How to Give Allergy Shots

by , last modified on 8/8/17.
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Allergy injections are NOT administered the same way that vaccines like flu shots or pediatric shot series are given. Allergy shots are given into the sub-cutaneous tissues and NOT the muscle like most vaccines. The subcutaneous tissue is the layer where the fat is... or the layer between the skin and muscle. This article attempts to instruct how one administers allergy shots correctly into the subcutaneous tissues. After understanding how to inject, instructions on the correct amount to be drawn up is given.

For more information, please contact our office to make an appoinment. Click here to download these instructions into printable pdf format.


After drawing up the appropriate amount of allergy serum, hold the syringe comfortably in your dominant hand. Visually confirm correct volume of serum drawn up and that there are no air bubbles present.

Click on the picture for a larger view.

shot bevel


The allergy shot is administered into the tricep region of the arm (back part of the upper arm). Pinch only the skin (excluding the muscle) between your thumb and index finger using your non-dominant hand. Pinching helps lift and isolate the subcutaneous tissues up and away from the muscle.

Click on the picture for a larger view.

shot approach


Insert needle into the skin ONLY HALF THE LENGTH OF THE NEEDLE!!! Do NOT push the needle all the way in. Inject the serum.

That's it!

Click on the picture for a larger view.

shot subcutaneous


Note that the syringe was inserted to the hub and that the skin was not pinched prior to insertion. Most likely, the needle is in the muscle and there is an increased risk of anaphylaxis if given improperly like this.

Click on the picture for a larger view.

shot incorrect

Wondering about whether gloves should be worn with allergy shots? Click here for more info.

Allergy shots are given using a 1cc syringe with a 25 gauge or higher needle. The amounts injected are miniscule and may be confusing for an individual (even for non-allergy physicians and nurses). At least in our practice, the amounts administered are as follows: 0.025 cc, 0.05 cc, 0.10 cc, 0.20 cc, and 0.25 cc. Here are the photos depicting each of these amounts. Click on the picture for a magnified view.

Amount: 0.025 cc
Amount: 0.05 cc
Amount: 0.10 cc
Amount: 0.20 cc
Amount: 0.25 cc


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