Immunotherapy with allergy shots is a vaccine program that changes the immune system so that it becomes tolerant to allergens, the substances that produce the symptoms. Allergy shots are administered with an increasing dose to each weekly injection, testing the patient’s tolerance and response, until reaching a constant dose that is monthly administered, for at least 3 years.
Immunotherapy with allergy shots can be safely applied on children and patients with asthma or severe allergies (with anaphylaxis in history), only if the allergic disease is well controlled and monitored, and if the allergy shot and the dosage schedule are well chosen. In these conditions, only an allergist can decide and administrate the allergy shot.
If you don’t have health insurance, you pay separate fees for the allergy serum, about $100 for 10 shots, and $20 to $100 per visit for the administration of the injection. In case you need the shots weekly, you can pay from $1,560 up to $3,900 per year, in general for the first year because in the next ones the dose drops to two a month, meaning a yearly cost of $720 to $1,800, or even to one a month.
The patients with health insurance, usually pay a copay between $10 and $25 per visit, or a percentage of the real cost, from 10% to as high as 40%. This percentage means a cost between $500 and $1,300 for the first year. In the next ones the fees drop from $170 to $290 per year.
What are the allergy shots’ benefits?
Like any other vaccine, the allergy shot modifies the immune system by developing tolerance to allergens (the body no longer reacts to them). The immunity once installed is durable, often lasts for life.
As time goes, the needed allergy shots decrease and the allergen concentration at which you can expose without having any type of symptoms increases. In addition, allergy shots administered as soon as possible after diagnosis prevent the sensibilization to other allergens, and at patients with allergic rhinitis, they prevent asthma.
There are two types of adverse reactions at allergy shots:
1. Local reactions, at the injection site, redness, warmth, itching, swelling or pain occur immediately or within hours from the shot. They are the most frequent and total harmless and are usually treated with cold water compresses and the allergy treatment with shots gets intensified.
2. Systemic reactions, away from the injection site, like a generalized urticaria, blockage or runny nose, asthma attack. The most serious side-effect is anaphylaxis. These reactions are more rare than local ones and occur within the first 30 minutes from the allergy shot administration. The allergist knows exactly what to do and has everything necessary for their treatment, so, the medical supervision after the allergy shot is essential in order to prevent such inconveniences.
Should the average working Joe get allergy shots ?
We always encourage our readers to try to overcome any medical conditions they suffer from. Allergies aren`t an exception to this rule. They can be a big inconvenient in your life and could affect your professional or personal life. The cost is somewhat high, but with medical insurance the final price will be way smaller. If you have the necessary funds and spending the money won`t affect your your financial stability, then get the allergy treatment.
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