As our Allergist in Little Rock will tell you, allergies are very common. They can also be very annoying and disruptive to our daily routines. Thankfully, many people that suffer from chronic allergies are able to get some relief by getting the proper allergy shot before the allergy season really starts to affect them. Have you ever thought about an allergy shot? Let's look at a few things you should know about allergy shots.
For many people, allergies may be annoying, but not severe or long-lasting enough for them to seek medical treatment. Over-the-counter allergy medicines such as Claritin and Zyrtec are examples of common and easily available remedies to seasonal allergies. For others, allergies are much more severe and recurrent, and are not completely alleviated by OTC medications. Often, doctors designate this condition as chronic allergies.
For people with chronic allergies, an allergist will determine if the patient can benefit from an allergy shot. The allergist may conduct a simple test to gauge what the patient’s allergy triggers are. This usually involves using a special plastic device that slightly pricks or scratches the skin on the arm, exposing tiny spots of the skin to several different allergens. Within twenty minutes, the doctor will be able to observe which allergens cause a reaction, and then choose which type of allergy shot to prescribe. The process is quick, effective, and with little discomfort.
Allergy shots are usually administered to the patient on a regimented schedule, which can be as seldom as every three or five years. This treatment is called immunotherapy. When the patient receives the shot, a small amount of the allergen is introduced into the body, which triggers the immune system to build an immunity to that particular allergen without causing a major reaction. The result is greatly reduced (or eliminated) allergic reactions.
While many people receive annual allergy shots for conditions like hay fever or reactions to other outdoor allergens, allergy shots can also be given to relieve year-round allergies caused by indoor allergens such as pet dander, dust, and mold.
If you suffer from bad allergies year-round, consult our Arkansas Otolaryngology Center Allergist, Dr. Meredith Dilley, to discuss whether an allergy shot is right for you!