What are allergy shots?
Allergy shots are a form of immunotherapy. Basically, the principle is to inject a small amount of what the patient is specifically allergic to. Allergy testing is used to determine what goes in the shot. Typically the shot is given once a week.
Who Can Benefit From Allergy Shots?
Both Adults and Children can benefit from allergy shots. Normally, patients that are significantly symptomatic from their allergies and not responding adequately to routine standard allergy therapy are excellent candidates for immunotherapy.
You and your allergist should base your decision regarding immunotherapy on:
- How well medications and/or environmental controls are helping your allergy symptoms
- Time available for treatment
- Length of allergy season and severity of your symptoms
Please note that allergy shots are not used to treat food allergies. At this time, the best option for people with food allergies is to strictly avoid that food.
How Do Allergy Shots Work?
When you receive immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots, your allergist or doctor injects small doses of substances that you are allergic to (allergens) under your skin. This helps your body develop immunity or tolerance to the allergen.
You must first have skin testing to find out which allergen you are allergic to. Your allergist injects under your skin a solution of salt water (saline) that contains a very small amount of the allergen(s). Patients are observed for approximately 20 minutes.
How effective are allergy shots?
Allergy shots are very effective in most patients in reducing their allergy complaints and need for medications. Compliance is a significant issue with shots as it may be difficult to make it to the doctor’s office weekly. For this reason, allergy drops may be more effective.
How long will it take to see results?
Typically patients will see improvement in their allergy symptoms within approximately one year on shots.
What happens if my allergy shots are not effective?
Typically, as long as the patient is compliant with therapy, it will be successful. Like all therapies, it is possible that the therapy will not be successful. Shots, unlike drops, can only treat what is positive on skin testing and allergy drops may be a better option for someone failing allergy shot therapy, as they can also treat items that the patient is significantly allergic to that do not show up on allergy skin testing.
are allergy shots safe?Are there any risks?
Allergy shots are safe but there is a very small risk of anaphylaxis. For this reason, they administered in the doctor’s office.
Schedule A Consultation
If you would like more information on allergy shots, contact our Austin, TX office today! Call 512-601-0303 to schedule a consultation with ENT specialist Dr. Daniel Slaughter.