Yes, getting allergy shots is a process, but for many people getting immunotherapy can be life-changing and provide long-term relief. People who suffer from severe allergies that alter their quality of life or may even have dangerous allergic reactions can see a major difference after getting allergy shots.
Better yet, this isn’t just an option for adults. Children, teens, and young adults can also be great candidates for allergy shots. If you find that you can’t often enjoy the things you loved because of your allergies, allergy shots may be right for you.
Just as some vaccines work by injecting a weakened form of a virus into the body to stimulate the immune system to produce the appropriate antibodies, allergy shots work by exposing the body to a very small amount of the allergen. As your treatment progresses, the amount of allergen that is injected into the body will increase, but so too will your immunity to it. Some people see such dramatic results after allergy shots that they don’t even need medicine anymore (or, at the very least, don’t have to rely on medicine nearly as much).
Of course, since allergy shots do introduce the body to the allergen, reactions can occur. It’s important to talk with your allergist about possible reactions that could happen and how to handle them if they happen.
Most people assume that allergy shots are only ideal for those dealing with seasonal allergies, but this simply isn’t true. Immunotherapy can also be a great option for people dealing with year-long allergies, indoor allergies (e.g. pet dander; mold), and insect bites and stings. Of course, it’s important to note that allergy shots are not effective for food allergies (right now the best option is to avoid the food altogether).
What are the symptoms of spring allergies?
If you are dealing with spring allergies, you’re most likely to experience these symptoms,
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Dark undereye circles
Wondering what to blame for your dark circles, sneezing, and runny nose? It’s most likely due to pollen. This includes trees, grasses, and weeds. It can also be caused by mold. If you aren’t sure what’s causing your allergies, it’s best to see an allergist for testing.
How can I treat spring allergies?
If you are looking for the most effective relief from symptoms, then it’s best to turn to an allergist who can single out what’s causing your symptoms and provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan to get your allergies under control. Some ways to treat spring allergies include,
- Prescription-strength antihistamines
- Nasal sprays
- Allergy shots (for more severe allergy symptoms)
- Keep windows and doors closed
- If you have central AC, make sure that it contains an allergy-friendly filter
- Remove all clothes and shoes immediately when coming inside and put clothes into the laundry
- Don’t put clothes on the line to dry (put them in the dryer instead)
- Use a Neti pot daily to flush out allergens, bacteria, and germs from nasal passages
- Bathe the family pet at least once a week (and towel them off whenever they come inside)
- Vacuum all carpets, rugs, and furniture regularly
- Disinfect surfaces and prevent dust from accumulating
- Wash bedding at least once a week in hot water
It’s important to understand what triggers an asthma flare-up or attack. Common triggers include,
- Stress and anxiety
- Cold weather
- Respiratory or sinus infections
- Certain foods
- Environmental pollutants
Anyone who’s been diagnosed with asthma will need to take medication. The two most common types of asthma medications are long-term or maintenance medication and a fast-acting inhaler, which is only used when you feel the symptoms of an attack coming on. Your asthma specialist will provide you with comprehensive instructions on the medications you need and how to use them properly.
Stress can be a major trigger for those with asthma. By finding effective ways to relax and calm the body down, people with asthma can also see relief in their flare-ups. Some ways to manage stress include meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness, massage therapy, and even exercise.
Dust mites, pet hair, and other indoor allergens can also trigger asthma, so you must be regularly vacuuming, disinfecting, and cleaning all surfaces, from the rugs and carpets to the countertops and bedding. If you have pets, make sure that they are getting bathed regularly.
Everyone with asthma should have an asthma action plan that will provide you with everything you need to know about handling your symptoms and when to seek emergency care. An action plan is something that your asthma specialist can create with you to make sure that you know what to do when a flare-up or attack presents itself.
Symptoms of a nickel allergy can appear anywhere within a few hours to a couple of days after exposure, and symptoms can last several weeks. Most people only develop a localized rash in the area where the skin has made contact with the metal; however, the rash can spread to other areas.
- A localized rash with or without bumps
- Intense itching
- Dry patches
- In more severe cases, you may develop fluid-filled blisters on the skin
If you’re dealing with a bout of contact dermatitis thanks to your nickel allergy there are ways to soothe the itching, redness, and discomfort of the rash. Some ways to ease your dermatitis are with calamine lotions, gentle moisturizers, cold compresses, and steroid creams (for more serious rashes).
You may take an over-the-counter oral antihistamine to reduce itching, particularly if the itching is severe. If the rash is severe or continues to spread, your allergist may prescribe a stronger medication such as an oral steroid.
- Crusty, itchy bumps on the skin (known as actinic prurigo)
- A burning rash that may develop a fluid-filled blister (polymorphic light eruption)
- Hives that may burn or itch
What causes sun allergies?
Some people can thank genetics for their sun allergy, while others may develop sun allergies due to certain medications such as antibiotics or antihistamines. In other cases, the cause is unknown.
What is the best way to handle a sun allergy?
It’s important that those with a hypersensitivity to the sun avoid spending extended periods of time outdoors, particularly between the hours of 10 am-4 pm. It’s important that everyone, particularly people with sun allergies, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Make sure to apply the sunscreen liberally for about 30 minutes before going outside.
If you are taking any medications make sure to check the labels to see if they mention anything about photosensitivity. If so, you must heed the warning and avoid being out in the sun as much as possible. If you have a true sun allergy, your allergist is going to be able to provide you with the best course of action to help you manage your condition and prevent sun allergies from flaring up.
If you suspect that you might have a photosensitivity disorder, or if you’re dealing with recurring hives, an allergist is often the best doctor to turn to for answers. An allergist can examine skin rashes and provide allergy testing to determine whether the sun or other allergens could be to blame for your symptoms.
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