If medicines cannot control your , you may think about having allergy shots (). Allergy shots are small doses of that your doctor injects under your skin. This helps your body "get used to" the allergen, which can result in fewer or less severe symptoms.
Allergy shots work best if you are allergic to pollens, , or . But you may need allergy shots for 3 to 5 years, and there is some risk of severe whole-body reactions ().
Other treatment choices
Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy)
- Allergies: Should I Take Allergy Shots?
What to think about
Although expensive, allergy shots may not cost more than the combined cost of medicine, doctor and emergency room visits, and missed days of school or work over several years. But they require patience and commitment for an effective result. You may need to take regular shots for 3 to 5 years. And it may take 1 year or more for symptoms to improve. If the treatment schedule would be difficult for you to follow, you may want to think about other options.
Doctors use allergy shots mainly to treat an allergy caused by one allergen or a closely related group of them, such as grass pollens. If you are allergic to more than one type of allergen, you may need to get shots for each type of allergen to relieve all of your symptoms. The allergens can usually be combined into one or two shots.
Other ways to treat allergies besides using shots include taking pills (oral immunotherapy) or putting the allergen under the tongue (sublingual immunotherapy). These treatments work well and are used in Europe and other countries. But researchers in the United States are still finding out how much or how often these allergens should be taken.
Because allergic rhinitis cannot be cured and may be frustrating to treat, people may try alternative treatment methods. But most of these treatments either have not been studied or have not been proved to work. Such treatments may be expensive, and some can be dangerous to your health.