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Allergy Shots

(757) 668-7000

Allergy shots help reduce your child’s allergy symptoms. Allergy shots are made from small amounts of the things your child is allergic to (allergens). The shot is given in the back of the arm between the skin and the muscle. Getting these shots on a regular schedule will help your child’s body stop over-reacting when he is around allergens.

Who can be treated with shots?

Patients with allergic rhinitis/conjunctivitis, allergic asthma and stinging insect allergy can benefit from receiving allergy shots. Immunotherapy is not recommended for control of food allergies.

Before finalizing plans to pursue allergy shots, please consider:

  • Severity of your child’s symptoms and length of trigger season
  • Environmental changes and/or medications that can control your child’s symptoms
  • Time involved in receiving your routine injections and being consistent in your child’s appointments
  • Injection costs

Immunotherapy is successful and well tolerated in children. It can help prevent the progression to asthma.

How Long Does My Child Need to Get Shots?

At first allergy shots are given 1-2 times per week. These first few shots are made with very small amounts of allergens. If your child is responding well to the shots, the amount of allergens in each shot will increase with each visit. When the highest safest dose is reached (maintenance dose), your child’s shot visits may decrease to once every 2 weeks, then once every 3 weeks, then monthly.

It takes a long time to teach the body to stop over- reacting to allergens. Your child’s symptoms may start to decrease by the first 3-6 months of treatment, but it may take longer in some patients. Your child’s symptoms should definitely improve after being on a maintenance dose for 1-2 years. It usually takes 3-5 years to get the best protection from allergens.

What Are The Side Effects of Allergy Shots?

Common Side Effects (At the Site of the Shot):

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Pain

Common side effects result from irritation at the site of the shot and are not serious. The above side effects usually start 20-30 minutes after the shot and go away by the next day. To make your child feel better, you may place an ice pack on the shot site. Sometimes your child may need to take an antihistamine, like Benadryl, after getting his shot. Do not give Benadryl before an allergy injection.

Mild Allergic Reactions:

  • Itching or red bump (hives) anywhere on the body
  • Sneezing / runny nose
  • Red / itchy / watery eyes
  • Slight cough / throat clearing

Severe Allergic Reactions:

  • Tightness or swelling in the throat
  • Trouble speaking or swallowing
  • Swelling of the face or mouth
  • Severe cough
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Dizziness / fainting

  • Allergic reactions happen if the body over reacts to the allergy shot. Life-threatening reactions are rare. Usually allergic reactions start within 30 minutes after the shot. This is why your child must wait at the doctor’s office for 30 minutes after his shot. Allergic reactions should be reported to the doctor’s office right away. Sometimes allergic reactions happen right after you leave the office.

    If your child shows signs of a mild allergic reaction:

    • Give him a liquid antihistamine, like Benadryl.
    • Have him use his emergency inhaler or a nebulizer treatment if needed.
    • Call the doctor’s office right away. Call the answering service if the office is closed.

    If your child shows signs of a severe allergy reaction:

    • Give him a shot with your Epinephrine auto-injection.
    • Call “911”.

    What Can I Do to Help Stop a Reaction After An Allergy Shot?

    Before each allergy shot, tell the nurse if your child:

    • Had any reaction after the last shot
    • Is taking any new medications
    • Has any new medical problems
    • Has or is having any allergy or asthma symptoms
    • Is pregnant

    Do not let your child exercise for one hour before his shot and for two hours after his shot. This helps decrease the chance of a reaction.


    • Allergy shots help reduce your child’s allergy symptoms.
    • Getting allergy shots mean you should make regular shot appointments for the next 3-5 years.
    • Severe reactions to allergy shots are rare, but need to be treated quickly.
    • You and your child must remain at the doctor’s office for 30 minutes after getting an allergy shot.
    • Talk to your child’s nurse or doctor about any problems or changes in your child’s health.

    Disclaimer:This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

    Reviewed: 11/2017

    (757) 668-7000