Allergy shots help your body get accustomed to allergens, the things that trigger an allergic reaction. Shots treat the underlying cause instead of the symptoms. Overtime the injections decrease the antigens so you are no longer producing allergic antibodies and you no longer get the reactions.
With over 40 years experience in private practice our Board Certified Internal Medicine Physicians - Board Certified Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Specialists Dr. George L. Martin and Dr. Naveen Nannapaneni do not put a "band-aid" on allergic diseases. We prefer to treat the underlying disease in a definitive manner. Simply stated, if you stop your allergy medications your allergy symptoms will return as the underlying cause is not treated. By treating with definitive therapy such as immunotherapy (allergy injections), the cause of the excessive production of the allergic antibody is treated, alleviating the allergic reaction causing nasal, eyes, sinus and respiratory symptoms. After continuing immunotherapy through to maintenance doses and discontinuing the injections, the allergy symptoms to not return as they would with the discontinuation of allergy medication.
How often do you get allergy shots?
In order to prepare your immune system properly visit your doctor one or twice a week for several months. Your health care professional will give you a shot in your upper arm. The shot contains a tiny amount of the thing you are allergic to – for example pollen, animal dander, mold, dust mites, or bee venom.
The dose will gradually increase over time until you get a maintenance dose. Usually you receive a shot every 2-4 weeks for 4-5 months. Your doctor will gradually increase the time between shots until you are receiving shots one a month for 3-5 years. During that time your symptoms will improve and may even go away completely. If your symptoms don’t improve after a year of shots, your doctor will consult with you alternative treatment options.
How should I prepare for Allergy shots?
In order to be safe, it is recommended to avoid exercise or doing anything strenuous for two hours before and after your appointment. This is because exercise may increase the blood flow to the tissues and can cause the allergens to get into your blood faster. It is not likely to cause a serious problem but it is advised.
It is important to inform your allergist about any other medications or herbs and supplements you are taking. Some medications can interfere with the treatment or increase your risk of side effects. You may need to stop taking allergy shots and look into other treatment options if you are taking these medications. If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, consult with your doctor about continuing with your allergy treatment.