Understanding Immunotherapy For Your Sting Allergies

Posted on: 18 November 2015

If you're diagnosed with an allergy to insect stings, you'll have to be as proactive as possible about identifying and avoiding the hazard as well as treating exposures. You'll want to work with an allergist for the testing and evaluation. Additionally, your allergist might recommend that you undergo immunotherapy to deal with your allergies. If you're not familiar with immunotherapy treatment, here's a look at some of the basics to help you determine if it's right for you.

How Does It Work?

Immunotherapy exposes your body to allergens in very small doses through direct injection. The exposure to small amounts repeatedly allows your body to build up a tolerance that helps reduce the risk of serious reactions. This is the same basic reaction as your body has to a vaccine.

Most immunotherapy is conducted in stages. It starts by building up the levels in your body through repeated injections a few times a week. The injections increase progressively, introducing your body to more of the allergen in each dose.

When you reach the end of this stage, you'll move to maintenance. This requires you to visit your allergist every couple of weeks for further treatment. This helps to maintain your immunities. Depending on the severity of your allergies, this phase may last for several years before your body is finally resistant to the sting.

How Effective Is It?

Immunotherapy is effective at reducing symptoms for many different allergens, including stings. It can also help you reduce the risk of developing any more allergies, because your body's immunities will be strengthening. How effective it is for you will depend on the length of time your treatment spans and how much of the allergen you're treated with.

There are, however, a few things that can hinder your body's reaction to immunotherapy. If you have an allergy to something that your allergist hasn't identified yet, it could interfere with the success of the treatments. If the dose that you receive isn't enough to trigger your immune response, the treatments won't be effective either.

Are You a Good Candidate for It?

Most any child or adult is a good candidate for immunotherapy, provided that the child is over five years old. Kids under five may be able to receive the treatment, but they aren't always as good at communicating their symptoms, which can put them at risk of unidentified complications. If you have an underlying health condition, you may also be discouraged from treatment. Otherwise, you are likely to be considered a good candidate and have a good chance of success from immunotherapy treatment.

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