Allergy shots, also called immunotherapy, are given to increase your tolerance to the substances that provoke allergy symptoms.
Allergy shots are recommended for people who suffer from severe allergies or for those who have allergy symptoms more than three months each year. The shots do not cure allergies, but reduce your sensitivity to certain substances.
How often they are given
Allergy shots are given regularly, with gradually increasing doses. When starting immunotherapy, you need to go to your healthcare provider once or twice a week for several months. The dose is increased each time until the maintenance dose is reached. If the shots are effective, the patient receives them every 2 - 4 weeks for 2 - 5 more years. The patient may become less sensitive to allergens during this time, and your allergy symptoms become milder and may even go away completely.
For two hours before and after your appointment, do not exercise or engage in vigorous activity. Exercise may stimulate increased blood flow to the tissues and promote faster release of antigens into the bloodstream.
Some medications, such as beta blockers, can interfere with the treatment and/or increase the risk of side effects. The patient may have to stop allergy shots if they are taking these medications.
What to expect afterwards
Usually, the patient is monitored for about 30-minutes after receiving the shot to verify that side effects do not develop e.g., itchy eyes, shortness of breath, runny nose or tight throat.
Redness, swelling or irritation within one inch of the site of the injection is normal. These symptoms should go away within 4 - 8 hours after receiving the shot.