Allergic reactions can seriously impact your kids' quality of life and even lead to life-threatening episodes. Luckily, it's possible to treat allergies effectively, minimizing the reaction and controlling symptoms. Allergy shots are one of many treatment options available to adults and kids.
But are allergy shots safe for kids, and can they make your kids feel tired? Here is a closer look at the benefits, risks, and alternatives to allergy shots for kids.
Allergy Shots and Their Impact
Allergy shots are among the most common forms of allergy treatment available today. They're considered safe for adults and children ages five years and older. An allergy shot works by exposing the recipient to a small dose of the substance they are allergic to and training their immune system to react less. The goal is to increase the immune system's tolerance of the allergen over time.
Allergy shots work well for a wide range of allergic reactions, including allergies to pollen, pet dander, mold, dust mites, and insect stings. They are not effective for food allergies, though.
Treatment plans usually include a buildup phase and a maintenance phase. During the build-up phase, doctors slowly increase the dose of the allergen. During the maintenance phase, your child receives the highest effective dose that is still safe. Overall, treatment can take 3-5 years. While that treatment time requires commitment, there is a considerable chance of long-term relief.
Understanding Fatigue in Kids
Fatigue is a lack of energy or a general feeling of tiredness and exhaustion. Everyone can feel tired from time to time, including kids. Often, fatigue is not a condition in itself, but a symptom pointing toward another problem.
- Too much or too little activity: Being too busy or being bored can cause fatigue. Make sure your child gets regular exercise as well as time to rest and recharge.
- Medical problems: Infections and other medical conditions can cause fatigue. If you're worried about your child's health, make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician to rule out any undiagnosed conditions.
- Poor diet and lack of hydration: Skipping meals or eating an unbalanced diet can predispose your child to fatigue and a general lack of energy. Encourage your kids to eat and drink regularly, avoid skipping breakfast, and offer healthy choices during meals.
- Lack of sleep: Not getting enough good-quality sleep predisposes adults and kids to fatigue and other health problems.
- Allergies: When your child has an allergic reaction they can feel tired due to the strain on their immune system. Certain allergy medications and treatments can cause drowsiness and fatigue. Antihistamines like Benadryl can make your child drowsy. In addition, the mild allergic reaction caused by allergy shots can also contribute to fatigue.
Allergies and Sleep Issues
In many cases, allergies and sleep issues or sleep disturbances are closely connected. Some of the most common symptoms of allergies include a runny nose or a stuffy nose and nasal congestion. All three allergy symptoms can make it harder to sleep well. If your kids are having trouble breathing, they will also find it more difficult to fall asleep, and they're likely to wake up several times at night.
How can you improve your child's sleep quality? The answer depends on which specific allergens trigger their symptoms. For example, if your child is allergic to dust mites, minimize the potential of dust mites in their bedroom by changing furnishings and fabrics to allergy-friendly versions. If your child is allergic to animal dander, don't allow your pets into their bedroom.
Allergy medications can also help manage your child’s allergy symptoms and make it easier for them to sleep better. Talk to your doctor about the specific timing and dose to find out what will work best for your child.
Pros and Cons of Allergy Shots for Kids
Allergy shots are a common method of allergy treatment for children with allergies. There are several benefits and risks to consider before deciding on a personalized treatment plan. Potential advantages and disadvantages can include:
- Effective: Allergy shots work well for up to 85% of patients who commit to the treatment. However, while those patients benefit from long-term relief, it can take up to one year before more noticeable improvements happen.
- Prevent new allergies: Research has shown that allergy shots for kids can prevent the onset of any new allergies. They may also reduce the risk of developing asthma for some.
- Less reliance on allergy medication: As allergy shots are becoming effective, your kids may no longer need any other allergy medications.
Allergy shots are generally considered safe for kids, and serious reactions are rare. However, that doesn't mean there are no side effects. The risk of those side effects decreases if your child is receiving allergy shots regularly without missing doses.
- Local reaction at the injection site: It's not uncommon for kids to experience swelling, some redness, or irritation at the site of injection. Normally, those reactions show up within a few hours after allergy shots and clear up quickly.
- Fatigue: Allergy shots expose your child to a small dose of the allergen their body is reacting to. This substance activates the body's immune system and causes it to release histamines. When those are released, it's normal to feel tired.
- Systemic reactions: Systemic reactions include sneezing or nasal congestion, but they may also lead to more serious symptoms such as throat swelling or a feeling of tightness in the chest. These are far less common than local reactions, but they could have more serious consequences.
- Anaphylaxis: This is an extremely rare reaction to allergy shots that usually sets in within 30 minutes after the injection and can cause trouble breathing. Because of the seriousness of the condition, patients must wait at the doctor's office for at least 30 minutes after an injection to be monitored by doctors in case a severe reaction occurs.
Best Alternative to Allergy Shots
Allergy shots are not the only option for kids to achieve long-lasting relief from their allergy symptoms. Since many kids struggle with the frequent injections required with allergy shots, sublingual immunotherapy is a popular alternative.
Like allergy shots, this alternative method of immunotherapy works by exposing your kids to an extremely small dose of the substance they're allergic to. Rather than delivering this substance by injection, though, it is given through simple under-the-tongue drops or tablets. For many kids, that is much easier than dealing with a series of injections.
Sublingual immunotherapy also has a decreased risk of causing severe reactions so it can be taken safely at home. There is no need to visit your doctor's office every week for treatment. At Wyndly, following a thorough test of what's causing your child's allergy symptoms, our doctors can create a personalized treatment plan using sublingual immunotherapy and ship the medication directly to you.
Consult an Expert
Are your kids struggling to deal with their allergy symptoms, or are their allergy shots making them feel tired all the time?
Dealing with allergy symptoms isn't easy. Depending on their severity, symptoms may not only affect your children's quality of life but also decrease their performance at school. If you think your child is struggling with allergy symptoms or if their current allergy medication regimen isn’t providing enough relief, consulting an allergist can help identify what your child is allergic to and create an effective treatment plan.
Take Our Allergy Assessment and Get Treatment Today
If you want long-term allergy relief for your child without painful shots, sublingual immunotherapy might be right for them. Sublingual immunotherapy is less invasive for your child as well as saving you time without compromising on effectiveness.
Give your child a chance of an allergy-free future today by choosing Wyndly. Sublingual immunotherapy is available for kids aged five and over and has been proven to provide long-lasting relief. Take our online assessment now - it only takes a few minutes to get started, but the benefits could last a lifetime!