Allergy treatments include prevention, medication and immunotherapy. The most commonly used form of immunotherapy is allergy shots. Allergy shots may be recommended when avoiding your triggers or taking medications is not effective or is not feasible.
Allergy shots are used to "desensitize" your immune system with a goal of reducing your underlying allergies. Small shots (similar to a diabetic insulin injection) are administered in the back of the arm, containing tiny amounts of your specific allergens. Over time the dose of these is gradually increased until guideline doses are reached.
Allergy shots are generally safe, but do need to be administered in a medical office. For patients who live out of town, we are happy to help facilitate allergy shots at their local primary care office. Board certified allergists tend to use high concentrations of allergy extract, as there is strong evidence that high concentrations are more effective (regardless of shot frequency) and therefore home allergy shots are not permitted. Every major allergy organization in the world supports this recommendation.
Benefits of allergy shots:
- When administered at evidence-based doses, allergy shots have been proven to be effective at treating allergic asthma, nasal and sinus allergy, as well as some forms of atopic dermatitis (eczema).
- Allergy shots can decrease the need for asthma inhalers
- Allergy shots also typically decrease the need for allergy medications