If you suffer from the sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes and congestion of allergies, you may have considered getting allergy shots to help you cope. But the inconvenience of going to a doctor?s office for weekly injections, the pain of needles and the bothersome side effects of treatment may have deterred you from achieving long-term allergy relief. A new form of allergy treatment, which takes the basic science behind the allergy shots and reformulates it in the convenient form of a few drops placed under the tongue, may be coming soon to provide convenient relief for allergy sufferers. An allergy occurs when your body overreacts to pollen, dust or pet dander. Thus, when you inhale one of these particles, it sets off a red alert, triggering your immune system to release IgE and other immune substances to attack the foreign particles. Unfortunately, the IgE antibodies also trigger the release of other chemicals, like histamines, that widen blood vessels, leading to hives or the swelling of the nasal membranes, causing much discomfort. Allergy medicines work by blocking the action of the histamines, relieving the discomfort of allergies. However, immunotherapy works by preventing the IgE antibodies from attacking the allergen in the first place, preventing the cascade of events that cause most allergic symptoms from ever occuring. Immunotherapy taken in the form of allergy shots is based on the idea that if you gradually inject increasing concentrations of the particles that set off your immune system, your body will gradually acclimate to the allergen and block the action of IgE, thus preventing the allergic reaction. the effects of sublingual immunotherapy are not identical to injected immunotherapy. Because there is a limited amount of room under your tongue, smaller dosages are given at a time. The high doses associated with allergy shots, sometimes cause minor allergy symptoms, so a smaller dose may translate to fewer side effects, but it is also a less effective treatment. Several studies, using varying doses, have shown that immunotherapy does work, but only in the second year of use, while allergy shots work within the first year. Patients have to administer a few drops of liquid underneath their tongue and hold their tongue down for a few minutes to ensure that the liquid is being absorbed. This is done every day for about a month to raise one?s immune response. After this period, you enter the "maintenance" period, where the frequency of treatment decreases to a level that will keep your immune system levels where they should be to block IgE action. Allergy shots work similarly, shots are given once or twice a week for 4 to 6 months, until the maintenance period is reached, whereupon the frequency of shots is gradually reduced.