Although highly effective, allergy shots come with some not-so-ideal aspects. One of the most common complaints is the wait time in the office after the injection. While it’s a necessary component of allergy shot treatment, many don’t understand the reason and wonder if there are allergy treatment alternatives that don’t require the wait.
What Are Allergy Shots?
Allergy shots are an injectable form of immunotherapy. The only clinically-proven treatment to provide long-lasting allergy relief, immunotherapy involves exposing your immune system to the allergens that cause it to react. By doing this exposure in a controlled process and in small increments, your body builds a tolerance to the allergen over time, reducing your allergy symptoms.
With allergy shots, the allergen is introduced to the immune system through an injection in the arm. Sublingual immunotherapy is an alternative to allergy shots and is administered in the form of allergy drops.
How Do They Work?
Allergy shots work by encouraging your immune system to develop a tolerance to allergens that make it react. There are two phases to allergy shot treatment.
The initial phase is called the buildup phase, and it occurs during the first three to six months of treatment. Throughout this period, you get one or two injections each week. These allergy shots are given at your doctor’s office. After each shot, you must wait at the office for 30 minutes to ensure you don’t have any severe side effects.
The second phase of allergy shot treatment is referred to as the maintenance phase. This phase allows for a longer time between injections. You may start your maintenance phase with allergy shots every two weeks and gradually reduce to a monthly injection. In most cases, the maintenance phase lasts three to five years.
Do They Hurt?
Allergy shots are given in the fatty part of the upper arm and not into the muscle. They also use a needle that is small and thin. Together, these reduce the pain that can accompany many injections. Even so, allergy shots are still shots and many patients find the pricks uncomfortable.
What Are the Risks?
Allergy shots can cause a bump or hive at the injection site. While this reaction may not hurt, it can feel itchy or irritated. It may look like a mosquito bite or swell to the size of a baseball.
Beyond this local reaction, there are other risks involved with allergy shots. Many allergy-sufferers notice an increase in allergy symptoms a few days after their allergy shots. Antihistamines can help to reduce these unwanted allergy shot side effects.
Why Do You Have to Wait Afterwards?
When you receive allergy shots, you are at risk for serious, but rare, side effects. These side effects occur within 30 minutes of your allergy injection. Your doctor requires you to stay at the office so they can monitor your symptoms and address any side effects that may develop, including swelling, hives, or anaphylaxis.
What Is Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that, although rare, can occur within three to 30 minutes after exposure to allergens. Potentially life-threatening, anaphylaxis may be accompanied by a range of symptoms, including:
- Facial swelling
- Trouble breathing, wheezing, or coughing
- Low pulse
- Red, itchy skin
- Confusion, anxiety, or mental changes
- Speech difficulties
Because anaphylaxis releases so many chemicals, it can cause the body to go into shock. When anaphylactic shock occurs, there is a sudden drop in blood pressure, and the patient’s airways close. Without immediate medical attention, it can be deadly.
When to Use Your Epipen
To stop anaphylaxis and prevent anaphylactic shock, an epinephrine injection is needed. At Wyndly, when appropriate, our doctors prescribe patients EpiPen to ensure if they ever have an extreme allergic reaction, they have immediate access to the necessary medication.
Use your EpiPen as soon as you recognize any severe allergy symptoms, including chest tightness, shortness of breath, or even a sense of impending doom. Do not wait, as anaphylaxis symptoms develop quickly and can be dangerous. Learn to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis so that no time is wasted.
After an EpiPen is administered, call 911 or go to the closest emergency medical center for an evaluation.
Alternative Allergy Treatments to Allergy Shots
If you want long-term allergy relief, but don’t want to waste time in the allergist’s waiting room or be at risk for a life-threatening allergic reaction, there are alternative allergy treatments. Sublingual immunotherapy in the form of allergy drops gives you all the benefits of allergy shots without the hassle or risk.
Allergy drops rely on the same science as allergy shots, but instead of being taken under the skin, allergy drops are sprayed under the tongue. Because allergy drops are safer than allergy shots, they do not need to be administered by an allergist or at the doctor’s office. Allergy drops are so safe they can be taken from the convenience of home.
No doctor’s office. No 30-minute wait. No potentially life-threatening reaction. Just long-lasting allergy relief. Get your personalized treatment plan from Wyndly now to get started with pain-free allergy relief!
Learn Your Allergy Profile With Wyndly
Are you looking for an allergy treatment that does more than mask your symptoms? Then it’s time to talk to the team at Wyndly. Our allergy doctors will help you determine the best solution for you to start living allergy-free.
Schedule your consultation today and we’ll send you our at-home allergy test free! Don’t wait.