Subcutaneous immunotherapy, or allergy shots, is a treatment method that focuses on building tolerance to an allergen over time.
Given small but regular doses of a substance that causes allergic symptoms, the body will eventually build up immunity. This results in a reduction or elimination of allergy symptoms, and can be an effective long-term treatment for allergies that do not respond to medications.
Allergy tests will be administered to help determine the substance to which you are allergic. An extract is then prepared, and shots are administered via the upper arm. The dose starts out small, but is gradually increased until a “maintenance phase” is reached. At that point, you will be given shots for as long as three to five years.
Other than a little redness or swelling, there are few complications or side effects associated with subcutaneous immunotherapy. Continuing to receive injections on a regular basis will further reduce the chances of having an adverse effect. The FDA-approved procedure is considered safe and effective, and is best for patients with allergies to pollen, mold, dust mites, and pet dander.