Allergy Desensitization (Allergy Immunotherapy)
Allergy desensitization (or allergy immunotherapy) involves stimulation of the immune system with gradually increasing doses of the substances to which a person is allergic, in order to reduce the strength of the IgE and its effect on the mast cells. This procedure is very effective for allergies to pollen, mites, cats, and especially stinging insects. It usually takes 6 months to a year to become effective and injections are usually required for 3-5 years for a lasting effect. Desensitization shots are preceded by an allergy scratch test in which allergens are introduced under the skin to identify the allergen that triggers an allergic reaction.