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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Allergy shots

(Shutterstock Image)

This is what it looks like to be tested for allergies. All 3 of my teenagers have had this done when they were younger. But my kids had WAY BIGGER welts on their back!!

Before you can do the scratch test (allergy test), you have to stop taking all antihistamines for a week beforehand. My kids are absolutely miserable. Son #1 could only last a couple of days before his hands swelled up and were itching like crazy. Poor guy :(  So we had to postpone doing the testing until Christmastime, when most of the fall allergens had died down.

At our doctor's office, Shot Nurse brings in her container of serums which have a sharp plastic tip.
She marks the kid's back in 3 rows according to category (food, plants, animals, etc.) Then she does a quick scratch of the skin in that row. She goes across all three rows, and then the fun starts!! 

The kids have to lay still on their stomach for 20 loooooong minutes while the welts develop. Then Shot Nurse measures the welts and gives a report to Asthma Doc.The hardest part is getting the kids to not move for 20 minutes. Last time, I distracted my daughter with Cute Cat Videos on Youtube. A little bribery helps too (honey, where do you want to go to lunch?!) There's nothing worse than having your whole back itch, and not be able to touch it-let alone scratch it!

Then Asthma Doc orders a serum based on what the kids are allergic to. Then comes 3-5 years of visiting his office for shots.  They start out with a tiny dose of the serum and then gradually increase the amount. 

We started by going twice a week.That means taking time off work, driving to the office, waiting 20 minutes after shots, and driving back home. It's vital that you wait 20 minutes after shots. You are being injected with a substance that you are allergic to, so you can go into anaphylaxis. Your doctor has minutes to give you a shot of adrenaline or you can potentially die. (Son #2 actually had anaphylaxis the ONE TIME we left shots early. But that's another story.)

Once you get to a certain level (maintenance), you can cut back to once a week, then once every other week. It's a LONG process and you have to plan around everything else. You aren't supposed to be physically active for 2 hours before or after shots. (I think Asthma Doc said the increased blood flow will increase your chance of anaphylaxis-or something like that.) So we have to plan around dance class, soccer, etc, etc. It's hard to find a time to go to shots. And now that Son #1 and Son #2 are adults, they can take her to shots so I don't have to take time off work every week.

If your Asthma Doc recommends allergy shots, it may be worth doing. Some people have allergies so severe that Zyrtec, Claritin or Singulair just aren't enough. If your kids go to bed sneezing/wake you up during the night sneezing/or wake up in the morning sneezing, it may be time to talk to your doctor. 

Until then, pass the tissues.....

2 comments:

  1. I remember a while back my friend had to get some allergy shots and allergy tests. He had a hard time because he was allergic to a bunch of things. He went to a place called Allergy Clinic – Idaho. He's doing a lot better now.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Seamus,

      Allergy testing is not fun, but I'm glad your friend found a place that can help him!

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