March 23, 2023

Can Allergy Shots Make You Sick? What You Should Know

Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, are a treatment used to help those suffering from allergies. They work by introducing small doses of an allergen to the body, gradually building up the patient's tolerance to it over time. 

Allergy shots are generally considered safe, but they can have some side effects, and it's important to fully understand the process before starting treatment. This article will discuss what you need to know about allergy shots and how they work.

Why Allergy Shots are Done

Allergy shots are most often used to treat allergies to pollen, mold, animal dander, and insect venom. But why are allergy shots done? 

Allergy shots can be effective for those with severe allergies that don’t respond to other treatments. They can also reduce the need for allergy medications, which can have side effects. In addition, allergy shots can help reduce the severity of an allergic reaction by introducing the allergen in small doses and helping the body build tolerance.

Allergy shots are usually given once a week for several weeks, and then the dosage is increased over time. This is known as the build-up phase. 

After several months, the maintenance phase begins, in which the patient receives shots once a month. The shots are usually given in the arm and can cause minor discomfort.

Allergy shots are not for everyone. Your doctor will work with you to determine if allergy shots are best for you. 

If you decide to get allergy shots, following your doctor’s instructions closely and attending all appointments is important. Allergy shots are a long-term treatment that can take several months to see results. However, allergy shots can be a safe and effective way to reduce symptoms for those with severe allergies.

The Risks of Allergy Shots

While allergy shots can be effective in many cases, they can also come with various risks that can make you sick. Let’s look at the potential risks associated with allergy shots.

The most common risk associated with allergy shots is the risk of anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can occur if a person is exposed to an allergen. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat, and a drop in blood pressure. If left untreated, anaphylaxis can be fatal.

Another potential risk of allergy shots is the risk of infection. Allergy shots are administered through a needle and can introduce bacteria into the body. This can lead to the development of an infection. It is important to take the proper precautions when receiving an allergy shot to reduce the risk of infection.

Lastly, there is the risk of an allergic reaction to the shot itself. Allergy shots are made up of a combination of allergens, and a person can have an allergic reaction to one or more of the components.


Symptoms of an allergic reaction to the shot may include hives, swelling, itching, and difficulty breathing. If a person experiences any of these symptoms after receiving an allergy shot, they should seek medical attention immediately.

Allergy shots can be an effective treatment for allergies, but it is essential to be aware of their potential risks. If you are considering allergy shots, speak to your doctor about the potential risks and benefits.

The Possible Reactions to Allergy Shots

While allergy shots can effectively reduce a person's symptoms and potentially even eliminate the allergen entirely, there are some possible reactions that a person may experience following the shot which can make them sick.

The most common and mildest reaction to an allergy shot is local irritation at the injection site. This can be minor swelling, redness, and itching. These symptoms usually resolve independently within a few hours and do not require any medical treatment.

The second possible reaction is a systemic reaction, which occurs when an allergen enters the bloodstream from the injection site and causes a response throughout the body. This type of reaction is more serious and can cause a wide range of symptoms, including itching, hives, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, throat, and lips. If a systemic reaction occurs, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

The third possible reaction is an anaphylactic reaction, which is a severe allergic reaction that can occur after an allergy shot or any other allergen exposure.

It is important to remember that while these reactions are possible, they are not common and can be easily treated if they do occur. Allergy shots can be a safe and effective way to reduce or even eliminate a person's allergy symptoms.

How to Manage Local Reactions

If you experience any local reactions to allergy shots, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is important. The doctor or nurse administering the allergy shots should be able to provide advice on how to manage the reaction. For example, they may suggest applying a cold compress or topical cream to reduce swelling and itching.

In some cases, the doctor may need to adjust the dosage or frequency of the allergy shots. This can help to reduce the risk of more severe reactions in the future. It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions carefully and to report any changes in symptoms or reactions.

How Do You Prepare for Allergy Shots

Taking the right steps when preparing for allergy shots is important, as it can help ensure a successful treatment.

The first step in preparing for allergy shots is to have an evaluation with an allergist or immunologist. This doctor will be able to determine what type of allergen you are allergic to and will prescribe the appropriate shots for you. 

The allergist or immunologist will also discuss any potential side effects of the shots and will provide information on the best way to manage them.

Once you have started the allergy shots, you must keep track of your reactions to the allergen. This can be done by keeping a diary and noting reactions, such as sneezing, itching, or hives. Your doctor may also recommend keeping an EpiPen handy in case of an allergic reaction.

It's important to follow the instructions given to you by your doctor when taking the shots. Arrive at your appointment on time and do not miss any scheduled shots. Missing a shot may cause the treatment to be less effective, so it's important to be consistent.

When preparing for allergy shots, it's also important to take care of yourself. Make sure to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. Additionally, you may need to avoid certain triggers, such as certain foods or activities. Make sure to discuss any concerns with your doctor.

The Downside of Allergy Shots

With the benefits of allergy shots and also the side effects that can make you sick, there is also an inconvenient downside. Allergy shots are administered regularly, usually once a week. This means that you will have to go out of your way every time to go get your shot. Otherwise, if you don’t or you happen to not stick to a consistent schedule, the allergy treatment will most likely not be successful. Initially, the shots will contain a very small dose of the allergen, which will gradually increase over time. During treatment, your doctor may also check your allergy symptoms to ensure that the shots are helping.

One of the biggest benefits of allergy shots is that they can help reduce or even eliminate allergy symptoms, but as mentioned, they may also come at a price which can get you sick. In a way, allergy shots are designed to help reduce the body’s sensitivity to allergens; over time, this can lead to a reduction in allergy symptoms. In some cases, the allergy symptoms can be eliminated entirely.

To Sum Up

Allergy shots can be an effective way to reduce or eliminate allergy symptoms for many people, but as compared to sublingual immunotherapy, they are a hassle to administer because of having to constantly meet with a clinician. Also, while allergy shots are generally safe, they carry some risks too that can make you sick, so they should be discussed with your doctor. 

Knowing the common side effects and being aware of the potential dangers associated with allergy shots can help you decide whether or not they are right for you. For effective sublingual immunotherapy for the prevention of allergy symptoms, Curex is an online allergy clinic that offers custom treatments to desensitize your body to allergens. Take a free allergy quiz now.

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