Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots) Specialist Q&A
Immunotherapy for allergies is an advanced method of allowing more freedom from allergens for patients who suffer from allergy symptoms. If you want to not have to worry about allergy season again, or the constant pills or eye drops, contact Allergy & Asthma Care Rockland today. For more information, call us or book an online appointment. We have convenient locations to serve you in Suffern, NY and Monroe, NY.
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Immunotherapy is a time-tested approach to allergy management that focuses on increasing the patient’s tolerance to the allergic substance until they are no longer experiencing symptoms. The approach is a long-term treatment that takes time to allow the body to build up resistance to the allergen. The goal of immunotherapy is to help minimize annoying symptoms and in turn, reduce or eliminate the need for medications.
Often, we will recommend immunotherapy with allergy injections as a way to lessen or even resolve symptoms of seasonal allergies which include ragweed, pollen or mold as well as indoor allergies which include animal dander, cockroach and dust mites. Immunotherapy is also available as a means of desensitizing against stinging insect allergies.
Immunotherapy is a form of vaccination, where each injection will contain a small amount of the culprit allergen. Once injected into the arm, the allergy shot will begin to stimulate the body to build up resistance to the offending allergen. It usually takes a minimum of 3 to 6 months of weekly injections to achieve maintenance dose, at which time the interval between shots will gradually be increased to every 4 weeks. Patients will typically remain on maintenance dosing for at least 3 to 5 years depending on the tolerance needs of each individual patient.
Immunotherapy will usually be provided once or twice per week during the buildup phase of injections. While some patients might start to experience a reduction in symptoms early on, it is more typical for at least 6-12 months to pass, before patients can truly notice benefit from the injections. It is not uncommon for patients to see continued improvement even after maintenance dosing has been achieved.
Many of our patients will begin to notice that their allergy symptoms are becoming much smoother and others even notice their allergies go away altogether. However, if your allergy symptoms do not improve over a minimum time of 1-2 years of the allergy shots, you will need to discuss this with our specialists, as we can offer other treatment options in this case.
Immunotherapy for allergies provides many benefits including:
1. Reducing the overall sensitivity to allergens
With allergies, the immune system begins to overact, treating many harmless substances as a threat. Many elements which can trigger reactions and sensitivities include:
– Dust mites
– Pet dander
– Insect venom
Immunotherapy for allergies can desensitize the patient’s triggers by introducing small but safe amounts of the substance to the body. Over time, the patient will begin to develop an immunity to decrease the allergy symptoms.
2. Works for a variety of different allergies
Immunotherapy for allergies is safe for young children, as well as adults, seniors, and individuals who may be experiencing severe allergy symptoms year-round. We often recommend immunotherapy for allergies for numerous allergic conditions, some of which include:
– Seasonal allergies
– Indoor allergies
– Insect stings
While immunotherapy has been known to be quite effective for allergies, it can also improve symptoms of asthma, as well as inflammatory skin conditions like eczema. Often time, the food-pollen allergy syndrome/Oral allergy syndrome – where various fresh fruits and vegetables which are cross –reactive with pollens- can provoke itching and swelling of the throat and mouth- can be successfully treated with allergy injections.
3. Allergies are now manageable
Immunotherapy provides immense relief for anyone dealing with allergies that are no longer responding to medication. Throughout immunotherapy treatment, our specialists will expose the patient to increased levels of allergens. The body will respond by making new antibodies to help fight the perceived “threat”. This will improve the function of the immune system to allow the body to continuously fight off allergens, and the allergy symptoms will begin to subside.
4. Reduce the need for medication long-term
Many patient are taking 3, 4 or even 5 medications for their allergic conditions. Over time, most of these medications can be reduced or even stopped. On average, we see an approximately 50-70% reduction in medication needs.
5. No longer need to worry about avoiding triggers
Finally, the reason why so many choose immunotherapy for allergies is that the immunity that is gained from the injections allows you to regain freedom from allergens.
Individuals who suffer from symptoms of allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, stinging insect allergy, atopic dermatitis and allergic asthma will frequently benefit from immunotherapy for allergies. If you are suffering from allergies, visit us.
We serve patients from Suffern NY, Monroe NY, New City NY, Spring Valley NY, Monsey NY, Airmont NY and Mahwah NJ.