When you can’t get relief from your usual over-the-counter allergy medications, allergy shots may be the solution you need. Roula Daher, MD, at Allergy Associates Dearborn, administers customized allergy shots that significantly relieve your symptoms, sometimes eliminating the problem for the long run. To learn if you’re a good candidate for allergy shots, schedule an appointment online or call the office in Dearborn, Michigan.
Allergy shots are a type of immunotherapy, which means they target your immune system. Since allergies begin with an overactive immune system that treats a harmless substance such as pollen like it’s dangerous, immunotherapy is a highly effective way to treat your allergies.
Allergy shots contain a very small dose of your specific allergen. The dose is just enough to slightly trigger your immune system, but not enough to cause an allergic reaction. As you receive a series of allergy shots, each with a higher dose of allergen, your immune system builds up a tolerance to the allergen.
Once your immune system is desensitized, your symptoms are significantly diminished or your allergies disappear.
Allergy shots are available to treat allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic asthma, atopic dermatitis, stinging insect allergies, and eye allergies. In other words, allergy shots relieve symptoms caused by most allergens, including tree, grass, ragweed pollens, dust mites, mold, and pet dander. Immunotherapy is not yet available for food allergies.
The shots are safe for children and adults. In some cases, they may not be recommended for children under five who can’t tolerate the frequent injections.
Allergy shots are often a good option when allergy medications can’t control your symptoms or you want to reduce your ongoing use of allergy medications. Immunotherapy is also recommended for insect sting allergies since they can cause severe allergic reactions.
Your allergy shots follow a regular schedule that proceeds through two phases:
During the build-up phase, you receive allergy shots once or twice a week so that your immune system is constantly exposed to gradually increasing doses of allergen. This phase typically lasts 3-6 months until Dr. Daher determines that you’ve reached a maintenance dose.
During the maintenance phase, your dose levels off and you get shots less frequently. Most patients get a shot containing the same dose of allergen every 2-4 weeks. This phase continues until you have optimal relief from your allergy symptoms.
Each patient responds at a different rate, so it’s hard to predict how long you’ll be in the maintenance phase. In most cases, however, it continues for 3-5 years.
To learn more about allergy shots, call Allergy Associates Dearborn or book an appointment online.