If you’re one of the countless people who suffers from pollen allergies, you may be dreading the arrival of spring, and you might be considering allergy shots to make the season a bit more tolerable.
For many people, allergy shots are extremely effective, but there are a few things you need to know. Keep reading to learn what to expect when undergoing immunotherapy for your allergies.
When you first begin immunotherapy, you will be given injections at the lowest dose and gradually work up to the highest does. In the beginning, you will need shots once or even twice per week. In time, doses will be spread further apart.
Before Your Injection
You should always take an antihistamine at least 30 minutes before your appointment. Doing so will help with any symptoms that you may experience as the result of the shot. If you noticed any unusual symptoms following your last injection, let you doctor or nurse know prior to the administration of your next dose in case adjustments need to be made. Also, let someone know if you’re taking any new medications.
Don’t engage in exercise or strenuous physical activity before your shot. Increased blood flow and heart rate could cause the shot to circulate through your system faster than it should. You should also avoid exercise for at least two hours after receiving an allergy injection.
After Your Appointment
Prepare to stay in your doctor’s waiting room for 20 to 30 minutes following your injection. This is required to ensure your safety in the event of an allergic reaction. If you experience any usual symptoms during this time or after you leave, it is important to let your doctor or a nurse know right away.
It can take several months for the effects of immunotherapy to become apparent. The entire course of treatment usually lasts three to five years, and most patients do not notice allergy relief until they have been receiving injections for at least three to six months.
Sleep apnea is a common condition in which you stop breathing while sleeping. The pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes, and sufferers may stop breathing 30 times or more per hour.
In most patients, sleep apnea is an ongoing condition that disrupts sleep, commonly causing the sufferer to shift from deep sleep into lighter sleep.
Sleep apnea causes a poor quality of sleep, often causing patients to feel drowsy during the day. In fact, sleep apnea is a leading
cause of excessive daytime tiredness.
How Sleep Apnea is Diagnosed
Many cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed simply because the patient is unaware that there is a problem. Sleep apnea cannot be detected during a routine office visit, and there is no blood test for sleep apnea.
In order to diagnose sleep apnea, patients must participate in a sleep study in which his or her sleep is carefully monitored by a medical professional.
Types of Sleep Apnea
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleepapnea, or OSA. In patients with this condition, the airway becomes blocked or collapses during sleep, resulting in breathing pauses or shallow breathing. Air that manages to squeeze past the blockage can cause loud snoring.
Central sleep apnea is another, less common, type of sleep apnea. This condition occurs as the result of the area of the brain that controls breathing not sending correct signals to the breathing muscles. Patients with central sleep apnea make no effort to breathe for brief periods during sleep. Snoring typically does not occur in cases of central sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Risks
When left untreated, sleep apnea can…
Increase the risk of or worsen heart failure
Increase the risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity and diabetes
Increase the risk of irregular heartbeats
Lead to an increased risk of driving or work-related accidents
How Sleep Apnea is Treated
Because sleep apnea is a chronic condition, long-term management is generally necessary. CPAP machines, mouthpieces, surgery and lifestyle changes are all commonly prescribed. Your doctor will determine the best course of action depending upon your symptoms, the severity of the condition and other factors.