What are the side effects of allergy shots

You get allergy shots in your allergist’s office. You will stay in the office for 30 minutes after you get the shots, in case you own a severe reaction (anaphylaxis) to the injected allergens.

Redness and warmth at the shot site are common. But these go away after a short period of time.


  • Allergy shots (Immunotherapy injections) are istered to allergic patients who own severe symptoms that affect their quality of life. Most allergic patients do not need allergy shots for treatment of their symptoms.

    What are the side effects of allergy shots

    If however, medications and/or environmental changes are not sufficient to minimize symptoms, allergy shots may then be the only effective option available. In persons who require multiple medications to control their symptoms, allergy shots may actually be a cost saving option when considering the pharmacy «co-pays» and the out-of-pocket expense of «over-the-counter» drugs such as «Claritin» and «Allegra.»

  • «RUSH» Allergy shots are available at our office.

    This treatment option is offered as a convenience to those who would otherwise own difficulty complying with the schedule required by our «conventional protocol». With the RUSH treatment protocol, every of the shots normally istered from a single extract dilution bottle can be completed in a 3-hour session (seven shots). Two of the four dilution vials (the weakest strengths) can be istered by «RUSH» and may be completed in as little as 1 day. This would otherwise require 16 separate office visits using our «Conventional» allergy shot schedule.

    What are the side effects of allergy shots

    «RUSH» shots may provide more rapid improvement in allergy-triggered symptoms since the maintenance dose can be reached quicker. We own found that «RUSH» treatment is as safe as «conventional» treatment when medications (pre-meds) are given prior to the injection(s) to prevent allergic reactions.

    What are the side effects of allergy shots

    In our prior clinical experience, (2002-2004) we found that in 255 patients who completed «RUSH», only one allergic reaction occurred in anyone treated with either of the first two dilution vials. Since our pre-meds appear to protect against systemic allergic reactions, we now recommend that all persons on allergy shots, even those on the slower «conventional» build-up protocols take our chosen combination of pre-meds prior to their shots.

  • Immunotherapy is generally extremely effective for the treatment of nasal allergies and approximately 95% of patients will improve on shots.

    Immunotherapy has also shown beneficial effects on asthma in some individuals and can decrease the incidence of sinus infections. Immunotherapy «turns off» the allergic reaction to plant pollens, molds, dust mites animal dander and insect venom over time. This is accomplished by the frequent istration of the material to which the patient is allergic. During the «build-up» phase of immunotherapy (the initial 3 to 6 months on the allergy injections), there is a gradual decrease in sensitivity to allergens.

    Allergy shots can «cure» allergies in numerous people but some must continue shots long-term to maintain excellent results. Unfortunately, up to 50% of patients with true «Allergies» (Allergic Rhinitis) also suffer from «Non-Allergic» rhinitis. Allergy shots do not treat the symptoms of «Non-Allergic» Rhinitis caused by sensitivity to environmental irritants. Nasal symptoms triggered by weather changes, tobacco smoke, perfumes, strong odors, exercise, diesel fumes, spicy food, dust, dirt and other irritants, may require medical treatment while on allergy shots.

  • In August of 2004 we analyzed the information we had accumulated from every allergy shots istered from 1/2002 to 1/2004.

    We found that about one out of every eleven patients (9%) treated with conventional allergy shots developed a systemic allergic reaction. These reactions were typically mild and easily treated in our office however, because reactions can rarely develop hours after an allergy shot, every person receiving shots is required to carry an epinephrine injector; just as every bee sting allergic persons are instructed to do.

    What are the side effects of allergy shots

    Our data collection also revealed that most allergic reactions occurred within 30 minutes after the injection. For this reason, every patients are required to remain on-site for 30 minutes after their allergy shot.

  • Immunotherapy injections may be associated with various types of side effects. Side effects are generally more common in the most severely allergic patients and in those with asthma. The most common side effect is swelling or inflammation at the injection site. These «local» reactions almost always improve over time. Allergy shots may occasionally be associated with more serious generalized «systemic» reaction(s).
    Symptoms or signs of these reactions may consist of hives, body tissue swelling distant from the injection site, increasing asthma symptoms, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dizziness and even loss of consciousness.

