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Old 05-30-2012, 02:03 PM   #1
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Are allergy shots safe?

I have allergies pretty much all year round. They often result in congestion, drainage, swelling, pressure, and regular sinus/throat/ear infections. I saw an ENT, and he recommended that I get shots for my allergies. He said the course of the treatment could take up to five years, and even though I'm insured and my parents would be paying for it, I'm still worried about the cost as well as the safety of the whole thing. Has anyone here gotten allergy shots? And if so, how well do they work, how long do they work for, and have you had any negative side effects?

 
Old 05-30-2012, 02:28 PM   #2
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Re: Are allergy shots safe?

Not sure what you mean by "safe." Some people experience side effects such as swelling of the arm where the shot is given. But you are made to wait in the doctor's office for up to 30 minutes after each injection to see if you have an adverse reaction - rash, anaphalaxis, etc. so they can treat you immediately and stop the reaction. Yes, the standard regimen is 5 years. In the beginning you can go as often as twice a week so that you build up to maintenance dosage sooner. THen it's once per month. At my doc's when you got new vials, they were split into partial shots for 2 wweeks apart and then back to once a month to be sure the mix was correct.

As for how well they last, for some people it's a lifetime. For most, not so much. I am 66 and have done them 3 times in my life for 5 years each time. On me they last about 10-15 years before I have to get back on the antihistamines and start thinking about the next round of shots. They definitely worked for me = and work for many others....

 
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Old 05-31-2012, 08:02 AM   #3
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Re: Are allergy shots safe?

They are reasonably safe. Like Titchou said, there's a small chance of a bad reaction. I've been on them for two years, though, and the only side effect I ever have is itching/swelling at the injection site, like an insect bite. Sometimes the swelling spreads a few inches, but it usually goes away within a day. If it bothers me, I ice it.

They have made a major difference. Two years ago, I was absolutely tormented by pollen, including hives and asthma. I still notice when the pollen count is high, but my symptoms are improved probably 80-90%. It took about a year for them to start working, so be patient! (Some people see the benefits in as little as 4 months, but allow a full year.)

I actually don't pay ANYTHING for my allergy shots. I just go to the office, the nurse gives me the injection, I wait around to make sure I don't have a bad reaction, then I leave. My insurance covers 100%, possibly because they don't want me in the ER for asthma again.

 
Old 05-31-2012, 08:21 AM   #4
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Re: Are allergy shots safe?

On the cost part, the way it worked for me is that the doctor charged for the serum only. The injection itself was free. I did have a $200 cap on allergy treatment at one point but the serum for a year was usually just under that or just over so it never cost me that much.

 
Old 05-31-2012, 10:41 PM   #5
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Re: Are allergy shots safe?

Sorry to put a dent in these wonderful ladies' success records with allergy injection, BUT...

When young, my parents started an injection program for me at the older Dewey Clinic in Omaha, NE, but it wasn't helping after quite sometime (don't quite recall the amount of time involved) so we exited the program

At about age 29 I started an injection program for juniper/western cedar. After the first or initial strength series, I advanced to the 2nd and stronger series' and ran into reaction problems ... 30 seconds to 1 minute after each injection, I doubled over with abdominal pain. It didn't take long for me to exit that program either ... the doctor allergist thought I had become allergic to the precipitate carrying the allergen, but he wasn't sure. Knowing what I know now, I personally would never go back to injections and additionally there is no guarantee they will work even after 5 years.

Now I and my wife both just use NAET (non-invasive, drug-free) to get rid of anything that appears to be an allergen. It works wonders for us. is immediate, and usually costs nothing as we have learned the testing/treating process ourselves, but occasionally still use a naet practitioner for some allergen we can't get access to.

For example, I had been allergic to what we call Midwest golden rod all my life, injections didn't help when young for the time involved. Then when older at about age 59, I picked a baby-food jar of that Midwest golden rod as I was leaving Kansas, took it immediately to my Oregon home, treated for it, and immediately lost the allergy to it and haven't been bothered by it since. Now we do this type of elimination all the time when discovering a new allergen, not necessarily taking it across country, but testing/treating for it wherever we are. Pollens are a little tougher, but a practitioner can help.

