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What are Allergy Shots?

What are Allergy Shots?

Are you tired of taking endless medications to control your allergy symptoms? Are the medications not working as well as you want them to here in the Salt Lake Valley? You might want to consider doing allergy shots.

What are Allergy Shots?

Allergy shots or subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy (SCIT) contain diluted extracts of substances to which you are allergic to. The shots contain a very small dose of each of your allergens, injecting enough to activate your immune system without causing a full-blown allergic response. As you are regularly exposed to the allergen, your immune system starts to develop a tolerance to it. Over time, allergy shots desensitize your immune system, and your allergic reactions gradually diminish. Most patients experience significant relief from their symptoms here in the Salt Lake Valley, and some even find that their allergies disappear altogether.

What Can I Do Allergy Shots To?

Allergy shots have been proven to be effective in decreasing sensitivity to allergens, including pollen, pet dander, dust mites, mold spores and venoms. Immunotherapy can modify a patient’s reaction to allergens to which they are allergic to and potentially lead to lasting remission of allergy symptoms. In pediatric patients, it may play a preventative role in the development of asthma and new allergies.

Allergy shots can be recommended for patients with allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic asthma or patients that have life threatening reactions to insect stings. It is recommended to continue allergy shots for at least 3-5 years, although more sustained long term relief has been seen in those completing at least 4-5 years. The first step is to get allergy testing to identify your allergens. There are 2 phases of immunotherapy: build-up and maintenance.

Build Up: This phase involves receiving increasing doses/amounts of allergens in your injections.  The frequency is typically 1 to 2 times per week. The duration of this phase is typically about 4-6 months. If you have difficulty tolerating certain doses, we may repeat or reduce your dose until it is best tolerated.

Maintenance: The phase begins when the effective therapeutic dose is reached. Once the target dose is reached, the intervals between injections can be increased, typically 1-2 times/month. Your symptoms gradually improve throughout this phase until you reach optimal allergy relief. Many patients experience long-lasting results after they finish the maintenance phase and stop getting allergy shots.

It is important to continue receiving allergy shots at regular intervals-no less than once a month once you are on maintenance. Missing your shots for periods of time may result in a reduction in your dose to prevent serious allergic reactions. Allergy shots should not be given to someone with uncontrolled asthma. Additionally, please let your provider know if you start new medications as certain medications (beta-blockers most commonly) are not recommended while on allergy shots.  

What is Cluster Immunotherapy?

Allergy Associates of Utah also offers a rapid version called cluster immunotherapy. Cluster immunotherapy or rapid desensitization is a safe and effective treatment to address underlying allergies. During cluster immunotherapy, you receive a series of injections based on the results of previous allergy skin tests. During treatment, you receive two to three injections every 30 minutes for about two hours. This allows you to receive a month’s worth of immunotherapy in one visit.

Do you or your family members have bothersome allergy symptoms? Allergy Associates of Utah is an allergy, asthma, and immunology specialty clinic serving the greater Salt Lake City, Utah area with 2 convenient locations in Murray and West Jordan. Led by specialists Andrew Smith, MD, MS, and Tara Sarin, MD, the practice strives to help people of all ages and background achieve success. Request an appointment by phone or online at either Allergy Associates of Utah location for expert allergy and immunology care today.

Phone: (801) 263-8700

Phone: (801) 282-8700