For some people, allergies are simply a seasonal nuisance, but for others, they can prove to be severe and debilitating year-round. Luckily, research has indicated that allergy shots are almost 90% effective at helping people deal with these troubles. However, this method isn’t a good fit for everyone. Like most medical treatments, allergy shots have a mix of both benefits and drawbacks—including some potentially serious side effects. Before you decide that allergy shots are the right approach for you,read this list of pros and cons.
- Allergy shots provide an effective alternative for people who have not had success with allergy medication. There are any number of reasons why certain medications won’t work—from not taking them as directed to building up a tolerance to them after repeated use. Allergy shots can help provide relief when other methods of treatment won’t work.
- Allergy shots may be a good choice for people with an aversion to medicine. Whether it’s because of the taste, physical sensations associated with swallowing it, or side effects, some people simply can’t deal with oral medication. Assuming that the person has no problem with needles, allergy shots offer an alternative option for relief.
- In the long run, allergy shots end up being less expensive than most allergy medications. While a patient will probably pay more for one shot than a box of Benadryl, the cost of medication will surpass the cost of shots over time, since they require constant use and frequent refills.
- Assuming that they respond well to treatment, most people experience a complete cure from allergies after receiving allergy shots. This is because, unlike allergy medications, these shots treat patients’ underlying immune system problems that cause their allergies, instead of simply treating the symptoms associated with them.
- Unfortunately, allergy shots are not effective at treating every type of allergy. While they are effective at preventing symptoms associated with pollen, pet dander, dust, and other household pollutants, they cannot help patients with food allergies or urticaria. Urticaria is a condition marked by chronic hives spurred on by some underlying disease such as lupus or hyperthyroidism.
- Immediately following an allergy shot, patients may experience some swelling, redness, and sensitivity surrounding the injection site. Typically this problem corrects itself within a day.
- For allergy shots to be completely effective, patients must adhere to a strict schedule for injections. Missing even one treatment can delay the onset of allergy relief. While patients are required to receive fewer shots as the process goes on, they sometimes require one or two shots each week in the early stages—and this can cause scheduling problems for people who are particularly busy.
- In the early stages of the treatment process, some patients may experience worsened allergy symptoms, due to the fact that the shots themselves contain allergens. This is a natural part of the process that decreases over time, but it can prove frustrating or painful at the onset of treatment.
- In extremely rare cases, some patients may go into anaphylactic shock after receiving an allergy shot. This is a life-threatening condition marked by an extreme drop in blood pressure and breathing difficulties and requires immediate medical attention. Most of the time, anaphylactic shock is due to increasing patients’ exposure to an allergen too quickly, so doctors will typically hold them for observation after their first few shots. This observation period may last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour—the time it takes for anaphylactic shock to kick in.