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What is immunotherapy? Will it reduce my son’s seasonal allergies -- and is it worth the money?

What is immunotherapy? Will it reduce my son’s seasonal allergies -- and is it worth the money...

Immunotherapy is a series of injections that helps build the body’s immunity to substances that trigger allergy symptoms. Each shot contains a tiny amount of the offending allergen. Over time, your immune system builds up a tolerance, which means that those sniffles and watery eyes lessen or even disappear.

Since immunotherapy is a commitment -- the entire course takes years -- it’s recommended for people who have multiple allergies and suffer from symptoms at least three months out of the year. Speak with your pediatrician about your son. Most doctors, including myself, advise that children should be at least 5 years of age to start allergy shots.

If your son is a candidate, consider whether or not you’d be able to take him to the doctor’s office regularly. He’ll need to get shots once a week for several months, and then once a month or so for two to five more years.

Next, check in with your insurance company. Most cover immunotherapy, but some have a yearly maximum or deductible. It’s important to have a clear idea of what’s covered before you begin treatment.

The good news: 85 to 95 percent of patients experience a significant improvement in their allergy symptoms. And for most, those benefits last for life. What’s more, immunotherapy will protect your son from developing allergy-induced asthma and other types of allergies.

Has anyone in your family tried immunotherapy? Did it work? Join the conversation