Allergy shots help your body get used to allergens, the things that trigger an allergic reaction. They don’t cure allergies, but eventually your symptoms will get better and you may not have allergic reactions as often. Allergy shots, also called “immunotherapy,” may work for you if allergy medicines don’t work well.
How Often Do You Get Allergy Shots?
At first, you’ll go to your doctor once a week for several months. You’ll get the shot in your upper arm. It will contain a tiny amount of the things you’re allergic to – pollen, pet dander, mold and dust mites for example.
The dose will go up gradually until you get to what’s called a maintenance dose. After that, you’ll usually get a shot every 2 weeks for months. Then your doctor will gradually increase the time between shots until you’re getting them about once a month for 3-5 years. During that time, your allergy symptoms will get better and may even go away.
How Should I Prepare for Allergy Shots?
You will need to avoid exercise or doing anything strenuous for two hours before and after your appointment. That’s because exercise may increase blood flow to the tissues and cause the allergens to get into your blood faster. It’s not likely to cause a serious problem, but it’s best to be safe.
Tell your doctor about any other medicines or herbs and supplements you are taking. Some medications interfere with the treatment or increase your risk of side effects. You may need to stop allergy shots if you are taking these medications.
If you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant, ask your doctor whether you should continue to get allergy shots.
What Should I Expect After Allergy Shots?
Both The American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA) and The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) recommend that a patient receiving allergy injections wait in the doctor’s office for at least 30 minutes after receiving the allergy injection. Tucson ENT follows these guidelines.
Usually, you’ll stay at the doctor’s office for about 30 minutes after receiving an allergy shot to make sure that you don’t develop side effects like itchy eyes, shortness of breath/wheezing, runny nose or tight throat. If you get these symptoms after you leave, go back to your doctor’s office or go to the nearest emergency room.
Redness, swelling, or irritation right around the site of the injection is normal. These symptoms should go away in 4 to 8 hours.
When should I call my Doctor?
Call your doctor and go to the nearest emergency room if you develop shortness of breath, tightness in the throat, or any other symptoms that worry you after getting your shot.
Do I Have to Get a Shot?
Our office offers drops or tablets under the tongue instead of shots. It’s called sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). Like allergy shots, it exposes your body to an allergen, so you can gradually get used to it. You can give these drops and tablets to yourself at home daily.
Who Should Not Get Allergy Shots?
They may be more risky for people treated for high blood pressure and/or asthma. Be sure to tell your doctor about your health and any prescription medications you take.