Allergic to Dust and Your Pet? We Can Offer Relief

Jan 01, 2023
Allergic to Dust and Your Pet? We Can Offer Relief
You love your pet and you love your home. But both of them make you sneeze, itch, and feel like you want to spend your life in bed. You don’t have to live in a dustless cave, companion-free. You can get help with your allergies instead.

More than 50 million women, men, and children in the United States suffer from allergies. Even though allergies are usually benign, they’re the sixth-leading cause of chronic illness.

Allergies sometimes seem to be an unfair affliction. Often, we develop sensitivities or even allergies to the foods, seasons, environments — and pets — we love the most.

Allergies to pet dander and dust motes are among the most common types of allergies. If you live indoors with a dog, cat, or other furred companion, dander and dust are undoubtedly all over your home. Although you can try to control your allergies by avoiding triggers, if a trigger warms your heart, you probably just can’t. Or won’t.

Lakshmi Reddy, MD is an expert who diagnoses and treats all kinds of allergies and sensitivities at the Allergy and Asthma Institute in North Atlanta, Georgia. If you react to common indoor allergens, such as pet dander and dust, you deserve relief so you can enjoy your home and your fur baby, too. 

Allergy shots turn off allergies

Although you can control allergies with medications, if you’re constantly exposed to an allergen in your living environment, you may do better with allergy shots. Allergy shots are a type of immunotherapy that acclimates your body to allergens over time so that you stop reacting to them. 

One bonus with allergy shots is that by decreasing your reaction to an allergen, you no longer have to take anti-allergy medications. Here’s how allergy shots work.

Allergy shots retrain your immune system

If you have allergies, your immune system is overreacting to substances that healthy immune systems ignore. In your case, when you inhale dander or dust, your immune system goes into attack mode. An immune system on attack unleashes symptoms such as:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Redness
  • Swelling 
  • Hives
  • Rashes

An allergy shot starts to break up this reactionary cascade. Like a vaccine, it introduces a minute amount of an allergen into your body so your immune system learns to tolerate it. Gradually, the amount of allergen is increased until you can be reaction-free to the kind of dose you’d be exposed to in real life.

Allergy shots take time

Unlike allergy medications, which immediately alleviate symptoms, allergy shots take time to work because they alter the way your immune system works. You must go through two phases before you notice a difference in your reaction to your (former) allergens:

1. Build-up phase

During the first phase, you receive 1-3 injections per week at our clinic. The build-up phase usually lasts between 3-6 months, but varies by individual. Each injection contains a slightly higher dose of the allergen to “build up” your tolerance.

As you near the end of a build-up phase, we re-test your response to an allergen to see if it’s sufficiently less than it was before your first allergy shot. If your reaction is minor, you move on to the maintenance phase.

2. Maintenance phase

Once you've reached an effective dose with your allergy shots, you don’t have to receive them as often. You may only need one shot every 2-4 weeks.

Even though the build-up phase lessened your reaction to the allergen, you may still have symptoms when exposed to it for up to a year or more once you enter the maintenance phase. You usually continue to get maintenance injections for 3-5 years. During this time, your symptoms gradually decrease.

You may notice an improvement in your first year. By the third year, you usually become so desensitized to the allergen that you no longer react to it. 

Allergy shots reduce complications

Not only do your allergy shots reduce your reaction to the specific allergen they’re designed for, they prevent you from developing new allergies, too. In children, allergy shots stop an allergy from progressing to allergic rhinitis, which can lead to asthma.

Allergy shots aren’t for everyone

Before deciding on allergy shots, we take a medical history, conduct an examination, test you for allergies, and also ask you questions about your lifestyle and environment. Allergy shots may not be right for you if you:

  • Have high levels of allergens in your home
  • Are exposed to other triggers, such as cigarette smoke
  • Can’t commit to long-term treatment

When allergy shots aren’t the treatment of choice for you, we make other recommendations to keep you comfortable and healthy. 

Find out if you or your child could benefit from allergy shots today. Contact us today by phoning our helpful team at 678-615-7878. Or, at your convenience, book an appointment online