Staten Island:

Wednesday and Friday
11am - 7pm
New patients, office visits and immunotherapy shots.

Phone: 718-816-8200

Brooklyn Heights:

Tuesday and Thursday
1pm - 7pm

Phone: 718-624-6495

Bay Ridge:

Mon, Tue and Thu
1:30pm - 7pm

Phone: 718-748-7551


Allergy Shots (Allergy Immunotherapy)

Immunotherapy is a preventive treatment for allergic reactions to substances such as grass pollens, house dust mites and bee venom. Immunotherapy involves giving gradually increasing doses of the substance, or allergen, to which the person is allergic. The incremental increases of the allergen cause the immune system to become less sensitive to the substance, probably by causing production of a "blocking" antibody, which reduces the symptoms of allergy when the substances is encountered in the future. Immunotherapy also reduces the inflammation that characterizes rhinitis and asthma.

Before starting treatment, the physician and patient identify trigger factors for allergic symptoms. Skin or sometimes blood tests are performed to confirm the specific allergens to which the person has antibodies. Immunotherapy is usually recommended only if the person seems to be selectively sensitive to several allergens.

How allergy immunotherapy is done

Allergy shots have been used since 1911. In the past century, there has been considerable improvement in the effectiveness of this treatment, which decreases a patient’s sensitivity (allergy) to a number of allergens, such as cat or ragweed. The treatment is a method for increasing the allergic patient's natural resistance (tolerance) to the things that are triggering the allergic reactions.

This treatment involves injections of small amounts of purified "extracts" of the substances that are causing allergic reactions. For example, the extracts may be derived from pollens, mold spores, animal dander, dust mites or insect venom. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approve them for this use, and over the years they have been improved considerably.

Allergy shots stimulate the immune system to fight allergies safely, effectively and naturally. Beginning with small doses and increasing them gradually on a weekly or biweekly basis, the therapy continues until a maintenance level is achieved. Then, a maintenance dose is injected every few weeks.

Immunity does not occur immediately, but some patients do begin to feel better quickly. Most patients are continued on monthly injections for 3 to 5 years once they reach the maintenance dose. In some patients, immunity is maintained and treatment can be stopped after several years. For others, treatment may be needed for longer periods of time. Generally the benefits of allergy shots can last for many years, or even a lifetime.

With the immune system restored to good health, few or no medications may be needed. Work or school days are no longer missed. The burden of allergies is lifted, and allergies become something you just don't think about any more. Candidates for allergy shots include most children and adults. Pregnant patients can continue treatment that was started prior to pregnancy.

Allergy shots are always given under medical supervision and medications are available to handle any serious reaction. Although rare, serious reactions can occur from allergy shots because the treatment involves the substances to which the patient is known to be allergic.

Adverse reactions can occur from allergy shots because treatment involves the injection of substances to which the patient is sensitized. The most common adverse reaction is an immediate red, itching bump at the injection site. In some cases, a similar delayed reaction can occur six to twenty-four hours later. Rare, more severe reactions include generalized itching, chest tightness/wheezing, or dizziness due to a drop in blood pressure. Deaths have been reported from allergy shots at a rate of approximately one in three million injections. This is why allergy shots are given under supervision where medical staff and medications are available to handle serious reactions. As allergists, we feel that the benefits far outweigh the extremely small risk of a serious reaction. It is safe for both children and adults, and even pregnant patients may continue treatment started prior to pregnancy.


Immunotherapy for asthma

Immunotherapy is effective in the treatment of allergic asthma. Allergy shots can help relieve the allergic reactions that trigger asthma episodes, thereby enhancing pulmonary function and decreasing the need for asthma medications.