If you live with allergies, you can get lasting relief from your symptoms by getting allergy shots. Allergy shots help stop the immune system from overreacting to allergens.
At Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center, with offices in Kingsport and Johnson City, Tennessee, and Abingdon, Virginia, we offer allergy shots. In this blog, our providers explain how allergy shots work and if they may be able to help you.
Why do allergies occur?
Your immune system is designed to identify and fight off illness-causing invaders, such as viruses. However, in the case of allergies, your body identifies certain substances — such as pollen or pet dander — as dangerous, though they aren’t.
Your immune system reacts to the substances — which are called allergens — and produces allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, watery eyes, and a runny nose.
What are allergy shots?
Allergy shots slowly teach your immune system that it doesn't need to react to certain allergens. Allergy shots are effective for a number of allergens, and treatment is simple.
Types of allergens
Allergy shots have been proven to be effective for the following allergens:
- Pet dander
- Insect stings
- Dust mites
Unfortunately, allergy shots have not yet been developed to combat allergic reactions to food, latex, or medication. Still, though, if you suffer from environmental or stinging insect allergies, allergy shots can be a game-changer.
How allergy shots work
With an allergy shot, your provider uses a small needle to inject a very small amount of the targeted allergen into your body. You get 1-3 shots per week for 3-6 months, each with a slightly larger amount of the allergen. This triggers your body’s immune response each time, but there isn’t enough of the allergen to create an allergic reaction.
Over time, the consecutive doses should desensitize your body to the allergen. By the end of the initial round of treatment, your body should have had enough exposure to the allergen that your immune system shouldn’t overreact when you encounter it in your daily life.
Some people get complete relief from their allergy symptoms with allergy shots, while others see a significant decline in symptoms but may still feel their allergies slightly. Generally, though, allergy shots should bring a notable improvement in your quality of life, because they should eliminate or greatly reduce your symptoms.
To maintain the benefits of treatment, the providers at Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center recommend that you get monthly maintenance shots for 3-5 years.
If you suffer from allergies, allergy shots may be able to give you lasting relief. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center today.