Allergy Shots

May 23rd, 2011 by Helen Scholz

Allergy shots, also called “immunotherapy,” are used to intensify your tolerance to the allergens that provoke allergy symptoms (pollens, animals, etcetera). They usually are suggested for people who suffer from acute allergies or for those who have allergy problems more than three months out of the year. They do not eliminate allergies, but reduce your sensitivity to the allergens.
How Often Are Allergy Shots Given?
Allergy shots are applied regularly in the upper arm, with slowly increasing potency. The dose is increased every shot until the maintenance dose is obtained.
How Should I Prepare for Allergy Shots?
Strenuous exercise can stimulate increased blood flow to the tissues and cause faster release of the antigens into the bloodstream.
Some medications, like beta blockers, can cause problems with the treatment and/or increase the chance of side effects occurring. You may have to halt allergy shots if you are taking these medications.
Talk to your doctor about the safety of continuing the allergy shots if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
What Should I Expect After Allergy Shots?
Usually, you will be monitored for about 30 minutes after receiving an allergy shot to insure that you do not develop minor and sever side effects such as itchy eyes, shortness of breath, runny nose, or tight throat. If you happen to develop these symptoms after you leave your doctor’s office, ingest an antihistamine and go back to your doctor’s office immediately or go to the closest emergency room.
Are Allergy Shots Effective for All Allergies?
The effectiveness of immunotherapy can vary depending on the severity of a person’s allergies and the number of substances to which the person is allergic. For the most part immunotherapy is effective for allergies to stinging insects, a variety of pollens and dust mites, as well as for allergic asthma. It is also effective for molds and pet dander. Immunotherapy has not been proven to be effective for hives or food allergies.
When Should I Call My Doctor?
After receiving your allergy shot, call your doctor and go to the nearest emergency room if you develop shortness of breath, tight throat, or any other symptoms of concern.