Immunotherapy is an effective treatment option when your allergies don't improve with over-the-counter medications. At Allergy Asthma & Sinus Center, Edwin Schulhafer, MD, offers immunotherapy administered by allergy shots to children and adults who are tired of runny noses, itchy eyes, and other allergy symptoms. To learn if you're a good candidate for immunotherapy, call the office in Hillsborough Township or Annandale, New Jersey, or book an appointment online today.
Immunotherapy treats allergies by desensitizing your immune system. During immunotherapy, you get regular doses of your allergen.
With consistent exposure to your allergen, you develop protective antibodies that block the reaction. As a result, you have fewer and less severe allergic reactions. In some cases, your allergies may even disappear.
Before you can start immunotherapy, you need to have allergy testing to identify your exact allergens. Immunotherapy involves allergy shots for most people. However, some people may qualify for sublingual immunotherapy.
You can get allergy shots for nearly every type of allergy. Allergy Asthma & Sinus Center frequently uses this type of immunotherapy to treat hay fever (allergic rhinitis) caused by:
Allergy shots also treat insect allergies and help reduce asthma attacks when allergies trigger them.
When allergy shots begin, called the buildup phase, you get 1-3 shots every week. Your first shot contains a very small dose of your allergen. Each subsequent shot injects a slightly higher amount, giving you just enough to stimulate your immune system.
After about 3-6 months, you enter a second stage called the maintenance phase. During this phase, you get 1-3 shots each month, and they contain the same dose each time. You stay in maintenance until you get optimal symptom relief.
The maintenance phase usually lasts 3-5 years. Though you may start to notice the difference in the first year of maintenance, it usually takes longer to get the best results.