How do allergy shots work

What to know about allergy shots

Allergy shots are how allergen immunotherapy is commonly administered. This method is a proven method of treating allergen reactions.

Allergy injections are a long-term treatment that aims to reduce the symptoms of allergies over time. They have been shown to reduce allergy sensitivity and provide lasting relief after treatment is stopped.

When an allergy shot is administered, a small amount of the specific allergen is injected into a person's arm, similar to a vaccine.

Fast facts on allergy shots:

  • Allergy shots are a proven allergy treatment and have been used for more than 100 years.
  • Most insurance plans cover the cost of allergy shots.
  • They have been shown to reduce the symptoms of many allergies.

How do you work?

Over time, the dosage of the allergen is given in increasing amounts to build the person's immunity or tolerance.

The treatment is divided into two phases.

Build-up phase

The injections are usually given once a week for the first 7 months, although in some cases they may be more frequent. Individuals often notice a decrease in their allergy symptoms during the gaining phase.

Maintenance phase

After the first 7 months, one injection every 2 weeks is usually sufficient. Finally, injections can be given every 4 weeks, and the full course of treatment usually lasts between 3 and 5 years.

The maintenance phase can often last 12 months before a person notices any improvement.

An allergy specialist will decide on the specific dosage and the time interval between injections and when to stop the dispensing of allergy donations.

Both adults and children can get allergy shots, although they are usually not recommended for children under the age of 5. This limitation is because of the difficulty in getting young children to cooperate and communicate when they experience side effects.

An allergist or immunologist with the proper equipment in their office, including treating side effects, should give allergy shots.

Are They Effective?

Allergy shots are a very great way to treat allergies. They can also prevent new allergies from developing, and prevent allergen rhinitis from turning into asthma in children.

They are effective in treating allergic asthma and can relieve allergic reactions that lead to asthma episodes. These benefits can improve breathing and reduce the need for asthma medication for asthma medication.

A study by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) also found that pregnant women who have allergy shots while pregnant have the chance of their baby developing allergies.

What can affect how well they work?

The effectiveness of the treatment will vary. Often times this has to do with the length of the program a person is on or the dose of the allergen.

Some people have permanent relief while others may relapse after stopping treatment. If a person does not get any improvement after 12 months of allergy recordings, it may be due to several factors:

  • wrong dose of allergen in allergy shot
  • missed allergens on first assessment
  • high levels of the allergen in the environment the person is in
  • Exposure to non-allergic triggers, such as tobacco smoke

If allergy shots don't work for any reason, an allergist or immunologist will be able to discuss alternative treatment options.

Side effects

Usually the only side effect people experience after an allergy shot is redness or swelling at the injection site. This can be done immediately after the injection or a few hours later.

In some cases, people may experience increased allergy symptoms, such as:

  • Sneeze
  • watery eyes
  • stuffy nose
  • Hives
  • Rashes

On rare occasions, a person can have a serious reaction to an allergy shot. These usually appear within 30 minutes of the injection, which is why they are given at the allergist's office and a person is asked to wait 30 minutes before leaving.

If a serious reaction, such as anaphylaxis, occurs, emergency medical treatment is required.

Anaphylactic shock

Anaphylactic shock is when someone has a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Allergens most commonly associated with anaphylaxis are:

  • Food
  • Insect bites
  • medication
  • latex

Symptoms of anaphylaxis are:

  • swollen throat
  • Panting
  • Chest tightness
  • nausea
  • dizziness

Anaphylactic shock must be treated immediately with an injection of adrenaline, also called adrenaline.

A second anaphylactic reaction, a two-phase reaction, can occur up to 12 hours after the initial shock.

Types of immunotherapy

Allergy injections have traditionally been the most common form of immunotherapy and are known as subcutaneous immunotherapy, or SCIT.

This treatment is when an allergen is injected under the skin.

There is now a newer form of immunotherapy called sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT.

The allergen is not injected under the skin, but administered as a tablet or drops under the tongue.

The problem with SLIT treatments is that they are limited to one type of allergen, but most people with allergies have more than one. In contrast, allergy shots can alleviate more than 1 allergen at the same time.

It is important that someone speak to their allergist about what the best route to immunotherapy is for them.


In some cases, a deductible or deductible may be required depending on the insurance plan. It is therefore worth contacting the insurer to determine the benefits.

The cost of allergy admissions without insurance can vary considerably. HealthSparq has estimated the price to be between $ 15 and $ 170.

It's also important to remember that while allergy injections can be expensive, the total cost of medical treatment is lower because that treatment can reduce the cost of other medications needed for allergies.