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If your kid is always sniffling, snorting and sneezing, it may be time to find a new way to deal with her allergies. Antihistamines and nasal sprays offer temporary relief, but some kids only get so-so results from medication.

Immunotherapy, or allergy shots, are a way to desensitize a person to the substances that trigger his or her symptoms in the first place. Another huge benefit? In allergic kids, immunotherapy can prevent the progression from hay fever to asthma, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Here’s how it works: Injections that contain increasing amounts of allergen(s) are given once or twice a week for about three to six months until you reach a monthly maintenance dose. Then, your child gets shots, usually every two to four weeks, for three to five years. Local itchiness and swelling at the injection site are common, but temporary. Kids generally get symptom relief after about six to 12 months of immunotherapy.

If it’s too hard to keep up with a rigid shot schedule (or if your kid isn’t going to put up with all those needles), ask about sublingual tablets, which dissolve under the tongue. This is a newer form of immunotherapy approved for some grass, ragweed and dust mite allergies.

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