Ask The Expert: When to Consider Allergy Shots?

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Allergy shots can be confusing for patients. There are some allergy shots that patients will describe that's a once a season shot. And those are actually high dose steroids. And typically, as an allergist, we don't use those to treat allergies.

When we discuss allergy shots, we're actually talking about the ones that are once weekly, and it typically takes about eight months to get to your maintenance dose to the top dose. And then you keep going on those once a month for the next three to five years. The types of individuals that I would consider for allergy shots are someone who just doesn't want to take medication. They don't like the idea of medication.

The other things that I would consider is someone who's already tried the medication, and they are still miserable. Their symptoms are still there, and there's nothing else to add. That is a great time to consider allergy shots. And then there's also those individuals that have other disease processes. So, for instance, they actually have asthma on top of it. And we can actually treat the asthma by treating the allergies very frequently.

Allergy shots are about 80% effective. So 8 out of 10 people will say, gosh, I am so glad that I did this. So what we actually place in the allergy shots are the proteins that you're allergic to. So, for instance, we have the protein from the tree that we know you're allergic to. And we have it purified. And we actually place those in certain quantities into the allergy shots, and we slowly build them up.

The safety profile on them are interesting because women can actually stay on them because they are the same exact proteins that they're actually seeing when they're exposed to them out in the environment. Those are very safe currently, and we monitor our patients for 30 minutes afterwards. So we really keep a close eye on those patients.