Sometimes you do all you can to eliminate your child's exposure to the things he is allergic to and give medications to try to control the allergy symptoms, and still, your child seems to have significant allergy symptoms. What do you do then? Well, most physicians would offer the option of allergy shots. Below, I discuss what the rationale is for how allergy shots work. In addition, you should realize that allergy shots have come into some recent controversy as to whether they do even work. What this controversy is and what it means to you as a parent is discussed as well.
If you recall from "Runny Noses and Eyes Due to Allergies", the first step of having allergies involves having the thing the child is allergic to (the allergen) land in the eye and nose. The second step involves having the IgE come in contact with this allergen. The IgE then sends a signal to the cell to release its allergy symptom causing chemicals such as histamine. If you could eliminate step two (in other words, modify what the IgE does), then your child could come in contact with what he is allergic to all he likes without it causing symptoms. Eliminating step two is what allergy shots attempt to do.
It has been shown that when a person is allergic to a specific thing, such as oak pollen, and then that person begins allergy shots for it, two things occur:
- The body begins making proteins against the oak pollen. These proteins are called antibodies, and they bind to the pollen making it impossible for the pollen to bind to the IgE.