Allergies are one of the most common medical conditions in the U.S., and they are very much on the rise. In fact, according to a report by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, around 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, with approximately 8 million having severe allergies. As such, allergy shots have become more popular than ever before. Many of these people get allergy shots to help them deal with their symptoms. But what are the side effects of this type of treatment, and how can you minimize them? Read on to find out.
What Are Allergy Shots?
Allergy shots are injections given regularly for some time, usually three to five years, to prevent or minimize allergic reactions. Allergy shots treatment is also known as allergic immunotherapy and subcutaneous immunotherapy.
Each allergy shot contains a trace amount of the substance(s) that cause your allergic reactions. Each allergy shot contains just enough allergens to trigger your immune system without causing a severe allergic reaction.
Your doctor gradually increases the dose of allergens in each of your allergy shots. This aids in the desensitization of your body to allergens. Your immune system develops a tolerance to the allergens over time, resulting in a reduction of allergy symptoms.
How Do Allergy Shots Treatment Work?
The allergy shots treatment is administered in 2 phases:
Injections will usually be given once a week for the first seven months, although they can be more frequent in certain circumstances. People often experience a reduction in their allergy symptoms during this phase.
After the first seven months, one injection once two weeks is usually given. Gradually, injections can be administered once every four weeks, and the entire period of treatment will typically last for 3 to 5 years.
An allergy doctor will decide the dosage and duration gaps between the shots and when to discontinue allergy injections.
Both adults and children can receive allergy shots; however, they are generally not recommended for children under five. This restriction is due to the challenge of persuading young children to accept and report if they have adverse effects.
Suppose you are planning to go for an allergy shot. In that case, you should always ensure that you go to a reputable allergist utilizing suitable equipment in their clinic, including treatment for adverse responses.
What Are the Risks and Side Effects of Allergy Shots?
The majority of people have no problems with allergy shots. However, they include the allergens that cause your allergies, so reactions are probable.
Common side effects include reactions that appear like hives or mosquito bites at the injection site. The region can also swell to an enormous lump and develop redness.
This reaction is common and expected. It can happen instantly or even several hours after the shot.
The reaction can persist for several hours before fading is gone with no treatment. You can assist in minimizing swelling by administering ice to the injection site.
Some patients suffer moderate allergy symptoms, including sneezing, nasal congestion, and itchy skin following their injection. It is a reaction to the allergens being injected, and these symptoms can be alleviated by taking an antihistamine.
In rare situations, allergy injections may induce a severe reaction, including swelling, hives, and anaphylaxis. If you fall into anaphylactic shock, you may have dizziness and breathing difficulty.
This reaction can start within 30 minutes of getting an allergy injection. This is why your doctor will likely want you to stay at the clinic following the treatment so that they can monitor your reaction.
How Effective Are Allergy Shots?
Allergy shots are a highly effective approach to treating allergies. They can help prevent new allergy development and the progression of allergen rhinitis into asthma in children.
They can relieve allergic reactions that cause asthma attacks and are helpful in the treatment of allergic asthma. These benefits help improve breathing and reduce the need for asthma medication among persons.
According to one study conducted by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), pregnant women who receive allergy shots during pregnancy can reduce their baby’s risk of having allergies.
How To Prepare for Allergy Shots?
Before starting an allergy injection course, your doctor will perform a skin test or a blood test to determine whether your allergic symptoms are caused by an allergy and establish which allergens are causing them.
A skin test involves scratching a small number of different allergens into your skin to see which ones trigger reactions and then observing the area for around 15 minutes. If you are allergic, you will develop swelling and redness.
If you’re getting allergy shots, let your doctor know if you’re feeling sick. If you have asthma, this is extremely important. Also, tell your doctor if you had any side effects from a past allergy shot.
How Much Do Allergy Shots Cost?
Allergy injections are usually covered by health insurance. However, you may be required to pay for each visit which is usually a small amount of money.
You could end up spending big bucks a year if you don’t have health insurance or your plan doesn’t cover allergy shots.
According to a study published in 2019 that looked at data from 2013 to 2015, the cost of allergy shots per person on average is about $1,926.
Asthmatics paid roughly 19 percent of the entire bill, while insurers paid about 81 percent.
Treatment lasted 463 days on average or about 15 months.
It’s essential to discuss payment options and costs with your doctor Before undertaking the treatment. It’s also important to remember that allergy injections are a long-term investment. If you’re paying on your own, you’ll want to budget in advance because they require many injections.
Allergy shots are an excellent way to combat a wide array of allergies and pollens, but the process is not easy for many. Although Allergy shots are not a permanent cure, they help alleviate symptoms of allergies. They also have a few side effects, but knowing these side effects is all you need to know if allergy shots are right for you.
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