Immunotherapy (allergy shots) is an effective method for the treatment of allergies. If you are considering immunotherapy, you should familiarize yourself with the following facts:
- It is an effective vaccination program that increases immunity to substances called allergens that trigger allergy symptoms.
- The principle of treatment by immunotherapy is to gradually inject increasing amounts of an allergen to a patient over several months.
- The injections are first given on a twice weekly, weekly or bi-weekly, and when the maintenance level is reached, they are given less frequently, eventually on a monthly basis.
- This process reduces the allergy symptoms.
- Immunotherapy has been shown to prevent the development of new allergies and,
- in children, it can prevent the progression of the allergic disease from allergic rhinitis to asthma.
- Allergen immunotherapy can lead to the long-lasting relief of allergy symptoms after the treatment is stopped.
- This form of treatment is the closest thing to a semi-permanent control of the allergic symptoms.
- Avoidance of allergens, this is not possible if you are allergic to pollens, molds, dust, and dust mites or pets. For this reason, injection treatment is often necessary.
Immunotherapy is recommended for the following diseases:
- Allergic asthma
- Allergic rhinitis and allergic sinusitis
- Allergic conjunctivitis
- Pet allergy
- Stinging insect allergy.
- Immunotherapy for food allergies is still under investigation.
Immunotherapy is preferred over allergy medications because of the following reasons:
- It is a more effective than medications for treatment of allergic diseases
- It is effective in approximately 85% of the cases.
- It offers more permanent relief from allergy symptoms than medications can ever do. Usually the younger the individual, the faster and more effective is the immunotherapy.
- A big advantage is that Immunotherapy can be administered during pregnancy and to breast-feeding mothers without harm to the fetus or to the breastfed infant.
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