It’s not too late to start allergy shots for summer!
You vaguely remember last summer and then the memories come back to you. The itchy, red, watery eyes. The nasal congestion, sneezing fits and runny nose. The fatigue…oh, the fatigue! You took antihistamines and improved a little, but you still felt miserable. You vowed to take action, so you would not have to endure another season like that.
Well, you are in luck. There is still time to make a difference in proactively treating those allergies.
Allergen immunotherapy (“allergy shots”) is the only disease-modifying treatment currently available. This means that even after stopping the injections, the good effect from the shots continues, many times for years. With usual medications, the good effects wear off within a few days of stopping them.
How does an allergy injection work? The allergy vaccine contains the extracts of the allergens to which each individual is allergic to such as pollen, mold, animal dander, dust mite, etc. This individualized mixture of extract is diluted to a weak dilution and injected in increasing amounts 1-2 times per week. Each allergy injection builds on the previous one with a gradual increase in dose (build-up phase) until the maximum dose is reached (maintenance dose). The build-up phase may be inconvenient, but the gradual increases are necessary to “fool” the allergic part of the immune system and decrease the chance of having an allergic reaction to the allergy injection. The build-up phase can take 18 to 36 weeks depending on how often the patient comes to the office for an injection (1 vs. 2 times per week). Once the maintenance dose is reached, the injections are extended out to once a month. It is at these higher doses that the effectiveness of allergy injections is really appreciated.
Summer may seem like a long time away, but…it will be here sooner than you think!
This educational information does not take the place of your physician’s advice.