Hayfever injection FAQs
Is there an injection for hayfever?
For the millions of people in the UK with hayfever there are a number of treatment options available to bring them relief from symptoms such as a blocked or runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes.
Many people will buy tablets and sprays from a pharmacy to ease the symptoms. In severe cases another option is immunotherapy that aims to 'switch off' the allergy, also known as 'desensitisation'.
One way this can be performed is with injections in which increasing doses of allergens are injected under the skin. Several injections are needed - over a number of years - as greater amounts of allergen are introduced under specially controlled conditions. This is usually done at a specialist clinic in case of severe allergic reactions, called anaphylaxis.
Is there an alternative to injections?
An alternative method of immunotherapy uses drops or a tablet that is allowed to dissolve under the tongue, called sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). As with injection immunotherapy, treatment is needed for a number of years.
Is immunotherapy a cure for hayfever?
No. Immunotherapy cannot cure your hayfever, but Allergy UK describes immunotherapy as the 'closest thing to a cure'.
Are there other injections for hayfever?
Another injection that some doctors used to recommend for severe hayfever cases is a steroid injection called depot (slow release) corticosteroid injections, sometimes referred to by the brand name Kenalog. This may have been appropriate when hayfever threatened to interfere with important events in a person's life, such as exams. However, any steroid treatment has side-effects, such as weakening the immune system during treatment.
These injections are unlikely to be available on the NHS but may be available privately.
The NHS says experts do not recommend these injections due to risks outweighing benefits when compared with other treatments available.