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Home arrow Patient Education arrow Allergy FAQ - Allergy Shots
Allergy FAQ - Allergy Shots PDF Print E-mail

What are some typical allergy problems?
Respiratory allergy - usually related to a person who is allergic to inhalant allergens such as tree pollen, grass, animals, dust mites and molds.  Hay fever (rhinitis) and asthma are the most common results of a respiratory allergy.  Symptoms are usually sneezing, itching, watery eyes and wheezing.

Skin-related allergy - is a reaction to an allergen that you come into contact with such as fragrances, metals, and even latex.  Symptoms are usually burning, itching, reddening or blisters in the effected area.

Food allergy - The most common food allergies are: milk, egg, soy, peanuts, and shellfish.  The most common symptoms of these allergies are eczema, diarrhea, and in the worse case anaphylaxis.

Stinging insect allergy - the most common insect sting that seem to cause problems are wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, honey bees and fire ants. Some people just have a small reaction at the bite site.  The most serious reaction is anaphylaxis which includes exhaustion, dizziness,  swelling of the throat, unconsciousness, and even cardiac arrest.

What is immunotherapy?
Also known as allergy shots, is a preventative therapy that includes injecting small amounts of the allergic antigens into your body system.  The same antigens that cause your problems are the ones to help you. The injections boost our immunity to the allergens that cause your reactions.

How often do you get a shot and how long do you have to get them?
Once you have been allergy tested and know exactly what you are allergic to you then start weekly shots.  The number of shots can vary from one to three depending on how many things you are allergic to. The injections get stronger with every dose as long as they are tolerated.  At that point you are in a maintenance dose and will be there for the duration of your treatment.  Most patients are treated anywhere from three to five years, maybe longer depending on the severity of the allergies.

What are the indications that Immunotherapy may help you?
Symptoms are moderate to severe and occur more than two to three months a year.
Symptomatic medications have been unsuccessful.
Patients prefer shots long term rather that medication.
Allergens are not easily avoided.

Are there side effects to the allergy shots?
Some patients have redness or soreness at the injection site. Some have swelling and soreness up to
twelve hours after the shot.  Although these may be uncomfortable they are not serious.  The most serious side effect is anaphylaxis which is rare and very unlikely to occur when proper precautions are taken.

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