What are allergy shots?
Allergy shots are a form of immunotherapy. Basically, the principle is to inject a small amount of what the patient is specifically allergic to in to their subcutaneous tissue. Allergy testing is used to determine what goes in the shot. Typically the shot is given once a week.
Who Can Benefit From Allergy Shots?
Both Adults and Children can benefit from allergy shots. Normally, patients that are significantly symptomatic from their allergies and not responding adequately to routine standard allergy therapy are excellent candidates for immunotherapy.
You and Dr. Slaughter should base your decision regarding immunotherapy on:
- How well medications and/or environmental controls are helping your allergy symptoms
- Time available for treatment
- Length of allergy season and severity of your symptoms
Please note that allergy shots are not used to treat food allergies. At this time, the best option for people with food allergies is to strictly avoid that food.
How Do Allergy Shots Work?
When you receive immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots, our staff member injects small doses of substances that you are allergic to (allergens) under your skin. This helps your body develop immunity or tolerance to the allergen. Rather than having the allergic reaction and all the typical allergy symptoms the patient’s antibodies actually block the allergic reaction.
You must first have skin testing to find out which allergens cause your symptoms. In our office, we are able to do skin testing without needles. A plastic multi-pressure device is dipped into the typical allergens and pressed on to the skin of the patient’s back. We will then evaluate after 15 minutes to determine what antigens should be included in the shot.
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How effective are allergy shots?
Allergy shots are very effective in most patients in reducing their allergy complaints and the need for medications. Compliance is a significant issue with shots as it may be difficult to make it to the doctor’s office weekly. For this reason, allergy drops may be more effective.
How long will it take to see results?
Typically patients will see improvement in their allergy symptoms within approximately one year on shots.
What happens if my allergy shots are not effective?
Typically, as long as the patient is compliant with therapy, it will be successful. Like all therapies, it is possible that the therapy will not be successful. Shots, unlike drops, can only treat what is positive on skin testing and allergy drops may be a better option for someone failing allergy shot therapy, as they can also treat items that the patient is significantly allergic to that do not show up on allergy skin testing (LAR). LAR is local allergic rhinitis meaning allergy isolated to the nasal and sinus membranes. In patients with LAR, allergy drops are typically used based upon the patient’s historical symptoms from exposures and seasons.
are allergy shots safe? Are there any risks?
Allergy shots are safe but there is a very small risk of anaphylaxis. For this reason, they administered in the doctor’s office.
Schedule A Consultation
If you would like more information on allergy shots, contact our Austin, TX office today! Call 512-601-0303 to schedule a consultation with ENT specialist Dr. Daniel Slaughter.