If you have questions or concerns, hopefully you can find your answer from our frequently asked questions below.

 

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a disease of inflammation in the airways.  For many, it is a chronic process just like high blood pressure or diabetes.  Asthma causes constriction/narrowing of the airway passages and mucous production.  Common symptoms include wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.

A friend told me her allergist prescribed a steroid inhaler for her asthma. Aren’t there side effects to steroids?

Steroids by mouth can have bad side effects if taken over a long period of time. Steroids taken via an inhaler at low to medium doses have no known serious side effects.

I have a heard horror stories about skin testing. How does your office skin test?

The procedure itself is very simple. We place a drop of allergen (for example, grass, weed, or cat) on the forearm and scratch each place gently. After 15 minutes, we “grade” reactions by measuring redness and swelling at each site. It is virtually painless and the majority of our patients, old and young alike, do very well.

I think I need allergy shots, but my schedule will not allow me to come into the office every week to receive them. Can’t I just give my own shots?

No. It is not hard to learn how to administer allergy shots, but there must be skilled personnel to take care of someone if a shot causes a serious reaction. An adverse reaction to a shot might require a shot of adrenaline and other treatment as well.

Why do I have to wait for an allergy shot?

A person can have an anaphylactic or life threatening reaction to an allergy shot. If this occurs, immediate treatment is required with adrenaline. Most all reactions occur within 20 to 30 minutes after receiving an allergy shot.

How long will I have to take shots?

Allergy shots are usually administered for several years. The exact duration of times will vary from patient to patient. One can expect, however, a program lasting from 3-5 years in most cases. They are initially given once per week. Some patients take them twice a week. After an appropriate period of time, the interval between shots is gradually increased to one every two weeks, then one every three weeks, and finally once a month.

What happens after I stop taking shots?

In approximately 70% of patients, the relief that one receives from allergy infections is permanent. However, some patients do relapse. This usually occurs after an extended period of time. If this is the case, the option to resume shots is available.

Do they help everyone?

Allergy shots are helpful in the vast majority of patients. However, some patients do not respond to this therapy

How do Allergy shots work?

Allergy shots work by altering your immune system. They tend to decrease the amount of allergic antibody in your blood and tissues. This allergic antibody is responsible for symptoms. In addition, shots build up a “blocking antibody” that helps to block the allergic response. Thus, they work differently than medication. They actually alter your immune system rather than simply treating symptoms.

Can I give allergy shots to myself or receive them from a member of my family?

Allergy shots must be given under the supervision of a physician. This can be in a physician’s office, emergency room, minor medical clinic, etc. They should not be given unless a treating clinician is available and takes responsibility for possible reactions. If you do not receive shots in one of our offices, you must make arrangements to receive them under the supervision of another physician. We can supply the proper extract and schedule which can be taken to another doctor’s office.

What do I do if the shot causes a swelling in my arm where it is administered?

You should understand that you are receiving a substance to which you are allergic. It can, therefore, be expected that a local reaction may occur. You may get itching, swelling, redness, tenderness, and/or heat at the injection site. Almost every patient who takes allergy shots will get local swelling in their arm on occasion. The reaction can occur within 15 minutes of administration of the injection and last for several hours or even a couple of days. Occasionally, they do not appear until about six hours after the injection, but again, last for several hours or a day or two. you should know that these local reactions ARE NOT DANGEROUS. They do not mean that you are going to develop any systemic reaction. You do not need to call the office to let us know that you have had a local reaction, but you may inform the staff prior to your next shot. If reactions are large or uncomfortable, the dose can be altered. Lowering the dose, however, has some disadvantages. It can mean that the shots will take longer to work.

Are there any other reactions besides local reactions that can occur?

Yes, you can develop a systemic reaction. This reaction usually occurs within 30 minutes after administration of the shot. They systemic reaction usually consists of a flush, itchy rash, and perhaps shortness of breath or dizziness. It is also why we ask you to receive the shot under the supervision of a physician. In rare cases, systemic reaction can be life threatening. It can be treated by an injection to counteract the symptoms. It is described in more detail in other information that we gave you about allergy injections.

 

FAQ

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