Immunotherapy or Allergy Shots are a preventive treatment for allergic reactions to substances such as pollens, pets, house dust mites, and bee venom. Immunotherapy involves giving gradually increasing doses of the substances, or allergens, to which the person is allergic to. The gradual increase in the amount of allergen will cause the immune system to become less allergic due to production of a “blocking” protein, which reduces the symptoms of allergy when the substance is encountered in the future. It can help reduce the symptoms of allergies and asthma. It can also prevent life threatening allergic reactions in people who have allergies to bees and wasps. The benefit received from this treatment will last for years after the treatment course has been completed.
Before starting treatment, the physician and patient identify trigger factors for allergic symptoms. Skin or sometimes blood tests are performed to confirm the specific allergens and triggers. Allergy vials are then customized according to what a patient is allergic towards.
There is no medication in allergen immunotherapy, so immediate relief will not be seen. Most patients note an improvement in allergic symptoms within one year of starting treatment. 80% of patients see an improvement in their symptoms with immunotherapy and a reduction in medication. This is a great therapy for those that are allergic to bees and wasps to prevent death if stung. It is also a great treatment for those with environmental allergies or hay fever that require multiple medications to control symptoms or if symptoms are impacting quality of life.