When environmental allergies make you miserable and you can’t get the relief you need from your usual medication, it’s time to consider allergy shots. The experienced doctors at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic offer customized allergy shots that significantly relieve or eliminate your symptoms long term. To schedule an appointment, use the online booking feature or call one of the 13 offices throughout the Pacific Region, including Fremont, Oakland, Redwood City, Sunnyvale, San Mateo, and San Leandro, California; Clackamas and Gresham, Oregon; Bellevue, Fishers Landing, Longview, and Salmon Creek, Washington; and Eagle, Idaho.
Allergy shots, or subcutaneous immunotherapy, treat your allergies by targeting the immune system. Allergies begin when your immune system overreacts to a substance that’s normally harmless. The key to long-term allergy relief is to stop your immune system from treating that allergen like it’s a dangerous invader.
Each allergy shot contains a small dose of your custom allergens, just enough to slightly activate your immune system without causing a full allergic reaction. As you receive a series of allergy shots, each one delivers a slightly higher dose, allowing your immune system to develop a tolerance to your allergen.
Over time, allergy shots desensitize your immune system. As a result, your allergic reactions are either significantly diminished or, in some cases, eliminated.
Allergy shots are available for many types of allergens, including:
With such a broad range of allergens, allergy shots can relieve the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, and eye allergies. Allergy shots can also help prevent asthma attacks, which are often triggered by airborne allergens.
Before you get allergy shots, your doctor at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic runs allergy tests to identify your specific allergens. When your allergy shots begin, they’re delivered on a regular schedule that progresses through two stages:
During the buildup phase, you will come into the office at least once a week for an allergy shot, with slight increases in the dose each time. This phase typically lasts 6-7 months until your doctor at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic determines your immune system is ready for the maintenance phase.
While you’re in the maintenance phase, your dose stays the same and the frequency of shots drops to one every month. Each patient responds to immunotherapy at their own pace, but you should notice a difference in symptoms by the time you reach the maintenance phase.
Most patients stay in the maintenance phase for 3-5 years. This may seem like a lengthy time, but it’s essential for long-lasting effectiveness.
If you’re not able to commit to allergy shots, you may consider other forms of immunotherapy including sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) or ultrasound-guided lymph node injections.
To learn if you’re a good candidate for allergy shots, or learn more about our other types of immunotherapy, call Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic or schedule an appointment online.