I have battled allergies and all the sneezing and wheezing since I was a teen. Its a family thing, mostly on my mom’s side. I’m allergic to many common things, such as dust, pollen and pet dander. Cats have always been the worst for me. I could never live with a cat, no matter how cool they may be. Technically, I’m allergic to my dogs too, just a little.

Testing

Allergy testing showed me that dust and dust mites were highest on the list for me. This is comforting since DUST IS EVERYWHERE and Id have to live like Howard Hughes (later years) to be free of dust.

Have you ever seen dust mites? Probably not since they are microscopic. Here you go, take a look, these are everywhere. I threw up a little when I saw them on a huge poster in the doctors office. Little soldiers of hell.

For years, I managed by taking OTS Allergy medicine like Claritin D when I had an attack. Times have changed. I have reluctantly aged and now require more help.

Allergy Shots

I decided to get allergy shots earlier this year when I experienced some shortness of breath and more wheezing. Tests concluded I had allergy induced asthma. Bummer. Since January I have been on a steady dose of Zyrtec and Singulair, which has helped greatly.

 

I only take a decongestant when I have an attack (which still happens more often than Id like). Feels like I clean my apartment ALL THE TIME. Plus I have two dogs (one of which may or may not sleep in the bed with me, shhh, don’t tell my allergy doc).

 

I took the doctors advice and decided to get allergy shots. What the heck are allergy shots and I really have to get them once a week for a year? Wow, that’s a commitment. Well, when your allergic to pet dander and love dogs as much as I do, once a week isn’t that bad (plus I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home one day a week so I can swing over and get my shot).

Really the biggest downside has been lack of parking near the doctor’s office at Cedars. Parking is a HUGE hassle///but alas, my dogs are worth it.

Here is the skinny on allergy shots from our friends at WebMD:

Allergy shots, also called “immunotherapy,” are given to increase your tolerance to the substances (allergens) that provoke allergy symptoms. They usually are recommended for people who suffer from severe allergies or for those who have allergy symptoms more than 3 months each year. While not a cure for allergies, it reduces your sensitivity to certain substances.

How Often Are Allergy Shots Given?

Allergy shots are given regularly (in the upper arm), with gradually increasing doses. When starting immunotherapy, you will need to go to your healthcare provider once or twice a week for several months. The dose is increased each time until the maintenance dose is reached.

If the shots are effective, you will go to your healthcare provider every 2 to 4 weeks for 2 to 5 more years. You may become less sensitive to allergens during this time, and your allergy symptoms will become milder and may even go away completely.

How Should I Prepare for Allergy Shots?

For two hours before and after your appointment, do not exercise or engage in vigorous activity. Exercise may stimulate increased blood flow to the tissues and promote faster release of antigens into the bloodstream.

Tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking. Some medications, such as beta blockers, can interfere with the treatment and/or increase the risk of side effects. You may have to stop allergy shots if you are taking these medications.

Talk to your doctor about the safety of continuing the allergy shots if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

What Should I Expect After Allergy Shots?

Usually, you will be monitored for about 30 minutes after receiving an allergy shot to make sure that you don’t develop side effects such as itchy eyes, shortness of breath, runny nose, or tight throat. If you develop these symptoms after you leave the doctor’s office, take an antihistamine and go back to your doctor’s office or go to the nearest emergency room.

Redness, swelling, or irritation within one inch of the site of the injection is normal. These symptoms should go away within 4 to 8 hours after receiving the shot.

Are Allergy Shots Effective for All Allergies?

The effectiveness of immunotherapy varies depending on the severity of a person’s allergies and the number of substances to which the person is allergic. In general, however, immunotherapy is effective for allergies to stinging insects, a variety of pollens and dust mites, as well as for allergic asthma.

It is also effective for molds and pet dander. Immunotherapy is not proven to be effective for hives or food allergies.

So, have allergy shots cured me? No. Do I have less allergy attacks? Not sure, its hard to keep track. I have had a week or two with no attack, and that’s a good thing! I plan to stay the course…I’ll report back.

Do you have any experience with allergies? Have you tried shots? Tell us your story…

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