There are nearly 50 million people in South Carolina and throughout the country with environmental allergies. If you are one of them, now is the time to do something about it.
But what can you do? While medications are available to help alleviate your symptoms, they do nothing for the underlying cause of your allergies. Your Lexington allergist has the solution – allergy shots.
How Do Allergy Shots Work?
Allergy shots work by getting your body slowly used to what you are allergic to, with the hope that you will develop an immunity or tolerance to the allergen. The process takes place in two phases:
- the build-up phase
- the maintenance phase
The build-up phase involves a small amount of the allergen being injected into your upper arm once or twice a week for a few months. The dosage is gradually increased at each visit. The length of the build-up phase depends entirely on your body’s reaction.
Once you have reached the effective dose, which is the most you can handle without showing symptoms, the maintenance phase will begin. The number of shots required is reduced and unlike the build-up phase, the dosage is not increased at each visit. The maintenance phase involves an allergy shot once every month for three to five years.
Are There Any Risks with Allergy Shots?
As with most things in life, there is a downside. Allergy shots are at the end of the day shots. This means they must be administered in a clinic and they hurt as much as a standard vaccination.
Since allergy shots contain a substance you are allergic to, there are some risks involved. Swelling and redness usually develop at the site of injection but are quick to clear up. Sneezing, nasal congestion and hives may develop as well as more severe reactions such as wheezing or chest tightness. Anaphylaxis, the most serious reaction, rarely occurs.
In order to make this process safe, the shots are administered in a clinical setting. If any reaction does occur, it can be easily treated.
What Can You Expect from Allergy Shots?
Your allergy symptoms will not improve overnight; in fact, you will not see an improvement in your symptoms for at least a year. But they will continue to improve throughout the treatment process. The shots may even decrease your symptoms of other allergens and prevent new allergies from developing.
The choice is up to you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with your Lexington allergist, contact CENTA today.