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Allergy Shots

Allergy shots are a type of treatment for allergies. The goal of the treatment is to make your body less sensitive to allergens. These are the substances that cause your allergies. This sheet tells you more about allergy shots and what to expect with your treatment.

Keep in mind that for best results, you must stick to your treatment schedule.

Healthcare provider giving shot in girl's upper arm. Woman standing in background.

What Are Allergy Shots?

Each allergy shot contains a small dose of the allergens you’re allergic to. The dose is increased slightly each time you get a shot. You’ll get shots once or twice a week until you reach a dosage that is known as your maintenance level. This may take about 5-6 months. Then, time between the shots is slowly increased to once a month. Shots can continue for a few years or longer.

Getting Your Shots

Allergy shots are given by injection into the upper arm. You may need one or more shots. You may feel a slight sting when you get each shot. Also, your arm may itch or feel sore for a few hours afterward. You may notice a small bump where you received each shot as well. If the bump becomes red, hot, or swells, alert your doctor.

After Your Shots

You’ll need to sit in the waiting room for 30 minutes. Before you leave, the injection site on your arm will be checked. This is to make sure that the site looks normal and isn’t showing signs of a reaction. If you do have a reaction, treatment can be given while you’re in the doctor’s office to help prevent any serious problems.

When to Get Help

In rare cases, allergy shots can cause a reaction called anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening problem that must be treated right away. Return to the doctor’s office, go to the emergency room, or call 911 if you have any of the following:

  • Itching or hives

  • Repeated sneezing

  • Coughing or wheezing

  • Tightness in the throat or chest or trouble breathing

  • Fainting or lightheadedness

Online Medical Reviewer: Emanuel, Ivor A, MD
Last Review Date: 6/19/2012
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.