Allergy Immunotherapy INFORMATION (Allergy Shots)
Allergy immunotherapy is indicated for allergy symptoms, including allergic rhinitis (i.e. sneezing, nasal congestion), allergic conjunctivitis (i.e. itchy, watery eyes), and/or allergic asthma. They are not indicated, at the current time, for chronic hives, food allergies, and/or eczema. Allergy injections should help decrease the intensity and/or frequency of your allergic symptoms and, hopefully, decrease the need for medications.
Once you decide to begin allergy shots, it takes about 7-14 days for us to prepare your allergy serum. The serum contains purified, sterile extracts of the allergens that correspond to both your allergy history and skin test results. The serum is then diluted to create vials of various strengths. You are started on the most dilute vial and then are gradually increased to your maintenance, or your strongest, vial. We will call you once your serum is ready and schedule an appointment for you to come in and receive your first allergy shot(s
Allergy immunotherapy is administered subcutaneously (injections) once or twice weekly (every 3-10 days) until the patient reaches maintenance. The dose is gradually increased each shot visit, provided that there are no adverse reactions. The build-up process can take up to 6-9 months, which can vary depending on the individual. Once the patient reaches maintenance, shots are gradually spaced out from every week to every two weeks, then every three weeks, and then eventually once a month. Improvement in allergy symptoms may be noted as early as 2 months in the buildup phase or as late as after the first year of therapy. In certain patients, allergy immunotherapy may not benefit your symptoms even after a year on allergy shots. If this is your situation, please be sure to discuss this with your allergist.
Since the serum is an allergenic substance, side effects can occur. Side effects of allergy immunotherapy include local reactions (redness and itchiness at the site of the injection) but they can also, although rare, lead to systemic reactions. Systemic reactions include diffuse hives, hausea/vomiting, lip/tongue swelling, difficulty breathing and/or swallowing, generalized flushing and/or itchiness, and/or dizziness. If these symptoms occur, usually epinephrine, antihistamines, and/or steroids can help counter these adverse reactions. The possibility of the systemic reaction is the main reason that we recommend that you wait for at least 30 minutes after your allergy injection at our office. You will also have been prescribed an EPI PEN to use as instructed and only if needed after you leave the office. Please bring your
epi pen with you when you come for your allergy shot. During the 30 minute wait, if you have any adverse
symptoms, please notify myself or one of my staff members IMMEDIATELY!
If you are on a medication of BETA BLOCKERS, please notify us BEFORE you receive your allergy shot. Also, if you had any problems with your last injection(s) including local redness/swelling at the shot site, please let us know BEFORE you receive your allergy shot. Please do NOT come for your allergy shot if you are having a fever, hives, difficulty breathing (i.e. persistent cough, wheezing, shortness of breath), and/or having nausea/vomiting. Please do NOT get your allergy shot on the same day that you have had another immunization (i.e. flu shot, tetanus shot Please notify our office if you are pregnant immediately.
Please do NOT exercise for at least one hour after receiving your allergy shot.