Allergy shots for asthma actually contain a very small amount of an allergen (something you're allergic to). Over time, the dose is increased. By exposing you to greater and greater amounts of the allergen, your body is likely to develop a tolerance to it. If the treatment goes well, your allergic reaction will become much less severe.
By Denise Grady
Two young brothers with the same chronic illness. One mother's struggle...and what she knows now about keeping her children healthy.
When I first learned that my older son had asthma, I imagined that it would go away in a few weeks or months. I clung to that bit of denial, I guess, because it helped ease the fear and sadness as reality sank in. Brian was only 3, and deep down my husband and I knew we were facing a serious chronic disease that would probably hang on...
Before you get allergy shots for asthma, your doctor will want to do allergy testing. This is a way of finding out which allergens affect you. It will probably involve skin testing, in which a small amount of the allergen is scraped onto or injected under your skin. Allergy shots aren't available for every kind of allergy.
Once you and your doctor have discovered which allergens affect you, the next step is to get the shots. The frequency of the injections varies, but you might get them once or twice a week for the first three to six months -- or until you reach the maximum dose. After that, you might only need maintenance injections every two to four weeks. This might continue for three to five years.
Although some people feel asthma symptom relief from their allergy injections quickly, it may take up to a year for others. In some people, allergy shots have no effect.
Who Needs Allergy Shots for Asthma?
Allergy shots are not right for everyone. It may not be safe for people who have uncontrolled asthma or other health conditions, such as heart disease. It may also not be a good idea for people taking certain medications, such as beta-blockers. Allergy shots for asthma are not used in children who are under age 5.
Allergy shots for asthma might be considered for people who: