Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots)

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Immunotherapy (allergy shots) is a treatment of allergy to airborne allergens. An allergy shot involves administering increasing doses of allergens which cause the immune system to become less sensitive to the allergens. Allergy shots are effective for allergies to grass, weeds, tree pollens, mold, dust mite and animal dander. The whole idea of treating you with the very things that make you miserable may seem a bit odd, but in many cases, it works. In other words, allergy shots seem to build a resistance to the things that cause your symptoms, so the next time you run into them, they give you less trouble.

While allergy shots are not a cure, symptoms may be minimized through a long-term commitment by the patient. Medications should be continued in conjunction with allergy shots and improvement may be seen as early as 6 months. Factors that determine the need for allergy injections include: patient history, skin test reaction, failure of medications, and significance of the allergen to the geographical area. Allergy shots are 80-85% beneficial and require regular attendance for effective response.

If immunotherapy helps you, most patients continue it for several years. In some cases if your symptoms return after allergy shots are stopped, it may make sense for you to start getting them again. Fortunately, most people don’t need to continue getting their shots indefinitely.

If immunotherapy is successful, you will probably have fewer (and less severe) reactions to the substances that cause your allergies to flare up. You may also find you need less medicine than before to control your allergies.

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