    Life-threatening reactions are extremely rare. Our office is prepared to treat any serious reaction that may develop, but if the allergic symptoms do not reply quickly to our treatment, it may be necessary to transport you to the near-by Emergency room at North Central Baptist Hospital for further monitoring. Since our office opened in 1999, we own not had any allergic reactions in our office that own required ER or hospital care.

  • «Conventional» Immunotherapy shots are generally istered in the upper arm. During the «build-up» phase, these shots are typically given once or twice a week using a schedule of progressive dosage increases until the «maintenance» dose is reached. The maintenance dose is generally reached within 3-6 months. Once you are on the maintenance dose, the time between injections can be increased, attempting to make the shot istration once per month. Maintaining your shots at the proper time interval is extremely significant, however, missing shots for a short vacation or because of some other problem is generally acceptable.

    Missing shots for over one month may require temporary dosage reductions. To obtain optimal results, some patients may need shots more frequent than once per month. Annual periodic skin testing is done to judge the effectiveness of your shots. This information is use to modify the doses of allergens contained in your shots if necessary. Allergy shots are generally continued for a period of three to five years; after which your doctor may consider discontinuing the allergy shots for an observation period.

    This is generally considered only for those patients in who repeat skin testing has been negative for more than one year.

  • Fees: Alamo Allergy and Asthma Associates charges a fee for the bottles of allergy extract which we purchase from ALK — Abello. In addition, there is a clinic fee each time an injection is given. (RUSH Allergy shots are typically billed as «office time» and you are not charged for each shot). Your insurance may require you to pay a co-pay quantity each time you visit our office.

    Although we are contracted with almost every insurance companies, coverage for allergy treatment varies. You are responsible for understanding the limitations of your plan. During the process of receiving allergy shots if your insurance benefits change, you are responsible for immediately providing us with this information. In the event that you discontinue allergy shots, you must understand that you are financially responsible for any unused portion of the extract.

*I am requesting to get allergy shots under the supervision of Alamo Asthma & Allergy Associates. I own read and understand the risks and benefits of Immunotherapy (allergy shots) and every questions own been answered to my satisfaction.

I chose to get my shots by:
RUSH _____/ Conventional _____ treatment protocol.

What are the side effects of allergy shots

(Check one)

Patient Name _______________________________

Date ______________________________________

Patient Signature____________________________

(Form revised 08/2004)

*I am requesting to get allergy shots under the supervision of Alamo Asthma & Allergy Associates. I own read and understand the risks and benefits of Immunotherapy (allergy shots) and every questions own been answered to my satisfaction. I chose to get my shots by:
RUSH _____/ Conventional _____ treatment protocol.

(Check one)

Patient Name _______________________________

Date ______________________________________

Patient Signature____________________________

(Form revised 08/2004)


Allergy shots almost always are safe if given correctly. Redness and warmth at the shot site are common. Overall body reactions, such as hives, asthma symptoms, and low blood pressure, are not common. Because of the possibility of a life-threatening reaction (anaphylaxis), you get the shots where emergency care is available.

If you or your kid has another condition, such as asthma, you may be more likely to own a severe reaction to the shots.

You should own your asthma well controlled before you get allergy shots.

Why It Is Done

Allergy shots can reduce your reaction to allergens, which can result in fewer or less severe symptoms. They may also prevent children who own allergic rhinitis from getting asthma.footnote 1 Recommendations on when to get allergy shots vary, but in general you and your doctor may consider them when:

  1. Allergy symptoms are severe enough that the benefit from the shots outweighs the expense and the time spent getting the shots.
  2. You own another condition that is being affected by allergic rhinitis, such as asthma.
  3. You are allergic to only a few substances, and they are hard to avoid.
  4. You desire a treatment for the cause of your allergy, rather than treatment for just the symptoms.
  5. Side effects of medicines are a problem.
  6. Avoiding allergens and using medicine do not control symptoms, or you own to take medicine every the time to control symptoms.
  7. You desire to lower the chance that you will develop asthma.

