The goal of allergy shots and drops is to eliminate, or significantly reduce, the body’s excess immune system response to common substances that trigger an allergic reaction. This improvement is achieved by gradually exposing the body to controlled amounts of the known allergen. The allergen is delivered through a shot under the skin or via drops placed under the tongue (sublingual immunotherapy or SLIT). The exposure helps the body produced blocking antibodies so that it doesn’t react to allergens in the environment, eventually reducing the allergy symptoms, much like a vaccine causes the body to develop a tolerance or immunity to a disease.
Who is a candidate?
Those with allergy or chronic sinusitis symptoms can be treated with shots or drops to improve quality of life. Drops are a particularly good option for those who cannot come to the office or who have a history of problems with shots.
What to expect
Allergy shots are usually injected in the upper arm and patients will need to remain in the office briefly in case you have a reaction. To be effective, allergy shots are given on a schedule that involves two phases:
- Buildup – This phase generally takes months and shots are typically given 1-2 times a week. During the buildup phase, the allergen dose is gradually increased with each shot.
- Maintenance – Shots are given every 1-2 weeks thereafter.