Wish you could get your allergies under control for once and for all? If so,  getting regular shots to desensitize or “turn off” your reaction to various allergy triggers shots may be a worthwhile treatment option to explore.  Some of the latest studies find that in addition to controlling allergies, this treatment method can even prevent asthma from developing in some patients.

Become Desensitized

If you’ve tried taking allergy medications and avoiding your triggers, but you are still plagued by allergy symptoms, you may want to consider trying immunotherapy. While the name may sound overwhelming, the concept is simple: your doctor injects very small amounts of an allergen (or allergens) right into your skin to prompt your immune system to build up a tolerance.  This procedure is painless and over time, can be effective. And the injection only takes a few minutes, although you will be required to stay in the doctor’s office for about half an hour after this treatment just to be sure you don’t experience side effects. (Minimal redness or swelling at the injection site is common but serious reactions are not typical.)

An Ongoing Commitment

While allergy shots can be effective, they are not a quick fix and in fact, require an ongoing commitment. Typically, they are given in two stages.
I: Patients begin by getting allergy shots weekly (one to three times a week can be typical) for a period of about six months. During this time, the amount of the allergens in the shot increases as your tolerance builds.
II: Next comes monthly shots to maintain the benefits. This can last for anywhere from three to five years.

Determining Your Allergens

To determine what substances set off your symptoms, an allergist will conduct skin test and/or a blood test to measure your response to a variety of common triggers. Some of the common problems treated by allergy shots include:

  • Seasonal allergies to plants, trees, grass and weeds
  • Indoor allergies to dust mites, mold, pet danger and cockroaches
  • Drug allergies to various medications
  • Serious reactions to insect bites and stings

The Benefits

The idea behind allergy shots is that once you’ve completed a course of immunotherapy treatment, you will have lessened or even eliminated your body’s response to the allergens in question. In many cases, the benefits remain long after the treatment has ended.

A Word of Caution

While allergy shots can be an effective course of treatment, doctors warn they may not be right for everyone. If you are pregnant or have any other health problems, always talk to your doctor and find out the best course of action for your individual situation.