Tell Me About Allergy Shots

I have been over the last three or four years suffering from what I think is hay fever. I generally have allergies year round, typically manifesting as the usual sneezing , plus I suffer all year from migraines for which I am on an endless quest to try and prevent. The best thing thus far for that has been Topamax, but unfortunately I pay a heavy price when I take it, I get horrible side effects. Right now I’m back on Topamax, and that’s not even doing the trick ( low dosage).

I believe the migraines are triggered by allergies, so I have discussed with my doc setting up an appointment with an allergist. Since I live in a rather small town, she said I could go see the allergist, figure out the things I’m allergic too , then come to her office to get the shots if I’m not good with giving them to myself. I think I’m not good with that … don’t know for sure yet… Anyway, it sounds like a long process, years… but I’m totally miserable , ESPECIALLY from about mid August ( I live in the deep South) till what seems like almost spring, then they get a little better, only to then have the spring pollens kick in which are a little more tolerable .

I have hepa filters in the house, the real kind. I don’t have central air, nor can we get it, due to it being an older small house and inability and space to retrofit it for central so I make do with lots of the hepa air cleaners.

Anyway, has anyone had any experience with allergy shots working and actually helping? This seems like a huge time commitment, I’d like to know what I’m getting into.

Thanks :slight_smile:

Yeah, I have bad sinus allergies (mold + grasses), and at my worst I was getting sinus infections every other month that required multiple rounds of antibiotics to clear up. Not good.

I’ve had courses of allergy shots twice (the effect wore off after a number of years), and each time it took me from the horrible situation mentioned above, to barely needing to take allergy medication at all. I’d call that a win!

For the actual shots…first, they ran a battery of tests to figure out what I was allergic to. This involved putting a small amount of the allergen under the skin of my arm and back. If you’re allergic, the skin there turns red and itches. The whole effect wasn’t any worse than having a lot of mosquito bites.

Then I had to come in for shots. They started off at twice weekly, then tapered down to once every two weeks over a period of months (I don’t remember how long the course of shots went on). When you get your shot, you have to wait in the doctor’s office for half an hour to make sure that you’re not going to have any life-threatening complications. There were times when I had to miss a few weeks for travel, and that prolonged the whole course but generally wasn’t too much of a problem.

I don’t know how much the whole thing cost; that was taken care of by my parents both times.

they may work or not or only partially effective. for a serious allergy it seems worth the attempt.

yes starting at twice a week for a while is what will happen, a long with the half hour wait.

after a while when it shows you are tolerating the shots then ask them about giving yourself the shots.

Yes - my experience was a lot like F.'s - I was allergic to cats, ragweed and a couple other things. I used to have very bad coughs - there was joking in my family that I would have to say “I [cough] do” at the wedding. I remember trying REALLY hard to try and grasp what the allergist was telling me - he was trying to explain how the immune system worked - and it was the first time I think an adult had spoken to me using adult language - I understood basically none of it and wondered how I ever would function as an adult."

Anyway shots I think started off at twice I week. I don’t remember totally - but I’m pretty sure they were effective almost immediately. We went down from that to I think every other week and maybe even every month. I think they lasted a few years. I liked it cause I got to miss a few bits of school. Eventually they stopped - I don’t know if they did any tests - I’m pretty sure they just reduced the intervals and saw if I had an issues, but I don’t remember/know. I still have cat allergies and pollen allergies, but I only noticed them again after being an adult. I take Claritin (generic) for that - and seems to work. Not anywhere near as bad as when I was a kid.

I would try and learn to do the shots yourself. It isn’t that hard (I didn’t do it as a kid, but have given my self shots as an adult).

Thanks to to all replies so far… I do have asthma too and actually had an episode of not being able to breathe and doing the 911 thing , being in the hospital this time three years ago, so I think it’s time I do something… it sounds promising from what you have written…

I guess I am scared of giving myself shots!

My husband has bad spring grass allergies. He did a round of shots and is now on a maintenance schedule of once every six months. Worked like a charm and he no longer takes allergy meds.

I give them to him, so he doesn’t have to go in to get them. Easy peasy.

I highly recommend trying them. I have spring allergies that were almost to the point of being debilitating if untreated, but Flonase and those sorts of sprays would make me feel maybe 75% better.

I took allergy shots for about 4 years, most of the time being once a month. Today, without any further medication, I would say that I’m probably 70% better in the spring, and with nasal sprays, I’m probably 90% better.

It is a sizable time commitment, especially if you have to travel to your clinic for the shots. I happen to work in a large institution that has its own nurses office, so they could give me the shots – it was awesome. I never heard about giving your own shots, but it would seem to be really easy.

Anyways, my recommendation is definitely to give it a shot. (har har har)

when you get these shots at the doctors office, watch how and where they give them. before you might want to do them yourself solo at home (after a couple months of them monitoring you for 30 minutes each time) ask if you could do them at the office (i got no idea if they would let you). but at any rate just imitate what they do, pinch up some fat and jab.

Yes. I got 4 shots a week for 5 years and they were the best goddamned thing I ever did for my allergies. HUGE improvement. I went from needing drugs year round to just a couple weeks in the spring and fall. I stopped getting pneumonia every winter. I got sick much less often. Some stuff stopped bothering me entirely, the rest I was getting shots for bothered me a whole lot less. I had more energy. I had fewer skin rashes.

Shots aren’t fun but they use tiny needles, it’s less painful than a lot of other shots. You get used to it. I had one or two injection site reactions during the first six months while dosages/sensitivities were being worked out then it was just utterly routine and humdrum. You get used to the pinpricks and it all becomes routine after a couple months.

I must add the caveat that they don’t work for everyone, just most people. For me, they resulted in a great improvement not only in my allergies but my overall health.

Been going for two years.huge improvement in everything but the dust mite allergies…I am severely allergic to those little bastards and it seems it’s taking a long time. But my seasonal allergies are all but gone.

See if oral drops are available where you are. Sublingual immunotherapy drops. Same idea as shots, but self-administered and apparently much lower side effect risk than the shots. I see that, at least, as of March this year, they are not yet approved by the FDA in the US, but there are (legal?) ways around it:

I’ve only been on 6 months so far for hayfever and birch pollen crossover for fruit. Working well for the fruit so far.


Oral drops are not as reliable. Risk of side effects from shots is low. Go with the approved therapy, not some over-the-internet thing whose purity/dosage you can never be sure of.