Immunotherapy is the only treatment that addresses the root of your allergies. This form of treatment retrains your immune system so it’s less sensitive to allergens, providing long-term relief from allergy symptoms.
At Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, our allergy specialist, Reinhard Kage, MD, can help you find the best solution for your allergies. While immunotherapy with allergy shots requires a long-term commitment — typically three to five years — it’s very effective at treating allergies. Here’s how allergy shots can help you conquer allergies.
Allergy shots are a common form of immunotherapy used to treat allergic conditions that affect your nose, eyes, lungs, and ears. Immunotherapy is also approved to treat severe insect stings.
Allergy shots work well to desensitize your body to various allergies, including trees, grass, dust mites, pet dander, weeds, and mold.
You may want to consider immunotherapy if you:
Allergy shots can also treat allergic asthma. They can eventually improve your breathing and lessen the need for asthma medications. When eczema or atopic dermatitis is linked to other allergies, allergy shots can also help some patients with those conditions.
Allergy shots are available for both children and adults. They work similarly to vaccines. You receive a periodic injection of small, escalating amounts of the allergen that’s causing you problems. Over time, your body becomes less and less responsive to the allergen, building up a tolerance to it.
This desensitization takes some time, but the result is that the allergen no longer causes the immune system to release substances into the bloodstream that trigger bothersome symptoms.
Two stages are involved:
The buildup stage entails getting injections of the allergen in increasing doses once or twice a week. This phase lasts between three and six months, depending on how often you get the injections.
When you reach an effective dose, Dr. Kage transitions you to the maintenance stage. Your maintenance dose is based on your level of allergen sensitivity and how you responded to the buildup phase.
During the maintenance stage, there’s a longer interval between treatments. Instead of once- or twice-weekly injections, you’re likely to receive an injection every two to four weeks. Dr. Kage determines the appropriate interval.
During the buildup stage, you might notice a reduction in symptoms, but it may take up to 12 months on the maintenance dose before you start to feel better. Following successful immunotherapy, maintenance therapy is typically continued for up to five years. Dr. Kage follows you closely and lets you know when you can stop taking allergy shots.
Allergy shots can reduce the symptoms of several allergies. In children, it can stop the progression of allergic disease, such as allergic rhinitis and asthma as well as the emergence of new allergies. The duration of the treatment regimen and allergen dose appear to be related to how well allergy shots work.
It takes time for allergy symptoms to go away. They typically get better during the first year of treatment, but the second year is generally when the improvement is the most obvious. By the third year, many people experience a significant improvement in allergy symptoms.
While some people find long-lasting relief from their allergy symptoms after stopping their allergy shots, others might experience a relapse. In some cases, regular injections are needed to control symptoms. If you haven’t experienced improvement after a year of maintenance therapy, Dr. Kage collaborates with you to go over your treatment options.
Are you struggling with allergy symptoms that are causing you misery? We can help. Contact us to schedule a visit with Dr. Kage to discuss your symptoms and how we can help you get relief with allergy shots. Our office is located in Manchester, Connecticut. Call or book online today.