Allergy shots helpful, although less effective, in adults
There is no treatment to eliminate an allergy entirely, but allergy immunization can be an effective way to quell allergy symptoms.
Doctors conduct allergy immunizations by administering allergy shots containing a specific allergen over a three- to five-year period, with decreasing frequency throughout. The immune system responds to the allergen, but the body typically doesn't experience a complete allergic reaction. Shots are generally more effective in children because they gradually reduce symptoms as an immunity is built up.
"Given the fact that it is going to be a longer lifespan that children will have compared to elders, immunotherapy will obviously benefit the younger more than the elder," local physician Kirti Gupta told Omaha's ABC News affiliate KETV.
Allergy immunization is extremely common because it is relatively cheap and is highly effective. Most studies have shown allergy immunotherapy to be at least 90 percent successful in reducing or eliminating allergy symptoms. Studies have also found that immunizations diminish the possibility of developing sensitivities to other allergens at a later time.
As far as side effects go, patients rarely experience anything more than local reactions, especially early on in the immunotherapy regimen. Doctors will usually monitor patients after the shot is administered just in case they do experience an adverse reaction.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the immunotherapy process involves two stages. These include the buildup phase, which takes several months and requires multiple shots per week, and the maintenance stage, which lasts for several years and requires monthly shots. Shots are administered either through the skin or under the tongue.
After several years, most patients do not require ongoing treatment, although some require regular shots to keep symptoms suppressed.