If you suffer from seasonal or environmental allergies, then you probably know the difficulty of managing your symptoms. From itchy eyes and a runny nose to sneezing, coughing, and congestion, allergies can cause discomfort and interfere with daily life. While home remedies and over-the-counter medications may help alleviate some of the symptoms, they do not get to the root cause of your allergies. However, allergy shots may.
With nearly one-third of all US adults having an allergy or eczema, it is important to know the options for reducing or eliminating allergy symptoms. One such option is immunotherapy, a form of treatment also known as allergy shots. However, before determining if you are a candidate for immunotherapy, it is best to develop a clear understanding of your allergy triggers, the diagnostic process, and the benefits associated with allergy shots.
Types of Allergy Testing
To determine if you have allergies, an allergist will recommend one or more allergy tests. There are several types of tests available, and each type is suitable for different situations. The most common types of allergy tests are blood tests, skin tests, and elimination diets.
When an allergen enters the body, the immune system produces antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE) to fight against it. Allergy blood tests measure the levels of specific IgE antibodies in the blood in response to particular allergens. If a person’s blood contains high levels of IgE antibodies specific to a particular allergen, it suggests they are allergic to that substance.
A skin test is a common and efficient way to test for allergies. First, a small amount of concentrated allergen is introduced to the skin, typically by making a shallow scratch or puncture on the forearm or back. At the start of this test, a liquid containing the allergen is applied to a designated area of the skin using a specialized needle that gently punctures the surface to allow the allergen to enter. If a person is allergic to the substance, the skin will become red, itchy, and swollen typically within 15-20 minutes.
How Allergy Shots Work
Once you have identified your allergy triggers and have developed an appropriate treatment plan, you may be a candidate for immunotherapy. Allergy shots are a form of immunotherapy designed to reduce or eliminate allergy symptoms. This treatment works by introducing small amounts of the allergen into your body over time to help build immunity and desensitize you to it.
Your allergist will work with you to determine the most effective dose of allergens and how long the course of allergy shots should last. You will be monitored throughout the treatment plan and may slowly increase your exposure to the allergen over time as your body gets used to it. There are several benefits of allergy shots, including:
- Reducing symptoms of allergies
- Increasing tolerance to the allergen
- Long-term protection from allergy symptoms
- Minimizing the need for oral medications and other treatments
- Improved quality of life
Are You a Candidate for Immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is an effective treatment option for many people with allergies. However, not everyone is a suitable candidate for this type of treatment. To determine if immunotherapy is appropriate for you, your allergist will consider a variety of factors, such as:
- Type of allergies
- Frequency and severity of symptoms
- Health status
- Lifestyle factors
Find Relief with Immunotherapy at Northeast Allergy
Are you tired of letting your allergies hold you back from enjoying the activities you love? Northeast Allergy can help you find long-term relief from your allergy symptoms with immunotherapy. Our experienced providers will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your unique needs.
Our team of experts will provide you with the highest level of care, utilizing the latest technologies and treatments to ensure you receive the best possible results. Book an appointment with Northeast Allergy today and take the first step towards finding relief from your allergies.