Living with an allergy is never fun. When you are frightened to walk in the grass bare-footed or afraid to lie in the grass and watch the clouds roll by with your kids because of being allergic to fire ant stings, learning more about your best defense is smart. Find out how you can benefit from allergy immunotherapy injections for your allergy to fire ant stings.
What Is Immunotherapy For Fire Ant Sting Allergies?
Immunotherapy, also referred to as allergy shots, exposes you to fire ant venom with the sole purpose of increasing your immunity to it. Each injection you get contains a tiny amount of the fire ant venom. You will go through two phases during your immunotherapy:
- Build-up phase: During the few weeks of your immunotherapy, you will receive shots a couple of times a week, each one increasing its amount of allergen. As the first few weeks go by, your body will start building up immunity to the injected fire ant venom (the allergen). The end of the buildup phase, usually around three to six months after you begin, will be when your system has built up a stronger immunity to the allergen.
- Maintenance phase: Once you have reached the recommended dose for your level of sensitivity to a particular allergen, you have reached the maintenance phase. During the maintenance phase, you will not need as many shots or as many visits. How well your allergy responded during the build-up phase is a great determining factor for how long your maintenance phase will last. For many people, the maintenance phase lasts up to a year.
If you have been accustomed to carrying allergy medication like an auto-injectable epinephrine device with you in case you are stung by a fire ant, continuing to do so until your allergist states otherwise is a good idea. This is especially true for people that spend a great deal of time outdoors during the months fire ants are active, usually in the spring and summer.
While you are undergoing immunotherapy for your allergy, taking precautions while outdoors is best. Always wear shoes whenever you are out, avoiding open-toed styles like sandals and flip-flops. Bear in mind that unlike bees, fire ants do sting at night, so if you have to go out in your yard after dark, always carry a flashlight so you will not step into a fire ant hill you weren't aware was there. Taking these kinds of precautions can be the best way to avoid suffering a deadly allergic reaction, especially during the early days of your immunotherapy. For any questions about immunotherapy or to schedule an appointment, contact Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Wyoming LLC.