I know some people don't care to involve themselves in holistic treatments,(probably because they don't understand them) as in NAET, but when you are talking almost instant relief from most allergens, no bloating or no abdominal pain anymore from food allergies, and the ability to quickly reduce your chances of allergies advancing to serious illness, there has been no other technique discovered that compares. Immediate and very accurate NMRT (neuromuscular response testing) and NAET (for treating) is awesome. I would never switch from this system now. It is just too bad that more allergy sufferers and IBS sufferers don't try to learn about NAET.

DAD

Last edited by 2HelpU; 05-31-2012 at 11:05 PM.

 
Old 06-01-2012, 04:00 AM   #6
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Re: Are allergy shots safe?

Those types of treatments certainly work for some folks. I know several for whom local honey took care of their allergies. I tried it. Ate so much honey I was sick of it. Didn't work for me so back to the injections. Just my experience.

 
Old 06-01-2012, 04:54 AM   #7
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Re: Are allergy shots safe?

Hello all, this is my first day here. I have had shots in the past. One experience was very bad, and the second one was good. But we moved, so that ended. Recently I decided to try again and after only 2 shots, have quit. Things have changed and not for the better. I was told to take a Zyrtec before going to the office. I was getting 4 shots a week. I became alarmed when the pain in my right arm did not go away, but lingered. It was painful to move. I felt that the dosages were being increased WAY too fast for me. I did some online research and also talked to some fellow patients. I was shocked at what some people experience. It seems like the doctors expect that you will have reactions and that's no big deal. Just keep an Epi-pen handy. I was not comfortable with that. There has to be a better way, and NAET is something I will look into. I am on a fixed income (SS/SSI), so I hope it is affordable.

 
Old 06-01-2012, 05:19 AM   #8
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Re: Are allergy shots safe?

I started getting allergy shots at the end of March. I am about halfway through my build-up stage. With my insurance I have not had to pay anything out of pocket, it is completely covered.

So far, I have just had two minor reactions and the nurses give me repeat dose instead of an increase while my body adjusts. The first time, I got a hive in my armpit after my shot and the second time I got a hive on my stomach after my shot. The hive on my stomach was after my vacation so I was off schedule. The shots are pretty safe, you just have to make sure you communication any reactions you have so they can react accordingly. Everyone's body is different and your immune system is working to fight off the allergens, so there is always a possibility of a reaction. Aside from my occasional hive, I have not had any reactions. The nurse said as long as you don't have hives that are spreading you are fine.

I was very anxious when I started the shots but have become a lot more comfortable with it. It's important to go to an Allergist that you trust and ask lots of questions. My doctor takes the shots very seriously and is on call 24 hours a day if I have problems after my shot.

I have already noticed some small improvements in my allergic asthma.

 
Old 06-01-2012, 05:50 AM   #9
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Re: Are allergy shots safe?

That it is expected and accepted to have reactions to the injections was a surprise to me. It used to mean that the antigen needed to be weaker. It did not mean that you kept going, ignoring what the body was saying. When I told the nurse that they were advancing me too fast, I was told that it needed to be that way and that going slowly wouldn't do any good. I felt like they were assaulting my body, forcing it to cope when the reason for getting the shots was because I was having trouble coping with the allergens in the first place. There's just something about the way they do things that doesn't feel right. An Epi-pen is for those times when you ingest something that you are seriously allergic to. Maybe there were nuts in that cookie that no one told you about. To use the pen as a back up for reactions due to intentional overdosing seems wrong to me. My opinion only. Also, my allergist comes to town every 2 weeks, a nurse from his main office comes weekly to administer the shots. He uses an exam room in a local doctor's office. He lives 2 hours away, so in an emergency the local ER would be the only way to get help.

Last edited by portabletv; 06-01-2012 at 05:53 AM. Reason: Additional comment

 
Old 06-01-2012, 06:59 AM   #10
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Re: Are allergy shots safe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by portabletv View Post
That it is expected and accepted to have reactions to the injections was a surprise to me. It used to mean that the antigen needed to be weaker. It did not mean that you kept going, ignoring what the body was saying. When I told the nurse that they were advancing me too fast, I was told that it needed to be that way and that going slowly wouldn't do any good. I felt like they were assaulting my body, forcing it to cope when the reason for getting the shots was because I was having trouble coping with the allergens in the first place. There's just something about the way they do things that doesn't feel right. An Epi-pen is for those times when you ingest something that you are seriously allergic to. Maybe there were nuts in that cookie that no one told you about. To use the pen as a back up for reactions due to intentional overdosing seems wrong to me. My opinion only. Also, my allergist comes to town every 2 weeks, a nurse from his main office comes weekly to administer the shots. He uses an exam room in a local doctor's office. He lives 2 hours away, so in an emergency the local ER would be the only way to get help.
I have never felt like allergy shot reactions were expected or accepted at my Allergist's office. When I told them I got a hive they took it very seriously and did not increase my dosage. It sounds like you need a different Allergist.

