Understanding Immunotherapy Or "Allergy Shots"

Understanding Immunotherapy Or "Allergy Shots" Immunotherapy , also called " allergy shots " is a treatment ...

Understanding,Immunotherapy Or,Allergy Shots
Understanding Immunotherapy Or "Allergy Shots"
Immunotherapy, also called "allergy shots" is a treatment given to increase your tolerance to substances that provoke allergy symptoms in you. Immunotherapy is used in people with severe allergies, allergies that do not improve with medications or allergic reaction more than 3 months out of the year. It cannot help with allergies to foods. Immunotherapy does not cure allergies but it does reduce your sensitivity to certain substances so that the immune system can focus on the real things it should be fighting, like viruses.

Allergy shots are given in the upper arm in gradually increasing doses over for a certain period of time to start you off and then after that to maintain the effects of the shot treatment. The allergy shots inject a little bit of what you are allergic to into the body each time to train your body not to react to this allergen anymore. If the initial shots are effective, you will continue to visit the clinic for allergy shots every 2 to 4 weeks for 2 to 5 years. You will be tested at regular intervals to see how your body reacts to those original allergens.

Your doctor will prep you for the immunotherapy but here are some general guidelines you should do:

  • Get a full night's rest the night before.
  • For two hours before and after your appointment, do not exercise or over-exert yourself (this increases blood flow to the tissues and will cause the allergens to spread faster throughout your body.
  • If told by your doctor, pre-treat with an antihistamine (this is usually done in rush immunotherapy treatments).
  • Tell your doctor about any and all medications you are taking.
  • Do not take any over the counter medications or prescriptions that belong to someone else or herbal supplements without first consulting with your doctor.

When you receive immunotherapy, you will need to remain in the doctor's office for about 30 minutes afterwards so that you can be monitored for severe reaction. Symptoms that you need to be on the lookout for would be shortness of breath, wheezing, itchy eyes, tight throat, tightness in the chest and similar feelings. These could be signs of a more serious reaction to the allergy shots and will require emergency medical treatment.

There are some other new approaches to immunotherapy besides traditional allergy shots. Rush immunotherapy is a rushed, build-up response to traditional shot treatments and there is also oral immunotherapy and intranasal immunotherapy. Your doctor can talk with you about whether or not you are eligible and which treatment options are best for your needs.

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