Immunotherapy: Allergy Shots
Immunotherapy Injections for Hay FeverMany thousands of people in the UK suffer from hay fever and the symptoms can turn a blissful spring and summer into a nightmare of sneezing, coughing and sore, watery eyes. There are a variety of ways to help deal with the symptoms of hay fever, such as decongestants and anti-histamines, but it’s true to say that the many options available to us at the moment generally combat only the symptoms of hay fever, rather than ‘curing’ the allergy to pollen itself.
The only treatment currently available that aims to cure the body of allergy altogether is immunotherapy. But it’s not suitable for everybody, and there is a strong argument against it's use. So talk to your doctor or allergy specialist about whether it might be appropriate for tackling your hay fever.
What is Immunotherapy?Immunotherapy aims to desensitise your body to an allergen – that means pollen in the case of hay fever sufferers. If your doctor recommends desensitisation, or immunotherapy, to manage your hay fever, you’ll be given a course of injections of tiny amounts of your trigger pollen. This course of injections could last several years. You’ll start with a single injection every week for about eight weeks. After that, the injections will start to take place every fortnight. Gradually, the injections will get further and further apart until you are having one every six weeks. You’ll then keep up this pace for about three years. That’s a lot of injections!
Over time, your doctor will increase the amount of trigger pollen you are given with each injection, so that your body slowly adjusts and gets used to it, realising that it is not a threat to you. It’s when your immune system wrongly perceives pollen to be a dangerous invader that you get the allergic reaction and all the unpleasant symptoms of hay fever.