You can avoid the things that trigger your allergies or take medications when they flare up, but wouldn’t it be great if you could stop your body from reacting to the allergen completely?
That’s the concept behind immunotherapy or allergy shots.
At Premier Primary Care in Union City, Tennessee, Dr. James Batey and our team understand the frustration and life-disrupting issues you deal with if you have food or environmental allergies, and we offer several treatments to help you manage your symptoms.
Here, we take a closer look at immunotherapy and how it helps your body adapt to and tolerate your allergens so you can live life without the hassle of allergies.
How allergy immunotherapy works
Think of allergy immunotherapy as a vaccine. The two therapies work under the same premise: exposure to small doses of the pathogen or allergen helps your body recognize it and build defenses against it.
Immunotherapy can be effective for many types of allergies, including:
- Dust mites
- Insect bites
- Pet dander
Some food allergies may respond well to immunotherapy, too, but it likely won’t cure you. It may, however, help you build up a tolerance for your allergen — peanuts, for example — in small quantities.
Depending on your allergen, Dr. Batey injects a solution that contains a trace amount of your allergen just under skin typically in your arm. For some allergies, oral drops may be available.
Phase one of your treatment typically requires two shots a week for 3-6 months, but you may need them for up to a year. If you have allergies to more than one thing, you can combine the shots to build up your tolerance for multiple allergens simultaneously.
Dr. Batey gradually increases the dose at regular intervals to increase your tolerance over time and monitors your health and symptoms closely to determine the correct doses and the effectiveness of the immunotherapy.
Once your body has reached its maximum tolerance level, Dr. Batey transitions you to the maintenance phase. During this time, you may be able to go 2-4 weeks between shots. This phase could last 3-5 years.
Does allergy immunotherapy work?
The success of allergy immunotherapy varies from person to person. If you’ve tried allergy shots in the past and they didn’t work for you, it may be because you didn’t get the proper dose, your doctor missed one or more of your allergens, or you’ve been exposed to high levels of your allergen.
That’s why it’s crucial to seek care from a physician who specializes in allergies, like Dr. Batey.
When administered correctly and under expert supervision, immunotherapy can drastically reduce your need for allergy medications or eliminate it. Some patients on immunotherapy experience reduced symptoms, and others see an end to their allergies. It may even prevent the onset of new allergies.
In children, immunotherapy can stop allergic rhinitis from progressing into asthma.
However, keep in mind that despite the well-documented effectiveness of immunotherapy, it’s possible to relapse in the future, in which case, Dr. Batey works with you to reinstate your immunotherapy and make any necessary adjustments.
Don’t suffer through chronic allergies — schedule an appointment at Premier Primary Care to find out if immunotherapy can relieve your symptoms for good. Call or click today.