Allergy shots what is in them

Allergy shots can reduce your reaction to allergens, which can result in fewer or less severe symptoms. They may also prevent children who own allergic rhinitis from getting asthma.footnote 1 Recommendations on when to get allergy shots vary, but in general you and your doctor may consider them when:

  1. You are allergic to only a few substances, and they are hard to avoid.
  2. You desire a treatment for the cause of your allergy, rather than treatment for just the symptoms.
  3. Allergy symptoms are severe enough that the benefit from the shots outweighs the expense and the time spent getting the shots.
  4. You own another condition that is being affected by allergic rhinitis, such as asthma.
  5. Side effects of medicines are a problem.
  6. Avoiding allergens and using medicine do not control symptoms, or you own to take medicine every the time to control symptoms.
  7. You desire to lower the chance that you will develop asthma.

Treatment Overview

When you get immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots, your allergist or doctor injects little doses of substances that you are allergic to (allergens) under your skin.

This helps your body «get used to» the allergen, which can result in fewer or less severe symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

Your allergist will use an extract of grass, weed, or tree pollen; dust mites; molds; or animal dander for allergy shots. You must first own skin testing to discover out which allergen you are allergic to.

Your allergist injects under your skin a solution of salt water (saline) that contains a extremely little quantity of the allergen(s). At first, you get the shot once or twice a week. You gradually get more of the allergen in the shots.

After about 4 to 6 months of weekly shots, you are generally getting the best quantity of allergen in the shot.

This is called the maintenance dose. When you reach the maintenance dose, you get the same dose in shots every 2 to 4 weeks for the next 4 to 6 months.

The period between shots is gradually increased to about a month. And the dose generally stays the same each month. After 1 year of maintenance, your allergist will check to see if you own fewer or less severe symptoms. If your allergy symptoms own not changed, you will no longer get the shots. If your symptoms own improved, you may continue to get monthly shots for up to 3 to 5 years.footnote 1

Other ways to get this treatment are called cluster or rush immunotherapy, in which you reach the maintenance dose more quickly.


Allergy shots almost always are safe if given correctly.

Redness and warmth at the shot site are common.

Allergy shots what is in them

Overall body reactions, such as hives, asthma symptoms, and low blood pressure, are not common. Because of the possibility of a life-threatening reaction (anaphylaxis), you get the shots where emergency care is available.

If you or your kid has another condition, such as asthma, you may be more likely to own a severe reaction to the shots. You should own your asthma well controlled before you get allergy shots.

What To Expect

You get allergy shots in your allergist’s office.

You will stay in the office for 30 minutes after you get the shots, in case you own a severe reaction (anaphylaxis) to the injected allergens.

Redness and warmth at the shot site are common.

Allergy shots what is in them

But these go away after a short period of time.

What To Ponder About

Although expensive, allergy shots may cost no more than the combined cost of medicine, doctor and emergency room visits, and missed days of school or work over several years. But you may need to take regular shots for 3 to 5 years. And it may take a year or more for symptoms to improve.

Allergy shots what is in them

If the treatment schedule would be hard for you to follow, you may desire to ponder about other options. During your treatment, you should see your doctor at least once every 6 to 12 months.

Allergy shots treat an allergy to just one allergen or a extremely closely related group of them, such as grass pollens. If you are allergic to more than one type of allergen, you may need to get shots for each type of allergen to relieve every of your symptoms.

Allergy shots what is in them

The allergens can generally be combined into one or two shots.

Children younger than 2 should not own allergy shots. Children ages 3 to 4 may discover it hard to get numerous shots over a endless period of time. Talk with your doctor about whether allergy shots are correct for your child.

Older adults may be taking medicines or own other medical conditions that may increase the risk of a severe reaction to allergy shots.

You must report any delayed reaction to an allergy shot. Tardy reactions can happen any time within 24 hours after a shot.

Reactions may just affect the injection site (such as a large, red or raised area around the site) or they may affect your overall body (such as trouble breathing).

Pregnant women who are already taking allergy shots may continue them. But do not start taking them during pregnancy.

Allergy shots should not be used when you:

  1. Have had a recent heart attack, unstable angina, or other heart problems or are taking beta-blockers.
  2. Are unable to communicate (can’t tell your doctor about reactions to shots).

    Most doctors do not give allergy shots to children younger than 5.

  3. Have an immune system disease (such as AIDS).

Sublingual immunotherapy may be another way to treat certain pollen allergies. Instead of getting shots, you dissolve a tablet under your tongue daily.

Allergy shots what is in them

Each tablet has a little quantity of allergen in it. This treatment, love allergy shots, helps your body «get used to» the allergen, so your body reacts less to it over time. Oral and sublingual immunotherapy is being studied for other types of allergies also.

How Well It Works

Allergy shots are effective in treating allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma. The shots reduce symptoms in those allergic to pollens, animal dander, dust mites, mold, and cockroaches.

Allergy shots what is in them

Experts do not know how endless allergy shots work after you stop getting the shots. Some people may not own their allergies return.

Allergy shots what is in them

Others may own allergies return within a few years.footnote 1

Although you still need to avoid allergens, you may be capable to use less medicine or stop using medicines.