The goal of allergy injections is to increase your body's tolerance to allergens. By giving very small but gradually increasing doses of pure, natural extracts of the specific substances to which you are allergic, allergy shots gradually decrease your reaction to these allergens. This is a long term treatment, usually continuing over several years. Injections are started at once or twice weekly intervals, eventually progressing to a maintenance interval of once a month. Once reaching the maintenance interval, there will be times when a brief return to weekly injections may be necessary.
Each set of allergy vaccines (extract) is prepared in one of our offices under controlled sterile conditions by mixing special combinations of stock materials. The mixture is individually prepared based upon your history and skin test results. The number of sets and dilutions of vaccine you require for treatment depends upon the number and severity of your reactions. Extracts are prepared in several strengths with the strongest identified as full strength. It is necessary to begin treatment with the weaker doses to allow you to tolerate the injections with a minimum possibility of reactions.
A "local" reaction is a red, itchy, slightly swollen area at the injection site. If necessary, it is usually treated by applying a cold compress, or ice pack, to the reaction area and taking an antihistamine. The nurse will make a note of this type of reaction when checking your arm at the end of the required twenty minute waiting time. If a local reaction occurs after you leave the office, please inform the office prior to your next injection.
"Systemic" reactions" occur less frequently and are more serious. This can include the following symptoms: sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, generalized itching, hives, chest tightness, wheezing, or even shock. Notify someone in the clinic immediately if you have any of these symptoms. The situation will be promptly assessed and treatment initiated if indicated. Fortunately, if treated promptly, these reactions do not usually last more than one hour.
The chances and severity of a systemic reaction are time dependent. Most serious systemic reactions occur within 20 minutes of the injection. For this reason you will be asked to remain in the office area for twenty(20) minutes after your injection. There will be no exceptions.
If you have a reaction, your immunotherapy dose will be adjusted so that you can continue your shots safely.
1. Injections will be given according to the allergist's orders.
2. Do not take your injections during any acute illness such as the first few days of a cold.
3. Do not take your injection if there is any infection or fever. You may continue if you are free of fever for 24 hours.
4. If you are wheezing or suffering increased allergy symptoms, please discuss this with one of our nurses before coming into the office for an injection.
5. Notify your allergist immediately if you become pregnant. Some changes in your treatment may be indicated.