CAN A PERSON BE CURED OF AN ALLERGY?
Allergies cannot be cured but allergy symptoms they cause can be treated and controlled. This may require making changes in your environment or behavior to avoid or reduce your exposure to certain allergens. Medication also may help relieve symptoms of an allergic reaction. Even with allergy treatment, your body’s immune system may continue to react when exposed to allergens. In some cases, however, children may outgrow their allergies, particularly those to food.
Immunotherapy, or allergy shots, is not a cure. Rather, the shots are a way to significantly lessen the symptoms caused by exposure to specific substances.
CAN I TAKE MY SHOTS HOME AND GIVE THEM TO MYSELF OR CAN MY FRIEND/SPOUSE GIVE ME THE INJECTIONS?
Our policy does not allow you to take your injections out of the office until you reach your maintenance level, provided you are not having any problems. At that point, you must take the class that we offer to instruct you how to properly give your injection, how to pull up the different dosages in a syringe, etc. You must also have a current Epipen/Auvi-Q (dual pack). We can let you take the serum to another doctor’s office for them to administer the injections prior to reaching maintenance level if it is difficult to come to our office. This would be efficient if you live out of town or if our current hours do not work well for you.
DOES STRESS AFFECT ALLERGIES?
Stress is your body’s response to conflict or situations, both internal and external, that interfere with the normal balance in your life. Virtually all of the body’s systems, including the digestive system, cardiovascular system, nervous system, and immune system, make adjustments in response to stress. When you are feeling anxious or stressed, your body releases numerous hormones and other chemicals, including histamine. Histamine is a powerful chemical that can lead to allergy-like symptoms.
Stress does not cause allergies, but it can make an existing reaction worse by increasing the level of histamine in the bloodstream.
HOW LONG AFTER TAKING ALLERGY SHOTS WILL I NOTICE IMPROVEMENTS?
You may notice an improvement after completion of your first vial, approximately 10 injections. The more allergic the patient, the more time before improvement.
HOW LONG DOES ALLERGY TESTING TAKE?
If you’re having an allergy skin test, plan to spend about an hour for the entire appointment. For the scratch and intradermal skin tests, the allergen placement part of the test takes about 5 to 10 minutes. Then you will have to wait about 15 minutes to see how your skin reacts.
HOW MANY SHOTS WILL I HAVE TO TAKE?
Quite a few. You will start getting shots once per week. You’ll probably need to receive maintenance shots for 3 to 5 years. Then you may be able to stop having shots after the physician’s evaluation.
I AM ALLERGIC TO POLLENS AND SOME FOODS. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES THAT MY CHILD WILL ALSO HAVE ALLERGIES?
Children typically react to allergies much like their adult parents. If both parents have a history of allergy, there is a 65% to 75% chance that the child will, too. Typical allergy symptoms in children appear as a thin, watery nasal drainage, sneezing, and watery eyes.
Allergy testing in children can be done by either skin testing or by a blood test (RAST). The good news is that many allergic children can be managed by a combination of nasal allergy sprays and oral antihistamines.
I TOOK SHOTS YEARS AGO AND THEY DIDN’T HELP ME SO I QUIT. WOULD IT BE DIFFERENT THIS TIME?
Methods of testing that are being used today have been perfected. Patients must be compliant with their weekly injections for it to be effective. Today caregivers are educating their patients with helpful information. When a patient has large reactions at the site of their dosage, their vials are remixed and dosages are decreased. Watching cross reactive foods near shot day will help. We consider current seasons, pollen counts and patient’s allergy levels when mixing their vials.
WHAT CAUSES NASAL ALLERGIES AND HOW CAN I CONTROL THEM?
Nasal allergies are most commonly caused by one or more of four kinds of allergens: pollen (which causes seasonal allergies), house-dust mites, mold and animals (which cause nasal allergies). Other substances, called irritants, can bother the nose and make allergy symptoms worse. Example of irritants include cigarette smoke, perfume, aerosol sprays, smoke from wood stoves or fireplaces, car exhaust and other strong odors.
Learn more about these common causes of nasal allergies:
Pollen (Weed, Trees and Grass)
Causes of other common allergies and how to control them:
WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE A REACTION?
If the site is red, itchy or swollen you may apply Benadryl spray or hydrocortisone cream at the site to relieve the symptom. Do not scratch the area. Ice can be applied to reduce any swelling. If you are having difficulty breathing, you should use an epipen or twinject. Any time you have a reaction you should notify your doctor so it can be documented in your chart.
WHAT ELSE CAN HELP EASE MY ALLERGY SYMPTOMS?
In addition to immunotherapy, we offer classes to all patients to further educate them in areas of environmental control, cross-reactive foods and anaphylaxis. We also offer products to purchase for home use that will help reduce your allergy symptoms.
We often hear patients say, “I was on shots years ago and they didn’t work,” or “My friend was on shots and said they didn’t help her.” We get a lot of positive feedback from our patients and we contribute it to the amount of education we offer and we continually reiterate it to the patient, reminding them of what season we’re in, what cross reactive foods to avoid and the daily pollen count.
WHAT IS AN EPIPEN AND/OR AUVI-Q AND HOW DO I USE IT?
If prescribed, an EpiPen/Auvi-Q is used to give yourself a shot during an emergency allergic reaction. The pen has a hidden needle activated by a spring and is disposable. This makes giving yourself a shot really easy. You should keep your EpiPen/Auvi-Q available.
If you have an allergic reaction, give yourself a shot using the EpiPen/Auvi-Q. Jab the pen against the side of your thigh for 10 seconds. A spring-activated plunger will be released pushing the hidden needle into your thigh muscle and giving you a dose of epinephrine. Lie down and elevate your legs while you wait for emergency help to arrive.
You should have a dual pack containing two doses at all times in the event you need your second dose. Do not separate by leaving one at home and one at work.
Be sure to use your EpiPen/Auvi-Q if you have airway constriction.
Do not store these pens in heat such as the glove compartment of your vehicle.
Do not put in refrigerator.
Check the date to be sure it has not expired. These are good for one year only.
Adult dosages can be used on children provided their weight is 65 pounds or more.
If their weight is 33-65 pound they need an EpiPen Jr.
WHAT IS ANAPHYLAXIS SHOCK?
Anaphylaxis is a sudden systemic-not restricted to a single area of the body- allergic response. Anaphylaxis, which can lead to death if it is not quickly treated, occurs when large numbers of cells degranulate in a short period of time.
WHEN CAN I NOT TAKE AN ALLERGY INJECTION?
There are certain times that you cannot receive an allergy injection.
If you have gotten a flu shot or any other type of injection of vaccine in the last 48 hours
If you have had fever within the last 24 hours
If you have a rash including poison ivy or poison oak
If you have wheezing or asthma