Allergy shots are a form of treatment called immunotherapy. Allergy shots are injections you receive at regular intervals over a period of approximately three to five years to stop or reduce allergy attacks. Each allergy shot contains a tiny amount of the specific substance or substances that trigger your allergic reactions. These are called allergens. Allergy shots contain just enough allergens to stimulate your immune system — but not enough to cause a full-blown allergic reaction.
Allergy shots may be a good treatment choice for you if:
- Medications don’t control your symptoms well, and you can’t avoid the things that cause your allergic reactions
- Allergy medications interact with other medications you need to take or cause bothersome side effects
- You want to reduce your long-term use of allergy medication
- You’re allergic to insect stings
- Seasonal allergies. If you have seasonal allergic asthma or hay fever symptoms, you may be allergic to pollens released by trees, grasses or weeds.
- Indoor allergens. If you have year-round symptoms, you may be sensitive to indoor allergens, such as dust mites, cockroaches, mold, or dander from pets such as cats or dogs.
- Insect stings. Allergic reactions to insect stings can be triggered by bees, wasps, hornets or yellow jackets.
Allergy shots aren’t available for food allergies or chronic hives (urticaria).