Allergy shots, also called “immunotherapy,” are given to increase your tolerance to the substances (allergens) that provoke allergy symptoms. They usually are recommended for people who suffer from severe allergies or for those who have allergy symptoms more than 3 months each year. Immunotherapy involves giving gradually increasing doses of the substance, or allergen, to which the person is allergic. The incremental increases of the allergen cause the immune system to become less sensitive to the substance, probably by causing production of a “blocking” antibody, which reduces the symptoms of allergy when the substance is encountered in the future.
How Often are Allergy Shots Given?
Allergy shots are given regularly (in the upper arm), with gradually increasing doses. When starting immunotherapy, the injection may be given once or twice a week for several months. The dose is increased each time until the maintenance dose is reached. If the shots are effective, the injections can be administered every 2 to 4 weeks for 2 to 5 more years. You may become less sensitive to allergens during this time, and your allergy symptoms will become milder and may even go away completely.
How You Should Prepare for Allergy Shots
For two hours before and after your appointment, do not exercise or engage in vigorous activity.
Tell us about all the medications you are taking. Some medications can interfere with the treatment. You may have to stop allergy shots if you are taking these medications.
Tell us if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, as you will have to stop allergy shots in this case.