How Well It Works

Allergy shots are effective in treating allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma.

The shots reduce symptoms in those allergic to pollens, animal dander, dust mites, mold, and cockroaches. Experts do not know how endless allergy shots work after you stop getting the shots. Some people may not own their allergies return. Others may own allergies return within a few years.footnote 1

Although you still need to avoid allergens, you may be capable to use less medicine or stop using medicines.

Allergy Shot Pre-medication Policy

Allergy shots offer numerous people their best option for the control of their allergy symptoms.

In some situations, such as fire ant or bee sting allergy, shots are potentially life saving. Allergy shots own been shown to reduce the symptoms of asthma in persons with allergies, a potentially life threatening illness, as well. In addition to these health benefits, allergy shots can improve a severly allergic persons «tolerable quality of life.» Allergy shots offer these people a realistic chance for medication reduction as well as the hope of a cure for this disease. The use of allergy shots also carries a risk for serious allergic reactions. Reactions to allergy shots can happen during the build-up phase or at the maintenance dosing level. Our office is prepared to treat allergic reactions when they happen and we own treated numerous «shots reactions» in the past, (as has every other allergy practice).

Our office is unique to San Antonio, Texas in that we own developed a protocol for istering allergy shots over a much shorter period of time than usual called «RUSH.» Persons that get «RUSH» allergy shots are required to take «pre-medications» to prevent allergic reactions.

Our experience with «RUSH» over the final 4 years has provided us with several valuable insights. Over time, we own made numerous modifications to our recommended «Pre-meds» and this has resulted in a lower incidence of allergic reactions. Because we are convinced that allergy shots are safer when given with «pre-medications,» we recommend that every patients on allergy shots take an antihistamine (H-1 blocker) such as Allegra, Zyrtec, or Clarinex, a H-2 blocker (Pepcid or Zantac) and a Leukotriene receptor antagonist (Singulair) at least one hour prior to your shot. In addition, every patients at Alamo Asthma & Allergy Associates are required to own immediate access to their Epi-pen at the time of their shot.

Because reactions to shots may happen after the mandatory 30 minute waiting period in our office, (Although the grand majority of reactions are seen within the first 30 minutes), you must bring your Epi-pen with you to your shot visit to get your allergy shot.

This policy is designed for your safety.

What are the side effects of allergy shots

If you select not to take «pre-medication» prior to your allergy shots, we request that you sign an acknowledgement that you understand that we feel this is not the safest course of action. We recognize that other allergy offices in San Antonio do not generally use pre-medications prior to their shots. We will assume that you would love to take «pre-medications» prior to your shots unless you indicate otherwise.

** ____I select not to take pre-medications before my allergy shot given by the «conventional» protocol. (RUSH Immunotherapy is never given without Pre-medications.)

Patient Name: __________________________________

Date: _________________________________________

Signature: _____________________________________

Chart # _______________________________________

Treatment Overview

When you get immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots, your allergist or doctor injects little doses of substances that you are allergic to (allergens) under your skin.

This helps your body «get used to» the allergen, which can result in fewer or less severe symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

Your allergist will use an extract of grass, weed, or tree pollen; dust mites; molds; or animal dander for allergy shots. You must first own skin testing to discover out which allergen you are allergic to.

Your allergist injects under your skin a solution of salt water (saline) that contains a extremely little quantity of the allergen(s). At first, you get the shot once or twice a week. You gradually get more of the allergen in the shots.

After about 4 to 6 months of weekly shots, you are generally getting the best quantity of allergen in the shot.

This is called the maintenance dose. When you reach the maintenance dose, you get the same dose in shots every 2 to 4 weeks for the next 4 to 6 months.

The period between shots is gradually increased to about a month.

What are the side effects of allergy shots

And the dose generally stays the same each month. After 1 year of maintenance, your allergist will check to see if you own fewer or less severe symptoms. If your allergy symptoms own not changed, you will no longer get the shots. If your symptoms own improved, you may continue to get monthly shots for up to 3 to 5 years.footnote 1

Other ways to get this treatment are called cluster or rush immunotherapy, in which you reach the maintenance dose more quickly.