Many allergy sufferers take pills or use nose sprays to help ease their symptoms. There is no true “cure” for allergies, but many people have found allergen immunotherapy, or allergy shots to be the next best thing.
When something that you are allergic to comes in contact with your body, your immune system sends out the signal for your body to defend itself by producing a specific antibody to get rid of the allergen in your system. These antibodies create the symptoms we associate with an allergic reaction. Common allergens that may trigger nasal allergies include pollen from plants, dust, pet dander, and smoke. Other allergens include poison ivy, insect stings, antibiotics, and certain foods such as peanuts.
Allergy shots are designed to increase your tolerance of the things you are allergic to. They have been shown to be safe and effective in reducing allergic reactions to nasal allergies and insect stings. Allergy shots are not effective as treatment for dermatitis or headaches. Allergy shots are not an appropriate treatment for food or antibiotic allergies, and may actually be dangerous if used for these kinds of allergic reactions.
How Allergy Shots Work
If you are considering getting allergy shots to reduce your allergy symptoms, you will first be evaluated by an allergy specialist. This evaluation may include a skin test to find out exactly what allergens you react to. During the skin test, drops of various allergens are placed on the skin and observed to see which allergens cause a reaction. Using this information, your allergist will create an allergy shot specifically designed to help you build immunity to your specific allergens.
Allergy shots work in a way similar to a vaccine. When you get a shot you are injected with a tiny amount of the allergen you are allergic to. Over time, the amount of allergen in each shot is increased and your body builds up a tolerance to it so that when you encounter more of the allergen as you go about your daily activities, your body will not react as severely and your allergy symptoms will be reduced.