Allergy shots seem like a great way to find long term relief for your Georgia allergies, but do you know all the facts? Our team at the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia has assembled a list of some frequently asked questions we receive from patients considering allergy shots.
What are allergy shots?
- Allergy shots are the only treatment available that actually help the body build a natural resistance to allergens, rather than masking the symptoms of allergies. Your Atlanta allergy doctor will inject a small amount of saline mixed with your allergen under your skin. Over time, your body begins to naturally resist the effects of your allergen.
Why would I want allergy shots?
- If you suffer from environmental allergens, eye allergies, or allergic asthma, Atlanta allergy shots can greatly improve allergy symptoms. More than 85% of patients treated with the recommended doses of allergy shots noticed a marked improvement in their allergy symptoms. Currently, allergy shots are the only treatment that change your immune system, rather than treating the symptoms of allergies. While not a cure for allergies, allergy shots are the closest thing available.
Is there a difference between Immunotherapy and allergy shots?
- No. Immunotherapy and allergy shots are two names for the same thing. You might also hear allergy shots called ‘allergen immunotherapy.’
What kind of allergies do allergy shots treat?
- Allergy shots are highly effective at treating indoor allergies like dust mites, pet dander, mold, and cockroaches. Atlanta allergy shots also effectively treat seasonal allergies, such as tree, grass, and weed pollen, or insect allergies from bee, wasp, and hornet stings.
Do allergy shots work for food allergies?
- Unfortunately, allergy shots do not work for most food allergies. Only patients who suffer from extreme pollen sensitivity will experience food-related allergy relief from Atlanta allergy shots.
How long will I be on allergy shots?
- After the initial build up phase, most patients remain on maintenance dose allergy shots for a minimum of 3-5 years. It takes a long time to change your immune system in a lasting way. If you do not complete at least the 3-5 year minimum for maintenance dose allergy shots, it is likely your allergies will return.
After 3-5 years, you and your Atlanta allergy doctor can reassess your treatment plan; some patients elect to continue allergy shot treatment past the recommended minimum. It is highly recommended that patients use maintenance dose allergy shorts for 3-5 years.
Are allergy shots safe?
- Generally, allergy shots are very safe when administered by a Smyrna/Vinings allergy doctor in a controlled environment. However, there are risks associated with allergen exposure. If you do have a reaction, it will usually be a mild, localized bump or itching, though severe complications are possible. To prevent a serious reaction from harming a patient’s health, the patient must remain in the office for 20-30 minutes of observation after an allergy shot is administered.
Can my child receive allergy shots?
- Typically, allergy shots are not recommended for children under 5 years old. If your child is 5 or older and suffers from indoor, seasonal, or insect allergies, he or she may be a good candidate.
In some cases, allergy shot treatment may be started before the age of 5. Many juvenile patients receive allergy shot treatments for Georgia allergies with positive results. Your Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia allergist will be able to decide if your child could benefit from allergy shots.
What is the process of allergy shot treatment?
- After the initial consultation, there are 2 phases of allergy shot treatments. During the buildup phase, patients have allergy shot appointments 1-2 times per week. During this time, the patient’s immune system grows accustomed to the allergen and prepares for the maintenance dose during this phase. The buildup phase generally lasts 3-6 months.
During the maintenance phase, there are longer breaks between treatments. These can last anywhere from 2-4 weeks, depending on your Atlanta allergist and care plan. The maintenance phase lasts 3-5 years.
When will I start to experience relief from my allergy symptoms?
- Allergy shots gradually change the immune system in a highly individualized way. Some patients will notice improvements during the buildup phase; other patients will not see results until 6 to 12 months of maintenance dose treatments. As patients follow their treatment plan, they will continue to see results.
What happens when I come to my allergy shot consultation?
- When you come to your allergy shot consultation a few things will happen. First, you will have an allergy skin test, or review recent results with your Atlanta allergist. You and your allergy doctor will discuss your specific case and desired results to determine if you are a good candidate for allergy shots. Then, an allergy extract will be made to counteract your specific allergies.
Make sure to bring medical records and insurance paperwork if your allergy shot consultation is your first appointment with the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia.
What happens when I come to my allergy shot appointment?
- When you come to your allergy shot appointment, you start by checking in at the front desk. Then, you will be moved to a procedure room where your Smyrna/Vinings allergy doctor will administer your allergy shot treatment. You then have 30 minutes to read or relax while our trained medical staff observes your vitals and injection site for any severe reactions.
Can I use allergy shots if I have multiple allergies?
- Yes, patients with multiple allergies can use allergy shots. There are different treatment plans available depending on the patient’s case and desired results. Allergy shots are generally created to target one category of allergens, like tree pollen or cat dander. If a patient suffers from multiple allergens in the same category, like pine tree pollen and oak tree pollen, one allergy shot may treat both allergies. If a patient suffers from allergens in multiple categories, like pine tree pollen and dust mites, then a patient could receive multiple allergy shots.
Can I use allergy shots if I have asthma?
- Yes, many patients with asthma can also use allergy shots. Generally, patients with allergic asthma who use allergy shots notice a decrease in asthma attacks. This means that patients are able to use less asthma medicine and have a higher quality of life. Since allergies and asthma are unique to every person, only your allergist will be able to help you decide if allergy shots are right for you.
Why should I get my allergy shots at the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia?
- The Center for Allergy and Asthma Georgia is a highly qualified medical practice with board certified Georgia allergy doctors. Our experienced allergists have a high success rate of treating Atlanta allergies with allergen immunotherapy. We work with all of our patients to develop a customized plan of care to address their unique allergy and respiratory issues.