Immunotherapy is a type of treatment for individuals who suffer from allergies. Immunotherapy involves regular allergy shots which are given in increasing doses to increase the patient’s tolerance to the substances that they are allergic to. Over time this reduces the patient’s sensitivity to the specific substance so that their allergy symptoms become milder and sometimes even disappear.
Allergy shots are typically gives to individuals with severe allergies and those who suffer from allergies for more than three months out of the year. Allergy shots are generally more effective for allergies to stinging insects like bees, pollens, dust mites, allergic asthma, molds and pet dander. Hives and food allergies are generally not treated effectively with immunotherapy.
Shots are given one to two times per week for the first few months, and then every two to four weeks for two to five more years. You will need to follow your doctor’s pre-treatment instructions which may include the avoidance of exercise and vigorous activity for several hours beforehand and the avoidance of certain medications. Patients are typically monitored for thirty minutes after treatment to watch out for side effects like runny nose, shortness of breath, tight throat or itchy eyes. Some swelling, redness or irritation may occur at the injection site and these side effects typically fade within four to eight hours.