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Allergy Shots Chicago

The concept of allergen immunotherapy, or allergy shots, goes back at least a couple of millennia to the study of poisons and antidotes. Oneparticularly enterprisingking reportedly desensitized himself to a number of poisons by taking each substance in gradually increasing doses.

Allergy shots as we know them today did not come about until the early 20th century. While allergy shots have nothing to do with poisons, they do contain minuscule amounts of the allergens that your body views as invaders. Controlled exposure to allergens teaches your body to build immunity gradually to these invaders.

Traditional allergy shots

Most prescription and over-the-counter allergy medications only manage the annoying symptoms of allergies, such as sneezing and itching. Allergy shots, while not a cure in the strictest sense of the word, actually reduce the body's response to allergens. Immunotherapy can even help with allergies to stinging insects.

An allergist administers a shot that contains very small amounts of the offending substances. These amounts are increased very gradually to give the body time to adapt and build immunity. A typical course of active treatment may last anywhere from three months to one year. The maintenance phase, during which shot frequency is decreased, may last up to five years.

Rush immunotherapy

Rush immunotherapy is simply the administration of allergy shots on an accelerated schedule. This type of therapy may be suitable for you if:

  • You want to protect yourself from a life-threatening insect allergy as soon as possible.
  • You will be traveling soon.
  • You live far from the allergist's office.

All the allergy shots are administered within a few days or even a few hours. After the initial session, you must return about once a week for maintenance doses. After a few weeks, you should start to notice the benefits, and the maintenance visits will be tapered off.

What you should know about allergy shots

This approach to allergy treatment is safe and effective for a majority of patients. However, the injection site may become inflamed. In rare cases, anaphylaxis may occur. For these reasons, all patients are asked to remain in the office for about 30 minutes after the shot is administered. This way, a reaction can be addressed immediately by a medical professional.

In addition, allergy shots may not be appropriate for very young children or people with certain medical conditions. The immunologist can tell you if this therapy is right for you or your child.

As mentioned, the treatment takes time to become fully effective. It could be a year or more before you notice a significant difference in your symptoms. As the patient, you must be committed to your program and get all of your shots as directed.

Still, the benefits of allergy shots are great. If you are tired of the pills, nasal sprays, eye drops, and air filters, not to mention avoiding certain aspects of life, talk to your doctor about the possibility of allergen immunotherapy.