When you or your child has an allergy, it’s important to get the facts on all of your treatment options, such as immunotherapy in the form of allergy injections. Allergies are common, affecting more than 50 million Americans each year. Sometimes allergies go undiagnosed, mistaken for a cold or something else.
Our team at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut wants patients to know more about what allergy shots entail so you can make an informed decision about your care. In this post, we discuss immunotherapy with allergy injections and help you separate fact from fiction.
What are allergy shots?
Allergies are an overreaction by the immune system to a perceived threat. For years, oral antihistamine medications were the only treatment for allergies. Today, various treatments are available for allergies, including steroid nasal sprays, sublingual immunotherapy, and immunotherapy injections.
Allergy shots gradually retrain your immune system by injecting small doses of an allergy-containing solution. Over time, your sensitivity to the allergen decreases until your immune system is successfully desensitized to the allergen.
Immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots is effective, but you may feel hesitant due to prevailing myths surrounding this treatment. Here are the most common misconceptions and the facts you should know.
Myth: Allergy shots are only for severe allergies
First let’s debunk who allergy shots are for. It’s a common myth that immunotherapy is only available to patients with severe allergies. Allergy shots are used to treat respiratory (inhaled) allergies to things such as pollen, grass, and trees as well as insect allergies. You don’t need to have severe respiratory allergies to be a good candidate for allergy shots.
Myth: Allergy shots don’t really work
Allergy shots are an effective and unique method of treating allergies. Immunotherapy changes the way your body responds to the environment so symptoms like sneezing and watery eyes decrease. Your allergy shot is formulated using a very small amount of all-natural protein extracts that, when given correctly, provides significant relief for most patients.
Myth: People with asthma shouldn’t get allergy shots
Many people with asthma assume they aren’t candidates for allergy shots, when in fact, allergy shots are an excellent treatment for people who have both allergies and asthma. It’s also an effective treatment for patients with allergic asthma.
Myth: Allergy shots are too time-consuming
While allergy shots do require most patients to come in for their shot every week for the first six months, treatment then becomes monthly for about three years. The procedure is straightforward and provides a long-term solution. Immunotherapy is the only treatment that retrains the immune system to cure your allergy.
Adults and children who choose allergy shots reap the benefits with an improved quality of life and reduced health care costs.
Myth: Allergy shots are painful and have serious side effects
Allergy shots are safe and effective. The large majority of patients treated with allergy shots don’t have severe reactions. We take special care when determining the starting dosage and monitor you closely for potential reactions.
Some individuals develop mild reactions, such as redness or swelling at the injection site. Other mild side effects include sneezing and nasal congestion. Severe reactions seldom occur, and when they do, our health care team is prepared to spring into action.
Get help for your allergies
Trust the Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut to find an effective treatment to help you get the relief you need. To learn more about allergy shots and discuss getting treatment for your allergies, contact us by phone or online to book an appointment with our allergy and immunology specialist, Reinhard Kage, MD.