Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology   

Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy)

Are you still feeling miserable despite all the allergy meds you’re taking? Do you get symptoms for most months of the year? Are your allergies triggering asthma? Are you hoping to tolerate being around cats or dogs?

Allergy shots are immunizations that are similar to a flu shot or a tetanus shot. They prevent 80-90% of your allergic symptoms and often will make medications unnecessary.

You may be a good candidate for allergy shots if:

Since you are allergic to the material that we are using, we have to start with a very low dose and build you up to the immunizing dose. This takes a series of 34 injections over a period of 6-8 months to achieve. Then you receive monthly injections for 3-5 years to get long-term immunity. The only significant side effects are reactions. Patients with asthma have the highest risk for these reactions. We will take special precautions if you have asthma or have ever had recurrent wheezing.

It’s true that allergy shots are a big commitment, but the results can be significant and long-lasting. After the first year on allergy shots, most people are able to drastically reduce their use of allergy medication and many are able to eliminate these medications completely.

Allergy Shot FAQ


Am I a good candidate for allergy shots?
Does everybody get the same shots?
How do allergy shots work?
Will it cure my allergies?
I got allergy shots in the past. Are your shots different?
How much will it cost?
What do I need to do to start?
How often will I need to come in for shots?
When can I come in for my shots (shot schedule)?
What happens when I come in for my first shot?
How will I know if it’s working?
What are the side effects/risks?
How can I prevent a negative reaction?
Are there allergy shots for food allergies?
What if I have asthma?
What if I miss a shot?
What if I’m sick or having severe allergy symptoms?
When can I stop getting shots?
What are the chances of relapsing?
What if I move?




Am I a good candidate for allergy shots?

You may be a good candidate for allergy shots if:

In order to know if you are a good candidate, we will need to do an allergy skin test to find out exactly what you are allergic to.




Does everybody get the same shots

Everybody’s allergy shot mix is different depending on what they are allergic to. After we do a comprehensive allergy skin test, we can very specifically tailor a mix of allergens that will cover exactly what you are allergic to. We also adjust the amount of each allergen to give you the best results possible.




How do allergy shots work?

Allergy shots, also called allergen immunotherapy, are immunizations that are similar to a flu shot or a tetanus shot. The current theory of why we have allergies is the failure of the immune system to shift from the allergic response to the normal immune response after birth. Allergy shots help produce a normal immune response. This happens in a very specific manner. It is necessary to select the correct allergens and give an amount large enough to produce immunity.




Will it cure my allergies?

By shifting the immune response, allergy shots can prevent 80-90% of your allergic symptoms and often will make medications unnecessary. If you are getting good results by the time you reach the maintenance level of shots (within 6-8 months) and you continue with the shots as scheduled for the next 3-5 years, most people can expect to maintain the same level of improvement after stopping the shots. Because our allergy shots are so carefully tailored to each person, we typically see excellent long-term results.




I got allergy shots in the past. Are your shots different?

Yes, they usually are. Dr. Reid has been a leader in the field of allergies for over 25 years as a researcher and as a clinician. He has been at the cutting edge of discovering what works best. We use a very specific method to select the correct allergens for your shot mix, adjusting the doses as needed to give you the best results possible. It was popular in the past (and still is in some offices) to do a general test and treatment for allergies to “trees”, “weeds”, etc. We check to see exactly what you are allergic to, which trees, weeds, etc., are causing your symptoms. We put only those items in your shot mix, having found this method to be more effective and produce long-lasting results.




How much will it cost?

Allergy shots are covered by most insurance plans. Once you have told our front desk staff that you are interested in shots, Dr. Reid or Janel Liverato will write up an allergy shot recipe for you and our billing person will check your insurance plan to see if allergy shots are covered and give you an estimate of your co-pay, deductible, and out-of pocket expenses.




What do I need to do to start?

After you have gotten an allergy skin test at our office and have spoken with Dr. Reid or Janel Liverato to confirm that you are a good candidate for allergy shots, let someone at our front desk know that you are interested in starting allergy shots. You will receive an estimate of costs and will be asked to sign paperwork to confirm your commitment to start the shots. We will then mix several bottles of your shot recipe (Note: your shot recipe will not be mixed until all paperwork is signed). This process generally takes 10-14 days. You will need to make an appointment to receive your first allergy shot.




How often will I need to come in for shots?

Since you are allergic to the material that we are using, we have to start with a very low dose and build you up to the immunizing dose. This takes a series of 34 injections over a period of 6-8 months to achieve. Then you receive monthly injections for 3-5 years to get long-term immunity. A typical schedule looks like this:

*Every time that we remix your shots (when your bottles run out or we need to adjust the dose), you will need to come in weekly for a short period to ease you safely back up to the full dose. This typically occurs once or twice per year. This is done for your safety to limit the likelihood of an adverse reaction.




