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Allergy Shots: Can They Help?

Mar 9, 2008
Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, are injections of a certain substance given to a patient on a regular basis in order to reduce skin reactions, respiratory and gastro-intestinal symptoms caused by an airborne substance, food sources or other allergens to which the patient is sensitive.

Allergy shots increase the body's tolerance to the substances or allergens that provoked allergic reactions. Immunotherapy is usually advised to people who suffer from severe symptoms of allergies and patients who experience over three months of allergy symptoms each year.

Contrary to popular belief, allergy shots do not cure these conditions. Instead, they reduce the body's sensitivity to a particular substance you are allergic to by injecting that same substance into your body. This kind of treatment does not give immediate relief, but aims to lessen your sensitivity to a particular allergen. You will receive allergy shots twice a week for several months and continue to receive shots regularly for more than five years, depending on the severity of your condition.

People who undergo continuous therapy of allergy shots are those who tried other treatments that didn't work, such as medications and avoidance of the allergen. Immunotherapy works well for people with hay fever, bee-sting and pollen allergies as well as other drug-related allergies.

Pros And Cons Of Allergy Shots

Allergy shots work similarly as vaccinations ?boosting the body's immune system to defend itself and block allergic reactions. Immunotherapy treatments performed by the hands of well-trained health professionals are safe and effective for all ages.

However, while some people benefit from immunotherapy and actually reduce the symptoms of asthma, patients with severe asthma may aggravate their condition. Patients under the age of five, pregnant or lactating women and those who are taking beta-blockers for heart disease should refrain from receiving allergy shots to prevent complications.

Before asking for allergy shots, always make sure that the symptoms are severe or difficult to manage. Shots are not very friend for children since it involves needles that may frighten a child. However, this kind of treatment can be appealing for people who have been struggling with the symptoms for several weeks.

Most people with allergic reactions to substances and certain foods, the only way to prevent the occurrence of allergies is to avoid the source of these reactions. When you can't avoid these allergens because of work environment or other reasons, allergy shots can be a practical solution.

To ensure that you are making the right decision, consult your doctor about the pros and cons of allergy shots to be able to develop an effective plan for your condition.
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