There are plenty of over-the-counter medications to help with allergy symptoms: antihistamines, decongestants, steroids and more.
However, continued use can lead to the drugs being less effective and, in some cases, can trigger significant side effects.
Allergy immunotherapy could be a long-term solution for people with chronic allergies such as allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, allergic conjunctivitis or even stinging insect allergies.
“Much like a vaccine, immunotherapy more commonly known as allergy shots, involves receiving injections of a particular allergen or allergens over a period of time so that your body develops an increased tolerance of these allergens,” said Ed Neuzil, PhD, MSN, ARNP, FAANP. “It requires a patient come into the practitioners office on a regular basis to receive the injections.”
Neuzil says that patients may, although uncommon to his practice experience redness, itching and swelling at the injection site or they may experience some sneezing or nasal congestion. But the reactions are typically not serious and are temporary.
“The process which includes the build-up phase when the allergen is increasingly added to the body and then the maintenance phase, may last a year or so,” said Neuzil. Then if the immunotherapy is successful, maintenance treatment can go on for another three to five years.
Neuzil suggests that you speak with your medical practitioner to determine whether you’re a candidate for immunotherapy. You can watch this video which explains how practitioners determine which allergens a patient may be allergic to.