Are Allergy Shots Safe for Children? Debunking Common Myths

Getting allergy shots for your kiddos can be overwhelming, especially without a thorough understanding of what allergy shots are and the common myths surrounding them. From rumors that these shots are a quick fix to those stating they don’t actually work, there are a lot of misconceptions floating around about allergy shots that might make you wary of them for your kid. 

With a general understanding of allergy shots and their role in your child’s health, you can make an informed decision as to whether or not they’re right for your kid. 

Understanding Allergy Shots

Allergy shots are a type of allergy immunotherapy (AIT). They’re a treatment designed to “train” the body to become less reactive to a particular allergen by repeatedly exposing it to that allergen. Over time, they help reduce the production of the “blocking” antibodies that trigger your child’s symptoms. 

They use small, incrementally increasing doses of the allergen to achieve this allergen-specific tolerance. With patience, these shots can prove highly effective in combatting annoying allergies your child might experience. 

5 Common Myths About Allergy Shots for Kids

There are dozens of myths out there about allergy shots, but here are a few common misconceptions you might’ve heard:

Myth 1: Allergy shots are a quick fix

If you’re looking for a quick fix, allergy shots aren’t a good option for your child. To see good results with your child’s allergy shot program, you’ll need to commit to the long-term. Most people begin to see results within the first year, but the best results usually take until the second or third year to show. 

Your child’s body will need time to adjust. As their immune system becomes desensitized to the allergen, their results will become better. That said, it’s important to recognize that allergy shots aren’t a quick, overnight fix. 

Myth 2: Allergy shots are the same as traditional allergy treatments.

Allergy shots are entirely different than traditional allergy treatments, such as decongestants, antihistamines, and corticosteroids. Unlike these treatments, allergy shots focus on the allergy, not the symptoms. 

They help “train” the body over time to become less reactive to the allergen. While they require a long-term time commitment, they can provide long-term relief instead of the temporary fix that traditional treatments offer. 

Myth 3: Allergy shots don’t actually work. 

While allergy shots aren’t a complete cure for your child’s allergies, they can work wonders in relieving their symptoms by targeting the root cause of them: the allergy. Hundreds of studies document the remarkable efficacy of these shots, reinforcing how life-changing they can be for many people. 

For example, one European study compared AIT-treated individuals to a control group. They found that the AIT-treated group was consistently associated with more substantial drops in allergic rhinitis and asthma prescriptions than the control group. In addition, they found that the AIT-treated group was substantially more likely to step down asthma treatment. 

Myth 4: Allergy shots are only for seasonal allergies.

Allergy shots can help treat seasonal allergies, such as sensitivities to pollen or specific pasture grasses. But they can do much more than that! The list of allergens these shots can treat is impressive, including:

  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites
  • Insect stings
  • Mold
  • House dust

Myth 5: Allergy shots are a new, unstudied treatment.

Surprisingly, allergy shots are far from a new treatment on the allergy scene. In fact, allergy immunotherapy has been around for over a century! Leonard Noon and John Freeman introduced it in 1911 as allergen desensitization or hypo-sensitization. 

In the century (plus) since its introduction, researchers and healthcare professionals have pored over it, studying its ins and outs to better understand how it works and what it can do. Today, the depth of the research is baffling. There are countless studies, clinical trials, and research trials documenting various facets of this treatment. 

For example, a handful of research and clinical trials evaluated allergy shots for their efficacy. They found that the repeated injections were able to achieve an allergen-specific tolerance that persisted for years after discontinuing the treatment!

This is just one example of the remarkable research, so if you want to learn more about AIT, there’s no shortage of resources. 

Allergy Shots and Children: A Safe Solution

Allergy shots are considered a safe solution for children who suffer from allergies. Whether your kiddo is sensitive to bee venom or northern pasture grasses, these shots can be a handy tool to help combat the irritating and uncomfortable allergies they might experience. 

If you’re considering allergy shots for your child, remember to talk to their doctor first. Their doctor can help you select the best allergy immunotherapy option based on their medical history and specific needs.

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