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Allergy Shots for Children

Allergy Shots for Children

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Updated February 07, 2009

Updated February 07, 2009

What about allergy shots for children?

Allergen immunotherapy has been shown to be especially helpful in the treatment of allergies and asthma in children. In fact, studies show that allergy shots against current allergens can reduce the chance that the child will develop new allergies in the future.

Allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis responds well to allergy shots, and most children require less medication with exposure to allergens, and some do not require any medication at all.

Children with asthma who are treated with allergy shots experience fewer symptoms with exposure to allergens, as well as fewer symptoms with exposure to non-allergic irritant triggers, such as cold air and viral infections.

Recently, it has been shown that children with allergic rhinitis treated with allergy shots are much less likely to develop asthma compared to children who did not receive allergy shots.

Are allergy shots safe in children?

In general, allergy shots are safe and effective therapies, even when administered to children. However, this therapy is not usually recommended in children less than 5 years of age. This is not a hard and fast rule; but is a useful cutoff point to determine when a child is mature enough to communicate symptoms of a reaction to the allergy shots, which may require treatment.

When is a child old enough to receive allergy shots?

The decision is made on a case-by-case basis, and age plays only part of the decision. Maturity is much more important than age, and children mature at different ages. A child is mature enough to receive allergy shots when the child can come into the doctor’s office knowing they will receive an injection and not cry or fight the process. The child also needs to be able to communicate with their parent or with the medical staff if they are having symptoms of anaphylaxis as a result of the allergy shots.

Some children are mature enough to understand the process of allergy shots at age 5 or 6, while other children may not be mature enough until 8 or 9 years of age. Still other children won’t be mature enough until 11 or 12. A good test is to see how the child did with allergy skin testing – if the child did not fight or cry with this procedure, there is a good chance that they are ready for allergy shots.

Find out more about the basics of allergy shots.

Source: Allergen Immunotherapy Practice Parameters. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003; 90:S1-40.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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