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Allergy shots are a type of immunotherapy treatment. Small doses of substances to which you are allergic (allergens) are injected under your skin. Over time, your body may become less responsive to the allergens. This means that you may have fewer symptoms.
Allergy shots are given after careful skin testing for an allergy. When you start treatment, the shots are given once or twice a week. How often you get the shots gradually decreases.
Allergy shots are usually given in a doctor's office. It is normal to stay in the doctor's office for a short time after getting an allergy shot to be watched for possible serious reactions to the injected insect venom.
Redness and warmth at the shot site are common. But they'll go away after a short time.
Allergy shots may be used to help treat asthma if:footnote 1
Allergy shots may be effective in treating asthma that is caused by an allergen and can reduce asthma symptoms and medicine requirements.footnote 2
Allergy shots are safe if the shots are given correctly. The most common side effects are redness and warmth at the shot site. Some people may have reactions near where they had the shot, such as itching, hives, or swelling of the skin. More serious but less common side effects include symptoms that affect other parts of the body. Examples are hives, itching, and trouble breathing.
In rare cases, a person may have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the shots. Because of this possibility, the shots are given in a doctor's office or other setting where emergency care can be provided if needed. You must report any delayed reaction that you have to a shot. Late reactions can happen anytime within 24 hours after a shot.
Allergy shots may not be right for you if you:
National Institutes of Health (2007). National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma (NIH Publication No. 08–5846). Available online: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/asthma/index.htm.
Abramson MJ, et al. (2010). Injection allergen immunotherapy for asthma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (8). Oxford: Update Software.
Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters (2011). Allergen immunotherapy: A practice parameter third update. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 127(1, Suppl): S1–S55.
Current as of:
February 26, 2023
Author: Healthwise StaffClinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
Current as of: February 26, 2023
Clinical Review Board:
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
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