 
Old 06-01-2012, 07:08 AM   #11
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Re: Are allergy shots safe?

Portabletv: Your allergist has very strange protocols, that is NOT the normal way of doing it!

When I started, the nurse told me to watch for reactions and describe them when I came for my next shot. If I got a little welt, we'd keep going. If I got a welt bigger than a quarter, we'd repeat that dose until my body tolerated it. Once or twice I had a large welt that lasted more than 24 hours, if that happened we'd go backwards.

There is absolutely no evidence to support the use of NAET, nor does it make sense biologically. Don't waste the little money you have on it.

 
Old 06-01-2012, 07:12 AM   #12
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Re: Are allergy shots safe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeezerWheezer View Post
I have never felt like allergy shot reactions were expected or accepted at my Allergist's office. When I told them I got a hive they took it very seriously and did not increase my dosage. It sounds like you need a different Allergist.
I agree. But the one I had is the only one available unless I drive over 30 miles to the big city, and that is not an option at this time. When I did have good allergy care it was in another state at a large medical facility and they were extremely careful. I wish that were the norm instead of the exception. Last spring I had a spontaneous outbreak of grotesque, hideous hives all over my body. They were popping up like microwave popcorn. I had no idea what triggered them. A doctor once told me I was sensitive to small changes, so I tell that to the allergist, and I think he hears me, but apparently not. I've lived more years than I am going to live, so the days of being seen and not heard (in any situation) are over. It's my body and I should have a say about what happens. It seems like I have to have a problem in order for them to believe me. I feel that to make me suffer and cause me distress is wrong.

 
Old 06-01-2012, 07:31 AM   #13
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Re: Are allergy shots safe?

[QUOTE=janewhite1;4990643]Portabletv: Your allergist has very strange protocols, that is NOT the normal way of doing it!

My medical care is covered by Medicaid since I am not yet old enough for Medicare. Perhaps that is a factor. When I was told that I would be getting 4 shots a week, I was shocked. I had to push to get the doctor to do a vial test first, and when he did and he saw the reactions on my arms, he told me that I was the first person he had ever done that for. Consequently, they diluted the antigen, though not enough. So, the norm is to inject first and wait to see what happens. Last week a young girl told me that she also got 4 shots a week and that her right arm swelled so badly that she could not use it. I was horrified. This cannot be a good thing. Week afer week, she gets these shots and has the same reaction. She was a student and coming alone to get the shots. Another patient who was also waiting told me that she had the same reaction, plus a large knot on her arm. I came home after my shots and when the pain in my arm did not subside after 3 days and I continued to have trouble lifting it, I called and cancelled. I asked first about going slower and they refused, so I am done. God bless those that still go. They are fearless.

Last edited by portabletv; 06-01-2012 at 07:33 AM.

 
Old 06-01-2012, 04:55 PM   #14
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Re: Are allergy shots safe?

Yes, that's not normal. They have always backed up for me when needed. And I got 4 shots a week all 3 times I was on them. The reason there are additional vials is because the molecule size is not the same for all antigens. So one size is in one vial and the other in a second bottle. This is very common for people with several allergies. Since I am allergic to everything they tested me for - all 3's and 4's - they have to include everything for me. And yes, my arm swells sometimes. And yes, it may hurt but I HATE needles and flinched every time I got a shot and had bruises for almost all 5 years! Ugh....It's a wonder I stuck it out.

And personally, I wouldn't call "a hive" a reaction. if I worried about every little hive I get I'd have time for little else. Some of us are just lucky that way,

 
Old 06-01-2012, 08:40 PM   #15
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Re: Are allergy shots safe?

How long do the shots last for you? It sounds like you have to do the process repeatedly through the years. I bought a nasal irrigation device today (Waterpik Pulsator) and will try that. Can't hurt.

 
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