Q:

How are allergy shots given?

A:

Allergy shots should only be given by a medical professional and are inserted into the subcutaneous layer of the skin, most commonly in the arm. These shots are filled with a serum that contains allergens.

According to Nationwide Children's, allergy shots, or immunotherapy, are given to people who have allergies to certain things in the air and environment; these shots allow the person to build up a better tolerance toward the allergen. Allergy shots are given in a series of injections, with the dose being increased after each injection. An allergy specialist will often give the first dose of the allergen, and the rest of the injections can be completed by a family physician. Most people who receive allergy shots must continue to do so on a regular basis to ensure the shots continue to build up immunity.

Because allergy shots inject a level of allergens into a person's body, there is a risk for allergic reactions and side effects. The most common side effects include redness, pain, swelling and itching at the injection site. Some people may have a reaction known as anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening. Due to the nature of the side effects, the first shot should be given in a doctor's office.


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