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Allergy & Immunology


Immunotherapy, or allergy shots, is highly effective to treat environmental allergies and bee sting allergies.

Most people that receive immunotherapy get excellent benefits. It can be considered if over-the-counter or prescription treatment isn’t effective enough. Patients receiving immunotherapy can often gradually reduce or discontinue use of other allergy medications. Allergy shots for bee sting allergies is highly effective at preventing severe allergic reactions with subsequent stings.

Immunotherapy can take months to become effective and a time frame of three to five years is needed to get long term/permanent benefit. During the initial phase, patients receive increasing doses of shots in the upper arm once week, and after about 6 months it transitions to once a month.

All shots need to be given in a clinic. In most cases, the injections are given in our clinic, but some patients receive the shots at their primary care doctor’s office. A nurse administers the shot and patients are required to wait 30 minutes in the observation/waiting area to make sure there are no adverse reactions.

Common reactions can include redness, itching or swelling at the injection site. More serious reactions are rare, but can occur. Symptoms of a more severe reaction include hives away from the injection site, swelling, difficulty breathing, or a drop in blood pressure. The allergy office is equipped to deal with all shot reactions.

Because of the possibility of allergic reactions, it’s important for immunotherapy patients to take an antihistamine (cetirizine, fexofenadine, loratadine, diphenhydramine) the morning of the shot. This helps to prevent allergic reactions to the shots. Patients with bee sting allergies should always carry their epinephrine autoinjector. Additionally, pregnant patients and patients taking beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors should notify their physician before receiving treatment.

If you are sick the day of your appointment, notify the office, as your dose may need to be skipped or reduced.

Since serums are mixed for your individual needs, make sure to check with your insurance provider and our business office about coverage, as you will be responsible for the charge once the serum has been prepared.

Immunotherapy patients should return to see their allergists every six to 12 months to monitor progress.

Food Immunotherapy

Food immunotherapy is a way to desensitize someone’s food allergy and allow them to tolerate eating the food without a reaction. It involves giving small amounts of an allergenic food by mouth and increasing the dose slowly every two weeks until a full serving can be eaten. The person needs to eat the food every day in order to prevent the allergy from coming back.