Allergy Shots FAQs
If avoidance of the things you are allergic to and medications are insufficient to control your allergies, or you have troubling ongoing symptoms, then we may recommend allergy immunotherapy, also known as “allergy shots”.
Allergy shots help to build your body’s natural resistance to your environmental allergic triggers. These triggers will have been determined during your allergy testing and an individualized allergy serum will be created for you by our allergy doctors based on what your allergy testing reveals. The allergy shots will contain very small doses of the things that you are allergic to such as pollen, grass, and weeds, as well as indoor allergens such as dust mites, molds, and animal/pet dander.
How are Allergy Shots Done and How Often Will I Get Them?
Allergy shots are always given under your doctor’s supervision. Shots are typically administered in your upper arms. Initially, you will come in once or twice weekly to our office of your choice for the first several months. After that time, the duration between shots will increase to two, three, and eventually, four weeks (that is your maintenance dose) at which time you will most likely come in monthly for several years. During that time, your symptoms will gradually improve. You will meet with your allergist periodically (every three to six months) to assess your improvement. While you are receiving allergy shots, you may also require some allergy medications to alleviate your symptoms.
How Should I Prepare for Allergy Shots?
You may want to avoid exercise or doing anything strenuous for two hours before and after your appointment. That’s because exercise may increase blood flow to the tissues and cause the allergens to get into your blood faster. It’s not likely to cause a serious problem, but it’s best to adhere to safety recommendations.
Tell the medical staff about any other medicines or herbs/and supplements in which you are currently taking, as they may have an impact on your current treatment plan. Some medications interfere with the treatment or increase your risk of side effects. You may need to stop allergy shots if you are taking these medications.
If you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant, ask your doctor whether you should continue to get allergy shots.
What Should I Expect?
The ideal required in-office waiting period after your allergy shot is 30 minutes to make sure that you are observed in case itchiness of the eyes, nose, throat, and/or skin, as well as respiratory symptoms, develop. If you develop these symptoms after you leave, please return to our office if you are in the immediate vicinity, or call us for instructions, as well as go to the ER if symptoms persist. We prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector pen, such as an EpiPen®, for our patients to carry with them for their shot visits.
Redness, swelling, or irritation at and around the site of the injection is normal. A brief ice compress applied to the site of the injection is helpful in reducing redness, itchiness, and any discomfort. These symptoms should go away in 4 to 8 hours, however, please report any localized skin symptoms at your next visit.
Do Allergy Shots Really Work?
A lot depends on how many things you are allergic to and how severe your symptoms are. Generally, allergy shots work for environmental allergies to allergens such as bee stings, pollen, such as grass, weeds, trees, house dust mites, mold spores, cat, dog dander, and even cockroach. Currently, there are no allergy shots to cure foods, drug(s), or latex allergies.