insect bites or stings, as well as indoor allergies related to mold, dust mites, or dander.
What can I expect?
You’ll usually receive injections in your upper arm once or twice a week as you build up a tolerance to your target allergen. This frequency continues for 3-6 months before you move to maintenance shots once or twice a month.
Most patients notice an improvement in symptoms over the first year, and then a more significant improvement in the second year. After that, your shot frequency depends on your individual case. Some continue to require monthly shots for several years, while others may not need them.
The shots themselves don’t take long, but we usually have you wait at our office for 30 minutes after each shot in case a severe allergic reaction occurs.
Shots work well for most adults and kids. If you have severe asthma, your doctor may recommend waiting until your asthma is under control before trying shots. You also shouldn’t start allergy shots while you’re pregnant or if you have a heart condition.
If you’re ready to give immunotherapy a try, contact our team at either Beverly Hills Allergy location to set up an appointment and get some relief soon! You can also schedule your appointment by using our online scheduler anytime.