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ACAAI > Patients & Public > Resources > Ask the Allergist

Allergy Shots at Home?

Q: I have a lot of allergy problems and I’m tired of taking medicine that doesn’t work very well. Several of my family members take allergy shots at home and tell me I should do them too.  I called my local allergist and asked if they did allergy shots at home. I was told that they did allergy shots for their patients but the shots had to given in a doctor’s office. I’m confused. I am interested in allergy shots if they help but why do some people do them at home and others in a doctor’s office?

A: Firstly, we should address allergy immunotherapy (shots) in general. For those people who have allergic nasal symptoms, asthma or atopic dermatitis and are able to receive allergy shots, those shots have been shown to be very effective. As a board-certified allergist, I believe the best physicians to prescribe allergy shots are those trained as allergists (certified by the American Board of Allergy/Immunology).  Secondly, while allergy shots are relatively safe, there is a low but real risk of a systemic allergic reaction to the shot - each time you receive one. This is the reason allergists have their patient’s receive shots in a doctor’s office and then wait for thirty minutes afterwards, to decrease the risk that a serious life threatening reaction would occur back at home. Allergic reactions, whether they are to allergy shots, medications or foods can progress rapidly and should not be taken lightly.