Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy)
Allergy immunotherapy is also called desensitization, hyposensitization or allergy shots. It is a form of treatment that can make you less sensitive to allergens. It is helpful for allergic rhinitis, especially for allergies to trees, grasses, weeds, cats, and dust mites. It can also help with mold or dog allergies. It is generally not helpful for non-allergic rhinitis or nasal polyps.
If you receive allergy immunotherapy, it generally means you will come to our offices and receive regular injections of the allergen(s) to which you are allergic. The injections start with a small dose once or twice weekly and gradually increase to the maximum dose determined by your Dakota Allergy & Asthma allergist. Then the injections are extended gradually to monthly doses and continue year-round.
While it is uncommon, you can have an allergic reaction to the allergy immunotherapy injections. Life-threatening reactions and deaths have occurred, but are extremely rare. We ask that you wait in your allergist’s office for 30 minutes following an injection so that if a reaction occurs, it can be properly treated.
After five years, if these injections provide relief from allergy symptoms, we may consider stopping your injections—most patients continue to enjoy relief for years after stopping the injections. If no benefit is seen after a year, a re-evaluation of this therapy is suggested.
Approximately 70 to 80 percent of people who have allergic rhinitis benefit from allergy shots.
How do we make your allergy shots at Dakota Allergy & Asthma?
Allergy shots are custom made specifically for each patient. This personalized therapy is based upon the results of a patient history and exam combined with the allergy testing. It also takes into consideration the goals a patient has with their exposures. After deciding to start shots a prescription is made by Dr. Bubak.
Who makes the allergy shots?
At Dakota Allergy & Asthma, we have four Registered Nurses who have been certified to make allergy extracts. They have completed special allergy education and have passed both the Allergen Extract Preparation Quiz and the Special Fill Testing.
What is in the shots?
Dr. Bubak picks the specific allergens and how much of each that go into each patient’s serum vials. Examples are ragweed or bluegrass pollen, dog dander, dust mites, and yellow jacket venom. Each allergen (the substance one is allergic to) needs a correct dose. Care must be taken to put compatible extracts together in a vial or they will very quickly loose potency and the patient will not get the expected benefit. The individual allergens come in stock vials and we combine the specific allergens together into patient specific individual vials to be used. The patient’s vials are then stored refrigerated to maximize effectiveness until ready to be used.
Do I Need to See an Allergist?
Find yourself wondering if you should see an allergist for you allergy symptoms? Dr. Bubak, board certified allergist at Dakota Allergy and Asthma, will walk you through a simple allergy assessment review things like your symptoms, over-the-counter (OTC) medication options, how you respond to those options and even how you liked the OTC medications.