March 27, 2023

Allergy Immunotherapy: How Do Allergy Shots Work

Allergy immunotherapy is a type of treatment designed to reduce the symptoms of allergies. This article will provide an overview of allergy immunotherapy and specifically how allergy shots work including their effectiveness and uses.

What is Allergy Immunotherapy?

Over time, allergy immunotherapy exposes the immune system to small amounts of allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, or animal dander. The goal is to help the body build immunity to these allergens and reduce the severity of allergy symptoms.

Allergy immunotherapy is typically administered in a doctor's office or allergy clinic via allergy shots and the treatment can last several years. During treatment, the dose of allergens is gradually increased until the body can tolerate average exposure without experiencing symptoms. 

The goal of allergy immunotherapy is to stimulate the body's allergen tolerance, reducing the severity of the allergic reaction.

Who Can Benefit From Allergy Immunotherapy?

Allergy immunotherapy is a popular treatment that can benefit individuals with allergies. They are typically recommended for individuals who have moderate to severe allergies and have not seen improvement with other forms of treatment, such as medication or avoidance of allergens. 

Allergy immunotherapy can also benefit individuals who experience allergic asthma, as it can help reduce the severity and frequency of asthma attacks. 

It is important to note that allergy immunotherapy may not suit everyone. Discuss your plans with a healthcare professional to determine if this treatment is appropriate for your allergy symptoms.

How Immunotherapy Works With Allergy Shots

Allergy immunotherapy works by gradually exposing the patient's immune system to small amounts of an allergen they are allergic to through the administration of an allergy shot. This exposure helps the immune system tolerate the allergen, reducing the severity of allergic reactions. 

The process begins with an allergy test to identify the specific allergen causing the patient's symptoms. The allergen is then diluted and administered as a series of injections, starting with a shallow dose and gradually increasing over time. The objective is to reach a maintenance dose, which the patient will receive for several years to help maintain the immune system's tolerance to the allergen.

Allergy immunotherapy treats various allergies, including seasonal, pet, and insect stings. They are typically recommended for patients who have not responded well to other allergy treatments, such as medications or avoiding the allergen. 

While allergy immunotherapy requires a significant time commitment, with patients typically receiving injections once or twice a week for several months, the long-term benefits are well worth the effort. Many patients find that their allergy symptoms are significantly reduced or even eliminated, allowing them to live a more comfortable and enjoyable life.

What are the Uses of Allergy Shots?

Allergy shots are most commonly used to treat allergies that cause respiratory symptoms, such as hay fever and asthma. However, the treatment can also treat other types of allergies, such as insect stings.

  1. Hay Fever

Allergy immunotherapy effectively treats hay fever, a type of allergic rhinitis. Exposure to airborne allergens, including pollen, dust mites, and mold spores, causes hay fever. Symptoms of hay fever comprise sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.

  1. Asthma

Allergy immunotherapy has also effectively treated allergic asthma triggered by exposure to allergens. Symptoms of allergic asthma include wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.

  1. Insect Sting Allergies

Allergy immunotherapy can also be used to treat allergies to insect stings, such as bee stings or wasp stings. Insect sting allergies can cause symptoms such as hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing.

Are Allergy Shots Safe?

Allergy shots are a safe and effective treatment option for people with allergies. Allergy immunotherapy helps the immune system build up a tolerance to the allergen. The results can be long-lasting, relieving allergy symptoms and reducing the need for medication.

While allergy immunotherapy is generally safe, there is always a risk of side effects. Thus, it is essential to discuss the potential risks and benefits of allergy immunotherapy with a healthcare provider and monitor any symptoms after receiving them. 

Overall, allergy immunotherapy is a safe treatment option for people with allergies and can provide long-term relief from symptoms.

Possible Risks and Side Effects of Allergy Shots

Adverse effects are rare, but common side effects include redness, swelling, and itching at the injection site. Other side effects may include:

  • Sneezing, runny nose, or congestion

  • Itchy, watery eyes

  • Coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing

  • Stomach cramps, nausea, or diarrhea

The Pros and Cons of Allergy Shots

While allergy immunotherapy can be an effective way to manage allergies, there are pros and cons to consider before deciding if this treatment is proper for you.


  1. Long-term Relief: Allergy immunotherapy is a long-term solution for allergy sufferers. Unlike medications that only provide temporary relief, allergy immunotherapy can provide lasting relief for years, even after treatment.

  1. Customizable Treatment: Allergy immunotherapy can be customized to meet individual needs. Treatment plans can be tailored to address specific allergies and severity levels.

  1. Effective for Multiple Allergies: Allergy immunotherapy can simultaneously treat numerous allergy triggers, making them a convenient option for people with various allergies.

  1. Reduced Dependence on Medication: Allergy immunotherapy can reduce the need for allergy medications, which can be expensive and have side effects.

  1. Cost-effective: In the long run, allergy immunotherapy can be more cost-effective than medications, which must be taken regularly over time.


  1. Time-consuming: Allergy immunotherapy requires a significant time commitment, as it must be provided regularly over months or years.

  1. Results Can Take Time: Allergy immunotherapy takes time to become effective and it may take several months or even years to achieve significant relief.


Allergy shots is a type of immunotherapy treatment designed to reduce the symptoms of allergies. The treatment works by exposing the immune system to small amounts of allergens over time, intending to build immunity to these allergens. Allergy immunotherapy effectively reduces the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, and insect sting allergies. If you are considering allergy immunotherapy as a treatment option, discussing the risks and benefits with your doctor is essential.

Curex is an online allergy clinic that provides allergy sufferers with a convenient and effective alternative solution to allergy shots. Our custom treatments are designed to desensitize the body to specific allergens through sublingual (under the tongue) immunotherapy, providing long-lasting relief to patients. If you are looking for an excellent option for a more convenient and personalized approach to allergy treatment, contact us directly to learn more about our clinic's allergy immunotherapy services.

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