Allergy immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, is a form of long-term treatment for allergic disorders that decreases allergic symptoms for many people by modulating the immune system in a beneficial way. Allergy shots decrease sensitivity to allergens providing lasting relief of allergy symptoms. Specifically, allergy shots contain extracts of proteins that are extracted from the environment. Extract manufacturers, regulated by the FDA, carefully process and refine allergens, such as pollen, dust, animal dander or mold to produce a concentrated, purified liquid protein extract that can be injected under the skin. Allergy shots are prepared and delivered by Dr. Roth to match the allergic sensitivities found on skin testing.
Allergy shots work like a vaccine. Your body responds to injected amounts of a particular allergen, given in gradually increasing doses, by developing immunity or tolerance to the allergen.
There are two phases:
Allergy shots are very effective and decrease many symptoms of allergies. Allergy shots can prevent the development of new allergies, and in children can prevent the progression of allergic disease from allergic rhinitis to asthma. The effectiveness of allergy shots appears to be related to the length of the treatment program as well as the dose of the allergen. Many people experience lasting relief from allergy symptoms.
There are inherent risks to receiving allergy shots. A typical reaction to an allergy shot is redness, swelling or itching at the injection site. This can happen immediately or occasionally several hours after the injection. Anaphylaxis is a systemic reaction to an allergy shot and is very rare. If it does occur, immediate medical attention is required. Symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction can include swelling in the throat, wheezing, nausea or dizziness. Most serious reactions develop within 20 minutes of the allergy injection. This is why the recommendation is to wait for at least 20 minutes after you receive allergy shots.