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With allergy shots, specific amounts of allergen extracts are injected into the arm, causing the body to produce antibodies that block allergic symptoms over time. Also known as "allergen immunotherapy,” it strengthens the immune system to provide lasting relief while preventing new allergies and asthma.

Do allergy shots work? They can be highly effective when administered correctly over several years. Let’s look at how allergy shots work and who is a good candidate for the treatment.

How allergy shots work

Allergy shots work like a vaccine that is given in gradually increasing doses. Your body responds to injected amounts of a particular allergen by developing immunity or tolerance. While allergy shots are not typically used for food, drugs, or other types of allergies, they can help with specific environmental allergies such as:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander
  • Mold

You may benefit from allergy shots if you:

  • Have symptoms not addressed by allergy medications
  • Experience side effects from allergy medicines
  • Want to decrease medication use
  • Have severe reactions to stinging insects, including bees and fire ants
  • Want a better long-term solution to your allergy problem
  • Have allergic asthma, eczema, or atopic dermatitis, when the condition is associated with other allergies

You’ll receive the injection in your upper arm once a week for several months, generally three to six months. The amount of the allergen will increase while the space between your injections decreases, and you’ll receive a maintenance dose once a month when the adequate quantity has been reached.

Allergy shot effectiveness

You may notice decreased symptoms during the build-up phase, but it can take up to twelve months on the maintenance dose to see improvement. When allergy shots are successful, maintenance treatment is generally continued for three to five years.

Allergy shots decrease the symptoms of many allergies and can prevent the development of new allergies. In children, these shots can prevent the progression of allergic diseases, from allergic rhinitis to asthma.

Allergy shot effectiveness depends on the treatment program's length and the allergen's dose. Some patients experience lasting relief from allergy symptoms, while others may relapse after discontinuing allergy shots. Allergy shots may be ineffective due to the following reasons:

  • Inadequate dose
  • Missing allergens not identified during the evaluation
  • High allergen levels in the environment
  • Significant exposure to non-allergic triggers, such as tobacco smoke

During your visit to Texas ENT Specialists, we can determine if you would better benefit from allergy shots or if a different allergy treatment would be more beneficial.

About Texas ENT Specialists

At Texas ENT Specialists, we offer tailored treatments and surgery for a wide selection of ear, nose, and throat conditions. Since 1997, we have been striving to help the patients of Houston obtain long-term relief. We have 15 office locations across Texas to make it convenient for you to visit our ENT specialists in Houston and surrounding areas.


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