Immunotherapy (Allergy Shot) Patient Information
Hyposensitization or allergy shots are administered to allergic patients who have failed to control severe symptoms by environmental control measures or medications. Each patient will be carefully evaluated prior to initiating allergy shots. Dr. Christie will take a full history, clinical examination and review skin prick tests for common inhalant allergens (pollens, dusts, and pets). Depending on your sensitivity to allergens, an individualized vaccine(s) will be made up in our office. In the majority of patients, allergy shots are very effective but take time before full benefit is noticed.
Allergy shots start at a very low dose which gradually increases over time until a maintenance dose is reached. Shots are given once or twice a week. After about 5 months, you may be on a shot every two weeks and at one year most allergy shots are given monthly. It usually takes about 6 months to reach a maintenance dose. This time will be longer if there is reaction to the allergy shots or if you cannot keep to the allergy shot schedule. Allergy shots are given over a period of 3 to 5 years and result in decreased sensitivity to allergens such as pollens and dusts.
Once you stop shots many patients no longer experience allergy symptoms. In a few patients, symptoms recur after many years but the symptoms are never too bothersome. A few patients may have another course of allergy shots in the future. Most patients start shots in the fall months with some benefit for the following spring and summer season, and further benefit observed after a year.
Allergy shots are usually well tolerated. However reactions may occur with allergy shots. You may get local redness at the site of the injection and very rarely a severe allergic reaction can occur after a shot. For this reason, allergy shots are given in a medical facility and you are asked to stay in the office for at least 30 minutes following your shot.
Allergy shots are usually covered by most health insurances. We advise that you check this before making up your vaccine and starting allergy shots.