A weekly column addressing your most sought-after health questions, answered by Harbin Clinic’s expert healthcare professionals.
Question: What do parents need to know about allergy shots?
Dr. Mary Beauchamp: When your child’s sneezing and sniffles seem to last for weeks, what appears to be a cold may actually be allergies. Runny and itchy noses, sneezing, and watery eyes are all common symptoms of allergies. Over-the-counter medications can be effective but only temporarily mask the symptoms instead of getting to the root of the problem. For a more long-term solution, allergy shots, also known as allergic immunotherapy, desensitize your child to their allergies and can alleviate their symptoms.
Allergy shots are injections of small concentrations of the allergens your child is allergic to. These shots increase the immune system’s tolerance by gradually increasing the allergen doses. This form of treatment is used for most inhalant allergies, including dust, pollen, mold, and pet dander. When your child’s treatment starts, your allergist will create a timeline for your child. Shots are typically administered once a week until the shots reach the maximum concentration. After that, shots are typically administered monthly for three to five years. Many people continue to experience allergy relief for several years after the shots are stopped.
Treating allergy symptoms with over-the-counter medications is a great temporary solution, but allergy shots provide a more beneficial and permanent solution for your child. In addition to reducing symptoms, allergy shots also reduce the risk of developing asthma and anaphylaxis.
Harbin Clinic’s ENT & Allergy team specializes in diagnosing and treating all types of allergies. The dedicated physicians are committed to providing comprehensive care to treat and relieve your allergy symptoms.