Allergy shots are the most natural way to treat allergic conditions. The injections only contain the purified allergens mixed with saline. By injecting gradually increasing doses of the allergen, the immune system develops tolerance and no longer exhibits an allergic reaction. Over time the patient can be cured of their allergy. There are two phases:
- The Build-up Phase: This involves receiving injections with increasing amounts of the allergens about one to two times per week. The length of this phase depends upon how often the injections are received, but generally ranges from three to six months.
- The Maintenance Phase: This begins once the effective dose is reached and, in most cases, lasts for three to five years. The effective maintenance dose depends on your level of allergen sensitivity and your response to the build-up phase. During the maintenance phase, there will be longer periods of time between treatments, ranging from two to four weeks. Your allergist / immunologist will decide what range is best for you.
For the first year, shots are administered once weekly in our office. Once the maintenance dose is achieved, this is spaced out to monthly. Some clinics allow patients to administer allergy shots at home. Based on published guidelines set forth by our international allergy societies, we feel that this practice is unsafe due to the potential for allergic reaction due to allergy shots (which is low, but present).