Allergy Shots for Adults

Lobster AllergyAllergy shots, also known as immunotherapy are given to increase a person’s tolerance to foreign substances called allergens. The common allergens include pollen, molds, dust mites, etc and these allergy shots are given against these allergens to help you from the allergic symptoms. The following article discusses in detail about

allergy shots for adults

which includes why they are given, how they are given, how they work and their possible side effects.

Allergies develop when the immune system recognizes a substance as foreign and releases certain chemicals to get rid of the allergen. It overreacts by releasing antibodies, known to be IgE antibodies, which cause allergic symptoms. Allergy shots (immunotherapy) aim at increasing the tolerance to allergens which cause allergic symptoms. Only a qualified physician can tell you whether allergy shots are necessary for you.

Who can be treated with allergy shots?

Allergy shots
or adults are given or recommended for those who suffer from allergic rhinitis/conjunctivitis, allergic asthma and stinging insect allergy. They are not preferable for people suffering from food allergies. Before administering allergy shots, certain issues are considered which include:

  • Severity of allergy symptoms or length of allergy season
  • Whether environmental changes or medications help to control allergic reactions
  • Avoiding long term use of medications
  • Time commitment as immunotherapy requires more time

Allergy shots for children are very effective as it helps in preventing the onset of allergen sensitivities or asthma. Allergy shots may create a risk for people who suffer from health illnesses or who are on a medication course.

How do allergy shots for adults work?

Allergy shots work just like vaccine. The body responds to the injected allergen and builds tolerance and resistance little by little. As the doses are increased, the tolerance and resistance also increases in the body towards that particular allergen. Later when you are exposed to that particular allergen by shots, there will be minimal, decreased or no allergy symptoms.

There are usually two phases of allergy shots – build-up phase and maintenance phase.


  • Build-up Phase –

    This phase ranges from 3 – 6 months, which involves receiving injections with gradually increasing amounts of allergens. The injections are given once or twice a week. At times, even rapid schedules are used.

  • Maintenance Phase –

    Maintenance phase usually begins when the most effective dose is reached. Every person may require different dose and it depends on how allergic a person is and his/her response to build-up phase. In this phase, there will be long gap periods between each injection, typically 2 – 4 weeks.

Are allergy shots effective?

Allergy shots can significantly reduce allergy symptoms when managed properly. In most of the people, it even reduces the need for allergy medications to a great extent.

  • One can notice the effects within 6 – 12 months of allergy shots injection.
  • Some people notice gradual improvement in the following 2 – 4 years.
  • Within 3 – 5 years, most of the people are desensitized to that particular allergen. This can be end for immunotherapy.

For a successful therapy, you need to do certain things. They are:

  • Follow correctly through the entire course of treatment. Do not stop it in the middle as it doesn’t work.
  • Make a commitment to follow your physician’s recommendations.
  • Try to avoid the particular allergen as much as possible. Only when you continue to avoid, this immunotherapy can work wonders.

Are there any side effects with allergy shots?

Allergy shots are usually safe with very less side effects. There are no long term severe reactions associated with it. But sometimes there is a risk of allergic reaction immediately after allergy shot injections. These reactions can be severe that are of two types – local reactions and systemic reactions.

Local reactions

are common which can happen immediately after injection or several hours after treatment. The signs include swelling or redness at the injection site.

Systemic reactions

are less common which develop within 30 minutes of treatment. The signs include hives, stuffy nose, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes. In some cases, these symptoms turn severe and accompany other symptoms and the reaction is known as anaphylactic shock. The symptoms include:

  • Throat or chest tightness
  • Swelling in the throat
  • Wheezing and difficulty in breathing
  • Light-headedness or dizziness
  • Irregular or rapid heart beat
  • Death
  • Loss of consciousness

Anaphylactic shock is an uncommon reaction, but is dangerous and even life threatening. This can happen when you are given wrong doses or when you stop taking them in the middle of the treatment course. The light-headedness, dizziness or loss of consciousness happens due to decrease in blood pressure. These symptoms happen when there is not enough supply of blood to the brain.

This is an overview of

allergy shots for adults.

Hope this article helped you in understanding about allergy shots in a better way.

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