Allergies can be treated many ways, but when nothing else works, allergy shots may be the best method for you. Allergies affect many people in the United States. Anything that causes an allergy is called an allergen. Allergens come in many shapes and forms. When they enter into the body, the immune system creates a response that leads to your systems. Allergies can make your life miserable. Most people use over-the-counter medication to treat the problem. When allergies are more severe, over-the-counter meds may not be enough. Allergy shots are administered in office and are much strong than regular medications. Over time, the shots suppress the immune system and minimizes the symptoms.
Allergies are a result of an immune response to allergens. The body can be allergic to almost anything. Most allergens come from food, medication, or the environment. Environmental factors include pollen, dust, mold, and ragweed. None of these things are harmful or dangerous to the body, but the body recognizes them as dangerous. The body creates an immune response to these allergens. The immune system attacks these allergens with IgE antibodies. When these antibodies attach themselves to the allergens, it produces a chemical called histamines. The histamines are the source of the symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms become hard to control.
The symptoms of allergies range from mild to severe. Mild symptoms may only cause sneezing, runny nose, and itching. Those symptoms a lot of times are related to environmental allergens. Food allergies can make your throat itch and cause diarrhea and vomiting. Some allergy symptoms are serious. They cause breathing problems and even heart palpitations. Allergies can mess up your body. Hives and acne affect the skin. If you have severe allergy symptoms, it may not be enough to take medications. Symptoms may only be controlled with allergy shots.
Allergy shots are a form of immunotherapy. Allery shots are not a cure for allergies but a great method of treatment. Allergy shots suppress the immunologic response and causes your body to adjust to allergens. Therapy helps the body see that allergens are not harmful, so it does not make such a strong response to them. As therapy continues, your symptoms become not as strong. Sometimes your symptoms only occur rarely. This is a great relief for you if you have been an allergy sufferer your whole life. Allergy shots are not a one-time thing; it is a regimen that you will have to stay on.
If you get one allergy shot, it works but only for a short time. Immunotherapy is like any other form of therapy. Let’s say you undergo physical therapy for a torn ACL. Going one time does not fix anything. It takes weekly sessions for months to help you build your ACL back up to the point it does not bother you anymore. This is the same way immunotherapy works. It is not a one-time thing. It takes multiple sessions for your immune system to adjust to these shots.
Allergy shots work similar to vaccines. With a vaccine, you have to put part of the virus in you for the immune system to respond. An allergy shot contains the allergen you are allergic to. It is in a small enough dose to create an immune response. The first shot will have a very small dose but as the shots continue, the dose increases more and more until you reach your maintenance dose. When you first start shots, you will get them often. The shots will be given every 2-4 weeks for the first five months. That is a lot of office visits. After that time, you will only come back for shots once a month. This process takes a lot of time, but it can be very helpful. This form of therapy may last a total of five years. The body responds to these shots, and soon enough may not even create any more symptoms.
It is important to know what to expect after your shots as well as what you should and should not do. If you are going to get shots, it is best to avoid physical activity that day. Physical activity will make the shots less effective. Sometimes other medication and vitamins will affect the effectiveness of allergy shots. It is very important for you to tell the doctor everything that you are taking just to verify that it won’t have an effect on the allergy shots. After a shot, you will be monitored just to make sure you do not have a severe reaction. You will develop allergy symptoms like a runny nose, sneezing, and possibly itching eyes. After a while, those symptoms go away.
Allergy shots or immunotherapy is a great way to help you deal with allergies. There is no cure for allergies, but being able to control them can change your life. If you have tried everything else and find that nothing is working, you should look into allergy shots. The process of using allergy shots takes a lot of time. You have to have patience, but they can work wonders in improving your allergy symptoms.
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