When allergies make you miserable, you want relief stat! But a traditional allergy shot schedule can take months to work.
That’s why Dr. Laura Ispas of the Allergy Asthma & Immunology Institute offers an accelerated allergy shot schedule that gives patients in Leesburg, Virginia, much faster relief. If you’re looking for a lasting solution to your allergies, Dr. Ispas has the tools to help you.
So what is an accelerated allergy shot schedule and when is it used? Read on to learn how it works.
How do allergy shots work?
Allergies are a chronic condition where your immune system overreacts to a substance (an allergen) it considers harmful.
Allergens can be pet dander, pollen, bee stings, or virtually any substance your body considers a threat. When you’re faced with an allergen, your body produces histamine, a chemical that creates the allergic reaction — sneezing, swelling, or gasping for breath — that makes you feel miserable.
More than 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from allergies each year, and they turn to a host of treatments, including allergy shots, for relief.
Allergy shots (also called allergen immunotherapy) work like a vaccine. Allergy injections introduce increasingly greater amounts of an allergen into your body, which decreases sensitivity over time.
Traditionally, allergy shots are given in two phases. The build-up phase involves injections of increased dosages once or twice a week for 3-6 months. Once you reach an effective dose, your symptoms should abate or disappear. Then, you go in to the maintenance stage and receive injections every 2-4 weeks.
What is an accelerated schedule?
Also known as cluster or rush immunotherapy, an accelerated allergy shot schedule offers symptom relief in a shorter time frame than conventional allergy shots.
During an accelerated schedule, you receive a series of increasing doses in a single visit, with a 15-60 minute gap between each dose. This is typically done once a week for three weeks. With this schedule, you reach the maintenance stage within just 4-8 weeks.
Pros and cons of an accelerated schedule
The most obvious advantage of an accelerated allergy shot schedule is that you’ll receive lasting relief from allergy symptoms faster and with fewer visits to the allergist.
Over time, an accelerated schedule could save you money and time. You won’t be missing work and traveling to see an allergist as much as patients on a conventional schedule.
One disadvantage of an accelerated allergy shot schedule is that some patients suffer greater allergic reactions to the shots, although antihistamines and corticosteroids can prevent or minimize adverse reactions.
When is an accelerated allergy shot schedule used?
Rush immunotherapy is particularly effective for patients suffering venom allergies, particularly reactions to bee and ant stings, which can be severe. Reaching a maintenance dose more quickly provides faster protection against future insect stings and may be safer for patients who have adverse reactions to allergy shots.
If you suffer from allergy symptoms, book an appointment on our website or call the Allergy Asthma & Immunology Institute. Dr. Ispas also offers same-day appointments if your symptoms are severe, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.