Venom hypersensitivity, or allergic reactions to bees, wasps, and other stinging insects, is a common problem. This condition may require the patient to carry an epinephrine pen or autoinjector for emergencies, and it can mean trips to the emergency room when stung. Luckily, there is a treatment available to decrease or eliminate venom hypersensitivity. It is called immunotherapy or allergy shots and is available for both adults and children.
What Is Immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is often referred to as allergy shots. In immunotherapy, the patient is administered a small amount of the allergen; in this case venom. The amount of allergen administered depends on sensitivity and is increased gradually over time. The purpose of allergy shots is to change how the immune system reacts to the allergen and hopefully reduce or eliminate symptoms with future stings.
Will Immunotherapy Really Eliminate Allergies?
Immunotherapy has been proven to be very effective in many cases. Individual results vary and depend on numerous factors. Some patients experience a complete elimination of their venom hypersensitivity which is maintained after the allergy shots are discontinued. For other patients, the hypersensitivity may recur after the allergy shots are stopped. Your results may vary, but most patients find some relief of symptoms with immunotherapy. In fact, studies suggest that 80 to 90 percent of patients who complete 3 to 5 years of venom immunotherapy will not have a future systemic reaction to a sting.
Who Is a Candidate for Immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is appropriate for children and adults There are some risk factors that may cause your allergist to discontinue or recommend against allergy shots. If you are interested in learning more and want to be evaluated for possible immunotherapy, contact us today to schedule your appointment.