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How Do Allergy Shots Work?

Q: My allergy medications aren’t working as well as I would like and my doctor suggested allergy shots. Can you tell me how they work?

A: Allergy shots work like a vaccine. Your body responds to injected amounts of a particular allergen, given in gradually increasing doses, by developing immunity or tolerance to the allergen. There are two phases:

You may notice a decrease in symptoms during the build-up phase, but it may take as long as 12 months on the maintenance dose to notice a lasting improvement. If allergy shots are successful, maintenance treatment is generally continued for three to five years.

Any decision to stop allergy shots should be discussed with your allergist/immunologist.

Source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology


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