People that suffer from allergies basically have three choices:
- Avoid what they are allergic to.
- Take medication (antihistamines).
- Use immunotherapy (allergy shots).
Avoidance may work for some people that are only allergic to one thing that is easy to stay away from, but if you’re allergic to something like pollen or dust, forget it. Medications usually have unwanted side-effects (drowsiness). Immunotherapy may be perfect for you.
Who should use immunotherapy?
Allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots) has been used for over 100 years by people
that cannot avoid their allergens or for those individuals that do not get adequate relief
from medications. Immunotherapy is different from medications because it actually
changes the way the body reacts to allergens. Providers use immunotherapy control or even eliminate allergic symptoms for their patient.
How does it work?
Immunotherapy uses extracts of natural allergens, such as pollen, mold spores, dust mites, and animal dander, that cause allergic reactions in sensitive people. Allergen extracts are made up of tiny amounts of these allergens collected from their source in nature and dissolved in sterile liquid solutions for use by your doctor in the form of an injection.
Allergen injections strengthen your immune system and increase your tolerance to unavoidable allergens. Once your doctor has identified your specific allergen(s), you start the initial build-up phase by receiving a low level of exposure to those allergens injected into the skin. Over time, the amount of allergen exposure is gradually increased so that your body gets used to it and does not react with allergy symptoms. In this way, your body can become desensitized to the allergens that once caused problems for you.Then, you continue to receive the effective allergen dose during the maintenance phase of therapy.
Is this safe?
Allergy immunotherapy has been around for so long, the safety profile of this
therapy is well known. This therapy can be used to treat children and adults, and even
pregnant women. Minor reactions, such as a redness or itching at the injection site,
may occur following a treatment. Reactions can be managed by
the doctor who administers the treatment. These kinds of reactions do not interfere
with treatment in the majority (96%) of patients. In rare cases, more severe,
reactions may occur. For this reason, allergy immunotherapy is always given under
close medical supervision.
What results can I expect?
Medical studies have shown that up to 85% of people treated with immunotherapy for
hay fever may achieve symptom relief within the first year of starting immunotherapy. Many people benefit from being able to reduce the use of allergy medications and
an improved quality of life.
Does insurance cover this?
Most insurances do cover allergy testing and treatment. Our insurance specialists will contact your insurance provider to verify coverage.