Allergy shots, also called immunotherapy, are a type of long-term treatment for allergies. Allergy shots are given on a weekly basis for several months. It may take up to a year to see any improvement in symptoms. Allergy shots can then be given every few weeks for approximately 3 to 5 years.
Prior to beginning allergy shots, an individual is tested to determine his or her specific allergens. The individual is then injected with small and increasing amounts of those allergens. By injecting the individual with allergens, his or her immune system is slowly retrained, becoming desensitized to those allergens. This means that when the individual is exposed to the allergens in the real world, he or she mounts less of a reaction to them. Allergy shots can potentially trigger anaphylaxis, so they must always be given in a healthcare provider’s office under supervision.