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DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Allergy shots are a form of treatment called immunotherapy. Each allergy shot contains a tiny amount of the specific substance or substances that trigger your allergic reactions. These are called allergens. Allergy shots contain just enough allergens to stimulate your immune system — but not enough to cause a full-blown allergic reaction.
Over time, your doctor increases the dose of allergens in each of your allergy shots. This helps get your body used to the allergens (become desensitized). Your immune system builds up a tolerance to the allergens, and your allergy symptoms diminish over time.
- Nelson HS. Immunotherapy for inhalant allergens. In: Adkinson NF, et al. Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2008.
- Tips to remember: Allergy shots. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/patients/publicedmat/tips/whatareallergyshots.stm. Accessed Dec. 4, 2009.
- Allergen immunotherapy: A practice parameter second update. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.acaai.org/NR/rdonlyres/7F7B241E-57DA-453D-8DFD-DEE371C80AD0/0/AllergenImmunotherapy.pdf. Accessed Dec. 4, 2009.
- Hamilton RG, et al. Clinical laboratory assessment of IgE-dependent hypersensitivity. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2003;111(suppl):S687.