Allergy Immunotherapy Shots: Personalized Medicine
Allergies are a common problem that affects more than 50 million Americans every year. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe and can be triggered by a wide range of allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and certain foods. While there are many treatment options available for allergies, one of the most effective is allergy immunotherapy shots.
What are allergy immunotherapy shots?
Allergy immunotherapy shots, also known as subcutaneous allergy immunotherapy (SCIT), are a form of treatment that involves injecting small amounts of allergens into the body over a period of time. The goal of this treatment is to help the body build up a tolerance to these allergens, which can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of allergies long-term.
Allergy shots are typically administered by a healthcare professional in a clinical setting. The treatment usually involves a series of injections over a period of several months or years, depending on the number of positive allergens and the severity of each allergen.
How do allergy immunotherapy shots work?
Allergy shots work by exposing the body to small amounts of allergens over time. This exposure helps the body build up a tolerance to the allergens, which can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of allergies.
The process of allergy immunotherapy shots involves two phases: the build-up phase and the maintenance phase. During the build-up phase, the patient receives weekly injections of increasingly larger doses of the allergens. This phase typically lasts for several months and is designed to help the body build up a tolerance to the allergens.
Once the build-up phase is complete, the patient enters the maintenance phase. During this phase, the patient receives injections of the allergens at regular intervals, usually every two to four weeks. The goal of the maintenance phase is to help maintain the body’s tolerance to the specific allergens.
Who should consider allergy immunotherapy shots?
According to Mayo Clinic, allergy immunotherapy shots are recommended for people who have severe allergic reactions or symptoms that significantly affect their quality of life and cannot be controlled with medications or environmental changes. Allergy shots are often recommended for people who have allergies to things like pollen, molds, grass, trees, dust mites, pet dander, and stinging insects. Allergy shots may also be a good option for people who experience harmful side effects from allergy medications or whose allergy symptoms are a major disruption to their lives.
People who have severe allergies that cannot be controlled with medications or environmental changes may be good candidates for allergy immunotherapy shots. It is always best to consult with a healthcare provider to determine if allergy shots are the right treatment option for you.
What are the benefits of allergy immunotherapy shots?
There are several benefits to taking allergy immunotherapy shots, including:
1. Reduced allergy symptoms
One of the primary benefits of allergy shots is that they can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of allergies. This can include symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, post-nasal drip, itchy eyes, sinus infections, and chest congestion.
2. Long-term relief
Allergy immunotherapy shots can provide long-term relief from allergies. Unlike other allergy treatments, such as antihistamines and decongestants, which only provide temporary relief, allergy shots can provide real relief for several years.
3. Reduced need for medication
Another benefit of allergy immunotherapy shots is that they can reduce the need for over-the-counter and prescription medications. Many people with allergies rely on medication to manage their symptoms, but this only masks the problem temporarily. Allergy shots can reduce the need for medication or eliminate the need altogether.
4. Prevention of asthma
Allergy immunotherapy shots can also help prevent the development of asthma in people with allergies. Asthma is a common complication of allergies, but allergy shots can reduce the risk of developing asthma. This is especially important in children and young adults.
While allergy immunotherapy shots can be expensive, they are often more cost-effective in the long run than other allergy treatments. This is because they can provide long-term relief from allergies, reducing the need for medications and other treatments.
6. Personalized medicine
Unlike generic one-size-fits-all medications you purchase at your local store, allergy immunotherapy is personalized to your specific needs. After being tested for allergies and identifying the specific allergens that trigger your allergic reactions a customized treatment plan is designed that targets those allergens. This provides a more targeted, efficient, and effective relief treatment plan and is also safe for children.
Allergy immunotherapy shots are a highly effective treatment option for people with allergies. They work by helping the body build up a tolerance to allergens, which can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of allergies. The benefits of allergy shots include reduced allergy symptoms, long-term relief, reduced need for medication, prevention of asthma, and cost-effectiveness. If you suffer from allergies, talk to your healthcare provider about whether allergy immunotherapy shots are right for you.
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