There is no end to the number of pills, drops, and sprays you’ll find lining the shelves of your local CVS in the section for allergy relief. Unfortunately, most over-the-counter medications are fairly limited. On the other hand, you’re not sure about allergy immunotherapy. Here’s what you need to know about this popular treatment.
How Effective is Allergy Immunotherapy?
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, allergy immunotherapy reduces symptoms in 85% of patients suffering from hay fever. Plus, three years of allergy shots will improve tolerance levels for two to three years following the end of the treatment.
The data on allergy immunotherapy shows us that shots reduce symptoms by 60-70% and reduce the need for medications by about 70%. Patients who suffer from allergic rhinitis also report better control over asthmatic symptoms and a lower chance of developing new allergies.
Does Allergy Immunotherapy Weaken Your Immune System?
The injection contains a small amount of your allergen; however, the amount is small enough that it won’t trigger an immune response. Gradually, your body begins to recognize and tolerate the foreign substance. Over time, the dosages will increase, and your immune system will adapt. In no way does allergy immunotherapy suppress or weaken your immune system.
You might experience a local reaction. For example, some patients notice swelling or irritation at the site of injection. An allergy shot might even cause mild allergic symptoms, such as coughing or sneezing. These reactions will be far less severe than the ones you typically experience though, and they’ll clear up fairly quickly.
Should I Ask for Allergy Immunotherapy?
Allergy immunotherapy requires 3-5 years of injections or tablets, and the effects usually wear off a few years following the end of the treatment. That being said, they can and do provide an enormous amount of relief for many people.
For many, suffering through allergy season every year armed with a box of Zyrtec is exhausting. While allergy immunotherapy is more of an intensive treatment, the investment is worth it for thousands of patients who want a more effective solution to their problems.