Diagnosis & Treatment Options
When allergy medicine and avoidance do not provide sufficient relief, allergy shots can make all the difference in a patient’s quality of life. They are not a quick fix, but many people find them to be well worth the time and effort. They can desensitize your immune system to pollen (trees, grass, weeds), insect stings, pet dander, dust, mold, and cockroaches. Removing these allergic reactions can result in relief from asthma, eczema, ear issues, and sinus troubles exacerbated by allergies.
Once your specific allergens are identified through testing, your doctor will create an extract specific to you. It will be delivered via injection at Greater Austin Allergy – starting with very small doses that increase as your tolerance improves. Because you may experience an adverse reaction to the shots, all of them must be taken in our office, and you will need to wait 30 minutes afterward since severe reactions usually occur within the first half-hour. The vast majority of patients have minimal side effects, if any. Some patients will experience:
- Redness or swelling at the injection site
- Itchy eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Anaphylaxis – a very rare but life-threatening medical emergency that includes symptoms like wheezing, trouble breathing, nausea, dizziness, severe blood pressure drop, etc.
There are two allergy shot phases – build-up and maintenance. During the build-up phase, the doses start very low and gradually increase until a maintenance dose is reached. Once that maximum dose is attained, the maintenance phase begins, and the dose remains constant. Patients continue shots for three to five years of maintenance. During this phase, injections are spaced out to every two to four weeks, depending on your individualized protocol.
Greater Austin Allergy offers two build-up protocols depending on your preferences and lifestyle. A tailored, personalized Cluster Immunotherapy plan created for specifically for you by our doctors, requires fewer office visits compared to traditional immunotherapy but no full in-office days. Here are the two options explained:
Traditional immunotherapy generally requires one or two allergy shot visits per week for three to six months.
The most popular method we offer, Cluster Immunotherapy, involves a series of scheduled allergy injections at our the office. Patients can schedule these appointments up to twice per week. This accelerated version requires longer office visits at the outset, but you could potentially receive a year of allergy shots in just six to eight weeks! Cluster Immunotherapy gets patients to the target maintenance dose much more quickly than the traditional version.
Regardless of how patients reach their maintenance dose, consistency with the three to five year maintenance schedule is the key to allergy freedom. Allergy symptoms should decrease within the first year of treatment, but long-term results require sticking with the program as long as your doctor prescribes.
Contact us to find out if allergy shots can finally bring an end to your allergy suffering! Book an appointment today!