When can I come in for my shots (shot schedule)?

You will need to schedule an appointment for your first shot, after that you can come anytime during our business hours, which are typically as follows:

Monday9:00-12:302:00-4:30
Tuesday8:00-12:302:00-3:30
Wednesday9:00-12:302:30-4:30
Thursday10:00-12:302:30-5:00
Friday----------------8:00-2:00--------------

Please check our up-to-date shot schedule every time you plan to come in. The schedule is updated regularly so please check for holiday schedules or last minute changes.




What happens when I come in for my first shot?

Allow yourself plenty of time to get here and to park your car if needed. It is important that you do not exercise 3 hours before getting your first shot and that you do not run (or speed walk) to get here since activities that speed up your heart rate can increases the chances of having an adverse reaction. Once you arrive, you will check in and then receive your shot(s). Our office staff will go over the general protocol with you and answer any remaining questions that you have.




How will I know if it’s working?

You will feel better. You will notice fewer symptoms or less need for medication. These changes can be subtle and gradual, but over time you should notice a significant improvement. We will see you for an office visit after you have been on shots for 3 months, when you reach maintenance, and yearly after that so that we check in to make sure everything is working as planned.




What are the side effects/risks?

A little bit of local itching or swelling at the injection site is normal. The only significant side effects are reactions, which typically happen within 20 minutes of getting a shot. Symptoms of reactions can include:

These rare responses are known as anaphylactic reactions and must be addressed quickly since they can be life-threatening. If you notice any of the above symptoms or feel anything unusual or scary after getting a shot, let one of our office staff know immediately. In our office, we are all highly trained to quickly and effectively manage these types of anaphylactic reactions. If you ever have a reaction after you leave our office, call 911. If you are not sure if you are having a reaction, and just want to talk to somebody or get seen, you can call our office or come back in if you are nearby. Always report any unusual side effects to our office staff so that we can adjust the dosage of your next shot.

Patients with asthma have the highest risk for these reactions. We will take special precautions if you have asthma or have ever had recurrent wheezing




How can I prevent an adverse reaction?

There is no absolute way to prevent a reaction from occurring, but there are a few things that can help limit the chances:






Are there allergy shots for food allergies?

No, unfortunately at this time there is no safe way of giving shots for food allergies. There is a lot of research in this area and we are hopeful that safe and effective treatments will be developed in the future.




What if I have asthma?

Patients with asthma have the highest risk for adverse reactions from the allergy shots. We will take special precautions if you have asthma or have ever had recurrent wheezing. This may include daily use of an inhaled corticosteroid. If your asthma is triggered by allergies, you could be a great candidate for XOLAIR®.




What if I miss a shot?

At some point, you may need to miss a shot, either because you are too busy, or sick, or out of town. While we encourage everyone to stay on schedule for maximum effectiveness and safety, here are our guidelines if you miss a shot:

GUIDELINES FOR ALLERGY SHOTS
(MISSED INJECTIONS)

BUILD-UP: (missed Injections)
  Up to 12 days from last shot: increase dose as scheduled
  13-14 days from the last shot: repeat dose
  15 and up from last shot: decrease by one dose each week
  OVER ONE MONTH from last shot: Check with Dr. Reid or Janel

Maintenance:(missed injections)
  4-5½ weeks from last shot: regular dose
  6-7 weeks from last shot: decrease by one dose
  Over 8 Weeks from last shot: Check with Dr. Reid or Janel

6 Weeks Shot patients: (missed injections)
  5-7 weeks from the last shot: regular dose
  8 weeks from last shot: drop down one dose
  Over 8 weeks from last shot: Check with Dr. Reid or Janel

If you have any questions, please call us for guidance or clarification.




What if I’m sick or having severe allergy symptoms?

Please call us and let us know. Typically, if you are sick or if your allergy symptoms are out of control it is best to miss a shot. Depending on your symptoms, we may advise coming in for an appointment with Dr. Reid or Janel.




When can I stop getting shots?

For long-term benefit, we typically recommend doing 3 to 5 years of shots, with the best results seen closer to 5 years.




What are the chances of relapsing?

If you are getting good results by the time you reach the maintenance level of shots (within 6 to 8 months) and you continue with the shots as scheduled for the next 3 to 5 years, most people can expect to maintain the same level of improvement after stopping the shots. Because our allergy shots are so carefully tailored to each person, we typically see excellent long-term results. You may, however, develop new allergies over time. This can happen within 2 to 3 years of moving to a new city with different allergens than you have been exposed to in the past. There is no way to predict the development of new allergies. They can be usually be treated, but would require starting a new series of shots.




What if I move?

We can send your bottles of allergen mixes with you. They will need to be kept cold. You will need to find a new allergist in your new city to administer the allergy shots. At your written request, we can also send over all of the medical records we have.