Whether you eat a certain type of food or you’re simply around a certain kind of food, if you’re allergic to it, then it can be difficult living a normal life. You might have to avoid certain restaurants or avoid being in situations where people could have the foods that you’re allergic to, such as business lunches or school cafeterias. Fortunately, food allergy shots are an option to consider. While they might not take away the allergy completely, they can make it a bit easier to live with the allergy and be around the food so that you don’t have to worry about breaking out in hives or experiencing other reactions.
One of the things that you might be concerned about is whether food allergy shots really work or not. For most people who receive them, they do improve their tolerance to the foods that they are allergic to, such as peanuts or eggs. The severity of your allergy should be taken into consideration as you might need to have a device with you in the event that you’re around food that is simply too overwhelming or if the shots don’t do what they should in your case. It could take some time for you to notice any significant changes, but if you continue getting food allergy shots, then you’ll usually see a difference in how well you can tolerate the foods that you haven’t been able to be around in the past. Keep in mind that each person’s body is different. A shot that might work for you might not work for someone else. However, there are usually more medications that can be tried until we find one that works for you.
Reactions are Possible
When you try food allergy shots, you need to know that they do contain a minimal amount of the allergen. This means that it’s possible to have a reaction to the shot. Over time, the amount of the allergen used increases. The reason behind this is so that your body can build a natural tolerance to the food. As you continue getting the shots, your body’s immune system begins to essentially build a wall so that you don’t have severe reactions when you’re around those foods. For some people, they have no reactions to foods at all after being on allergy shots for the recommended amount of time. It’s also possible to stop taking medications for allergies or to at least minimize the amount of medication that you take.
If you make the decision to start getting food allergy shots, you need to make a commitment to the time that will be involved. This isn’t something that you’ll do once or twice and begin to see changes in how you feel. You may begin by getting up to two shots a week. This process will usually last for multiple months, shorter or longer depending on how well your body builds up an immunity to the allergens. You’ll then receive maintenance shots. These may be given about twice a month over the course of a few years so that your body continues to build immunity and maintains that immunity. In order for the food allergy shots to be effective, you need to stick to the schedule that you create with the professional. If you stop getting the shots, then you might notice that the symptoms that you had before beginning the regimen could return.
It’s helpful to know that there are some medications that you can take to keep any possible reactions from allergy shots to a minimum. Antihistamines, such as Benadryl, are beneficial to take. They can often decrease the amount of sneezing and other symptoms that you might notice. Try to take these medications a set amount of time as directed before your appointment for the allergy shots as this will usually result in the medication working around the same time of receiving the injection. Sometimes, these medications can help to increase the effectiveness of the allergy shot, which is something to keep in mind if you’re not seeing the results that you desire. However, it’s important to consult our professional before taking anything ahead of your injections.
How Soon for Results?
For some people, they feel better within weeks to months after beginning food allergy shots. If you have mild reactions to foods, then you might be a part of this group. However, if you’ve had food allergies for several years and haven’t tried many solutions, then it could take months to years to see the full impacts given by food allergy shots. Most of the time, your allergic reactions will begin to subside about 18 months after you begin your treatment. However, it all depends on the unique case.
Not for You?
Sometimes, allergy shots for food reactions might not be beneficial for you. There are some people who simply can’t tolerate the shots or who don’t see any benefit from them at all. If this occurs, then talk to our professional about a different type of medication that can be used or getting an extra injection each week. If you experience severe asthma symptoms or other physical symptoms from your food allergies, then you might want to begin with medications other than shots in order to get your body adjusted to trying to control the reactions. Once this occurs, you’ll usually be able to see at least a minimal change. If you’re sick, then the shots might not work well, or if you have other underlying health issues as your immune system might not be as strong as that of others. A benefit of food allergy shots is that children over the age of 5 can usually begin allergy shots once the parents discover that there are reactions to certain types of foods.
Most of the time, allergy symptoms present as itching or watery eyes or sneezing and coughing. However, you could experience eczema and other skin conditions along with severe breathing issues. If you’re able to gain control of your allergies to foods, then you can usually gain control of some of the other symptoms that are in place aside from the sneezing and coughing that you experience. The shots can also begin to improve your breathing, especially if you rely on an inhaler. Your mental well-being can be improved as well by getting allergy shots. You’ll be able to be in areas with foods that you enjoy but know that you can’t have without experiencing the reactions that you normally would. You don’t have to avoid being around your friends and family at events that involve foods that you can’t eat. These changes can often improve your well-being because you no longer have to feel as though you’re hiding from food. Allergy shots could improve your overall happiness as you begin seeing that they are working.
Where to Go
After making the decision to get allergy shots, you can visit our office for your appointments. We can monitor your vital signs and any other symptoms that arise during the injection process. You’ll be in a room with a skilled professional while you get the shot and for a short time after it’s injected. During this time, you’ll be monitored just in case there are any issues that arise. You’ll be given an appointment to come back to the office for future injections. You should avoid giving yourself any kind of allergy shots at home because of a potential reaction that could occur.
Signs of Allergies
If you think that you’re having an allergic reaction, there are a few symptoms that you might notice. Depending on the reaction, you can take over-the-counter medications to help with the symptoms or seek emergency treatment. If you have a reaction while in the office, then we can address the issue so that it’s under control.
With a food allergy, you could experience symptoms that are similar to other allergens or symptoms that are completely different that might even make you think that you have the flu or a stomach virus. You could begin to feel nauseous or begin vomiting. At times, you might feel fatigued or feel as though your muscles are weak. Hives are another common reaction to food allergies. You could also begin to feel your throat closing before having difficulties breathing. If you notice this symptom, then you need to seek emergency care as soon as possible. An EPI pen can be carried with you if you know that there’s a possibility of a severe reaction.
This is a benefit of allergy shots. They are designed to slowly introduce the food to your body. In small amounts, you likely won’t experience a severe reaction. Once you feel that the shots are beginning to work, you may slowly try to introduce yourself to the foods that you’ve been allergic to in order to see if there are any reactions that occur. As soon as you come in contact with the food, you’ll usually notice hives or red areas that develop on your skin. They could itch and can often spread to other areas of your body. When you notice hives, it’s a sign that your body’s antihistamine defense has started, which is a way that your body begins to fight against the allergen. Keep in mind that stress and extreme temperature changes can also result in hives occurring on your body, which is why you should have an exam to determine if you’re allergic to foods that you come in contact with or not.
You can get all the facts about food allergy shots when you visit Asthma Allergy Centre for a consultation. We have offices located in Newberg, Tigard, McMinnville, and Beaverton. Contact us today to set up a consultation and get started!