Sometimes allergies can be too much to handle. If that's the case for you, it may be time to consider allergy shots or injections (also called immunotherapy). An allergy shot or immunotherapy helps build up tolerance and reduce your immune system's reaction to certain triggers.

Allergy Shot Frequency

Allergy shots are administered by an allergist on a weekly basis (or even several times a week) and contain miniscule amounts of your allergy triggers. The amount of the allergens contained in each injection will increase in tiny increments as your body builds up protective antibodies to it. The weekly injection is continued throughout the build-up stage until you reach the full dose of serum needed. The number of weeks this takes depends on the severity of your allergies and how responsive your body is to the injections. Usually, the initial phase lasts for a minimum of six to eight months, but in many cases it takes as long as a year or two to get up to your full maintenance dose.

What to Expect

Many people find that their allergic reactions gradually lessen. You may notice a difference within the first month or two of beginning injections, but the full benefits of allergy shots won't be reached until you're at your full strength.

Once you reach your maintenance dose, you'll need regular weekly shots at this level for another month or two, before beginning to lengthen out the time between allergist visits. This is done gradually, working up to every other week, then every third week and finally, graduating to once-a-month injections that continue for several years.

Missed Doses

When you're scheduled for an allergy shot and have any signs of illness, it's crucial to let your allergist know. People with wheezing or fever usually need to wait until they recover to get their next injection.

If you miss a dose during your build-up phase, you may need to repeat the earlier dose again before you advance to the next level.  In the maintenance stage if this occurs, you could need to lower the dose at your next visit and have weekly injections to build back up to where you left off.

The Results

Allergy shots usually don't cure allergies, but they can greatly reduce the severity of the symptoms and in many cases, will improve your quality of life, too. This can make them well worth the time investment.


American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI)

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation

University of Michigan Health Services

University of Oregon