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Allergy Injection Information

  INJECTION INSTRUCTIONS

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT ALLERGY SHOTS

  1.      WHAT ARE ALLERGY SHOTS (immunotherapy)? Allergy shots are injections of substances you are allergic to.  Injections are given in very small amounts, increasing the dose as tolerated.  The initial series, usually consists of four vials made up for each individual.  The vials start from the weakest, which is vial #1 and increase to the most concentrated, which is vial #4 or your maintenance dose.  Since the effectiveness of allergy shots is dose related, it is important that you receive the highest appropriate concentration.

2.      ARE ALLERGY SHOTS GIVEN TO EVERYTHING I AM ALLERGIC TO? The best treatment is to avoid the things that cause allergy.  This may be easy when allergy is caused by things like dogs, cats and food, but it is impossible to completely avoid house dust, and pollens.  The things that you are allergic to and cannot avoid are what you will receive shots for.

3.      HOW LONG WILL I BE RECEIVING SHOTS? The length of time shots are given varies with everyone.  During the “build-up” phase, increasing doses of allergy injections are given once or twice a week (as tolerated) until predetermined target or “maintenance” dose is achieved.  This usually takes 3-4 months.  Maintenance level is the highest dose of your concentrated vial you will receive.  If symptoms improve, shots are usually administered every 2-3 weeks for at least 4 to 5 years of maintenance therapy.

4.      WHAT HAPPENS IF I MISS A SHOT?   We encourage you to try to maintain the schedule we have set up for you.  If you do have to miss an injection it will lengthen the time it will take for you to reach your maintenance level.

5.      WHY MUST I WAIT AT THE OFFICE AFTER I RECEIVE MY SHOT?   Allergy injections should be administered at a medical facility with a physician present since occasional reactions may require immediate therapy.  When receiving immunotherapy with allergenic extracts there is a small risk of a severe systemic reaction and very rare fatalities have been reported.  If a systemic reaction does occur, it usually does so within twenty minutes of the injection, although later reactions have been described.  A committee of the American Academy of Allergy has recommended a thirty minutes wait in the doctor’s office.

6.      CAN I RECEIVE AN INJECTION IF I AM WHEEZING OR HAVING ANY OTHER BREATHING DIFFICULTIES?  If you are wheezing hard or experiencing more difficulty breathing than you normally have, then you probably will not receive your injection.  We ask you to please let us know if you are not feeling well when you come for your injection.

7.       HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO START FEELING THE BENEFIT OF THE SHOTS?   Some patients may start to receive benefits within several months.  Others may not receive maximum benefits for a year or two. 

8.      WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE ANY DIFFICULTIES AFTER I LEAVE THE OFFICE?   Some people experience what is known as a late phase reaction.  Your arm may swell, itch or hurt.  Ice can be applied for the swelling or soreness.  If the itching is confined to where you received the shot, you may want to take an antihistamine.  We would like to be made aware of any of these reactions, however, when you come for your next injection.  If after you leave the office, your symptoms become very severe or you have generalized itching, hives or start to have any difficulty breathing, please contact us immediately or go to the nearest emergency room

9.       DO I NEED AN APPOINTMENT TO RECEIVE MY INJECTION & WHEN ARE THE TIMES I MAY RECEIVE THE INJECTION? You do not need to schedule appointment for your injection.  You should not come on two consecutive days if you are working towards your maintenance level and are coming twice a week.  A forty-eight hour lapse is recommended.