Most people know that the only way to avoid getting allergic reactions is to stay away from the allergens. However, that is quite difficult. In cases where allergen exposure is inevitable, you can choose to have immunotherapy. It introduces allergens to your body and helps your immune system get used to them. Immunotherapy can be allergy shots or allergy drops.
Allergy shots are given under the skin (often in the upper arm) usually at the doctor’s office. The shot contains a tiny amount of your allergens. The amount of the allergen in allergy shots is very small. Therefore, violent reactions are unlikely to happen. Your doctor will increase the doses gradually until you get to the maintenance dose. Over time, your immune system learns to tolerate the allergen when you encounter it in real life, and your symptoms will get better.
Whether allergy shots work for you depends on your allergens and the severity of your symptoms. Basically, these shots can fix common allergens such as insect venom, pollens, dust mites, mold, and pet dander. It has not been clear if allergy shots actually work for food, drug, or latex allergies.
The only different between allergy shots and allergy drops is how they are given. Doctors administer allergy drops orally. They place the liquid drops of allergens under the tongue in gradually increasing dosages until the patient develops a certain tolerance to the allergens. Allergy drops can treat a wider range of allergies, even food allergies. These drops are the alternative for people who cannot commit to allergies shots.
You will need to tell your doctor about any medicines you may be taking before getting any form of immunotherapy. Certain medications can interfere with the administration or increase the risk of side effects. Standard procedures of immunotherapy require you to stay at the doctor’s office for at least half an hour to make sure you do not have side effects. You might experience symptoms such as itching, breathing difficulties, a runny nose, or a tight throat after you leave. In that case, get back to your doctor or the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.
To decide if allergy shots or allergy drops are right for you, you need to talk to your doctor. They need to know about your possible allergens, the severity of your symptoms, your medical history, and their costs. One method sometimes may work for a person but not for another. Therefore, you need to know all the benefits and side-effects before making the decision.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnose or treatment.
Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
Allergy Shots: What to Know. http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/allergy-shots. Assessed October 24, 2016.
Allergy Drops FAQs. https://www.allergychoices.com/about-allergy-drops/faq/ Assessed October 24, 2016.