Allergy Instructions

Your physician has recommended that you receive allergy treatment, also called immunotherapy.  There are 2 ways to receive immunotherapy – the most common is allergy shots, called SCIT (which stands for sub-cutaneous immunotherapy).  Another option is SLIT (which stands for sub-lingual immunotherapy).  You and your physician will decide what is best for your individual situation.  Testing to determine what you are allergic to can be done by either a blood test called a RAST or a skin test.  Both SCIT and SLIT work basically the same way:  you are given very small doses of what you are allergic to, and increasing amounts over time (called escalation) reduce your body’s natural reactivity to things that you inhale.

Sub-cutaneous immunotherapy is most commonly administered in our office by a member of our allergy staff by injecting your personalized antigen under your skin, usually in your upper arm.  The most important things for you know are:

  1. You must be as consistent as possible – injections are given weekly.  Obviously you may miss an injection occasionally because of work, illness, travel, etc, but immunotherapy is much less effective if you are not consistent with your injections.
  2. You must wait in our office for 30 minutes after every shot.  You will be given a timer to remind you when you may leave. One of the very rare but serious risks of allergy treatment is a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.  If while you are waiting you develop trouble breathing, hives, a large reaction at the injection site, or any other concerns, it is important that you notify a member of our allergy staff immediately and one of our physicians will be notified to assess and possibly treat you.  If a reaction is going to happen it is most likely during this waiting period, but reactions can occur later after you leave the office. Call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room if that happens.  
  3. Local reactions at the site of your injection are common and normal.  If you develop a local reaction of greater than a half dollar (about an inch) make sure you notify our staff – your dose or vial mixing may be adjusted.
  4. If you are ill, have a bad cold, are running a fever, or have flu-like symptoms, please let the staff know before your shot – you may not be able to get an injection until the next week.
  5. Some blood pressure medications called beta-blockers can interfere with our ability to treat an allergic reaction – notify the staff of any new medicines you are taking.  

Sub-lingual immunotherapy is administered by you at home.  It is given by drops under your tongue, and again you start out with small dosages and increase over a period of 10 days to what is called maintenance – a steady dose of antigen.  Allergic reactions to SLIT are rare but have been reported and can include itching or swelling in your mouth and throat, trouble breathing and hives, and a full body reaction called anaphylaxis.  Because of these things, you will be prescribed an Epi-Pen® and our staff will instruct you in its use.  

If at any time you have questions or concerns about your treatment, simply ask a question when your are in the office getting your shot, or call the allergy department at 296-8500. Remember to keep your periodic follow-up appointments so that we can monitor your treatment.

Our goal is to provide you with the best allergy treatment possible!  We are here to help you.