Posted on: 20 January 2016
If you suffer from chronic allergies, you're already aware of the negative impact they can have on your life. Not only do allergies affect your social life, they may also cause you to miss work days, which in turn can cost you money.
Perhaps you've tried avoiding substances you're allergic to, and you've tried many of the traditional allergy medications without resolution of your symptoms. You may feel immunotherapy is the only option remaining, but how can you know if it is the right choice for you?
You must know what is causing your symptoms
In order for allergy shots to be effective, your ENT specialist or allergy doctor will need to narrow down the substance or substances you are allergic to. This may require extensive and time-consuming testing. If environmental substances are causing your allergies, immunotherapy can be helpful for some people. Food allergies are not treatable with immunotherapy.
You will also want to check with your insurance carrier to see what types of testing is covered by your plan.
Immunotherapy is not a quick fix
Once your ENT specialist or allergy doctor narrows down the substance you are allergic to, you will be ready to start immunotherapy with allergy shots. However, immunotherapy requires extensive time and commitment.
There are two phases to immunotherapy. During the first phase, which is usually referred to as the build-up stage, you will receive increasing amounts of the allergen with each injection. You may need to receive injections one or more times each week. The first phase typically will last between three to six months.
Once you complete the first phase, you will be placed on a maintenance regimen. This phase only requires you to get injections a few times a month, but the maintenance phase can last for up to three years or longer.
Immunotherapy is not without risks
Allergic reactions to injections are rare but can happen. These reactions can range from annoying to life threatening. While the amount of the allergen injected is minimal, it may still cause an extreme reaction in sensitive individuals.
You should always remain at your doctor's office for at least 30 minutes following your injections in the event you have an adverse reaction to the shot.
Is immunotherapy worth the cost and time?
Many allergy sufferers will initially notice some relief with immunotherapy, and some sufferers experience great results. However, symptoms may eventually return, and some individuals may only get minimal to no relief.
If you have truly exhausted all other treatments with no relief, immunotherapy is probably worth a try. You should discuss the risks and benefits in detail with your ENT specialist or allergy doctor before you begin treatments. You should also ask your ENT specialist about newer treatments that may be available that you can take by mouth or under the tongue instead of getting shots.
While immunotherapy can be time consuming and costly, getting relief from your allergy symptoms can help you get your social life and work life back on track. If you've exhausted other traditional options, and the treatments work well for you, getting your life back will be well worth the time and money spent.
Contact a group like Mid America Ear, Nose, & Throat Clinic PC to learn more.Share