A saying goes, “for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction”. Allergies are our body’s reaction to our immune system’s hypersensitivity to harmless substances perceived as harmful.
Pet fur, flowers, dust, food, dander, and other allergens could cause a serious allergic reaction. Not everybody has allergies, but once you notice you do and you’ve ascertained the allergen, you should take appropriate measures for treatment.
The hypersensitivity may cause serious symptoms like rashes, swelling, sneezing, shock, and even asthmatic symptoms. Allergy shots, also called allergy immunotherapy, refer to a long-term allergy treatment that helps your body get used to allergens. They are not a cure, but they reduce your symptoms drastically and might even eliminate the allergic reaction.
What do I need to know before I take allergy shots?
You must take an allergy test to ascertain what allergen is causing your allergy. There are different ways to test for your allergy; run a test with a qualified healthcare provider to be sure it’s the right protocol for you and your health. There are skin tests, blood tests, or challenge tests.
Skin test: here, a small amount of the suspected allergen is applied by tapping the skin, scratching on the skin, or injected under the skin, and the area is observed for 15 minutes for a reaction.
Blood Test: here, a finger prick of blood is examined for antibodies to fight against the allergen.
Challenge test: here, to identify food allergies and sensitivities, certain foods known to cause symptoms are removed from your diet for a few weeks and reintroduced later so you will eat the food again, and then we test your body’s reaction.
What happens next?
Once you know the allergen, your experienced Allergist (a doctor that diagnoses and treats allergies) will help you create a serum to nullify your allergic reaction.
The serum is the injection treatment that will be administered for a long period, probably regularly, to help you build a tolerance or immunity to allergies. The treatment doesn’t take long and doesn’t hurt.
How should you prepare for your allergy shots, and what should you expect during the treatment?
First, set an appointment with the right healthcare provider, Kratz Allergy and Asthma, for your allergy treatment. Here, Dr. Jamie Kratz will talk to you about your symptoms and treatments filling you in with all the necessary information.
You will be advised to avoid strenuous exercises before and after your treatment. You will be asked about your symptoms and how you’ve been managing them, if it occurs regularly or whatnot. You will also be asked if you are taking medications or herbs currently; these precautions and advice are to protect you from the adverse effects of the reaction of the allergy shots and your medications. Exercises speed your heart rate, meaning once the allergy shots are injected into your bloodstream, they will work at an accelerated speed.
The shots contain just enough allergens to stimulate your immune system; the allergy shots have mild side effects, and exercises will increase the reaction rate. The allergy shots are meant for you to build the tolerance of your allergens and may even make your allergy go away.
How often will you require an allergy shot?
The allergy shots will be injected into your upper arm containing the allergen causing your allergy. The allergy shot is administered depending on the severity of your allergic reaction, and it involves different phases.
The Build-up phase
During the build-up phase, you will be under constant monitoring for adverse effects. The buildup phase is administered 2 to 4 times weekly for 3 to 6 months with a gradually increased dosage.
You might choose to speed up your allergy shots with rush immunotherapy; this is the daily administration of increasing doses of allergens in the allergy shots, this is a quick way to get results, but it puts you at risk of several allergic reactions. Your doctor will check on you closely during the treatment if you have a bad allergic reaction. To help prevent a response, you may be prescribed medications before the shots.
The Maintenance phase
Next is the maintenance phase, where your time for shots will be spaced, meaning you will now get a once-a-month dose for 3 to 5 years.
With this treatment, you will have tolerance for your allergic reaction, and if you haven’t, you’d need to consult your allergist for a new treatment plan.
What happens after taking the shots?
You will be required to rest for 30 minutes, and then you may be asked to go home.
At home, avoid anything that may trigger your allergic reaction; smoking, dirty environment, pets, and poor ventilation.
Stay indoors, close windows to avoid dust or insects from coming in, spray your rooms with insecticide, use air conditioners and air dehumidifiers, eat a healthy meal, avoid your allergens, wash your beddings, clothes, duvet, keep pets outside your rooms if you are allergic to pet fur, and clean dirty surfaces.
As mentioned earlier, allergy shots have mild side effects like swelling, soreness, redness, increased temperature, and itching on the arm where the allergy shot was injected should disappear within 4 to 8 hours.
When should I call my Allergist?
The effects may be mild or worse; sneezing, throat swelling, chest tightness, low blood pressure, shortness of breath, rashes, and hives; If you get these symptoms after you leave, call your allergist, go back to your doctor’s office, or to the nearest emergency room.
Do allergy shots work for everyone?
Allergy shots are for people with chronic allergies, it is not proven to work on food, drugs, and latex allergies, but it has greatly helped people with chronic allergies like bee stings, dust, dust mite, pollen, and pest dangers.
People who have used this treatment experienced drastic changes in their reactions to allergies. The symptoms are more tolerable as they go about their daily life without worry.
Take control of your health today, and find out why you are always sneezing when offered flowers, petting the cat, or have a rash after eating a certain food.
Allergies should never be taken lightly; they have mild to severe symptoms that can cause death. Book an appointment with Kratz Allergy & Asthma today.