Allergy Shots & Testing – My personal experience

A bit of common sense goes a long way.  When going to get your weekly allergy shot wear a sweater that you can roll the sleeves up on.  Today I made the mistake of wearing the worlds’ tightest sweater.  It is new and has neat stitching which makes for a no-stretch situation.  So as I walk in to get my shot I panic and try desperately to get either sleeve up over my bicep.  Not happening.  So my kind allergy shot deliverer rolls down the blinds and closes the door so I can wrangle the sweater off, my hair looking like it is part of an electricity experiment.

I have been getting weekly and twice weekly shots (one in each arm – cat allergies require their own arm) since April 2013.   I was allergy tested at the end of March.  I had been on Nasonex for a year before that and was pleased with the effectiveness of the drug, but thought a permanent fix might be wise as the allergies are a year round life long deal.  My arm “lit up like a Christmas tree” and I had “an exuberant reaction” to most everything – this is the way my kind doctor described it.  He said I had the most exuberant reaction he’d ever seen.  Adding to this the fact that I am petite, the size of a pre-teen using immune therapy (is that the word for it?)  was going to be tricky.

The first month or so of shots was a walk in the park.  No reaction whatsoever.  Over the spring and summer I had varied reactions, some days I’d end up so tired I’d sleep away the afternoon after a shot, one day I slept until the next day.  Fatigue.  My worst reactions were fatigue coupled with neck aches/headaches so severe I thought I might actually have to schedule with a chiropractor.  I had to cancel piano lessons one day as I became severely nauseous and sick.  During this time my cats must have become concerned that I would not feed them and they brought a poor bird in the house.  Wonderful.  One new health issue was recurring pink eye, I can’t say whether it was in any way related to the shots, but is a new thing.  My eyes are severely dry and I can no longer wear contacts for long periods of time.  What has helped with dry eye is: fish oil supplements, GenTeal eye drops, and TranquilEyes moisture goggles.  I was also doing a hot compress early on, but wasn’t sure that helped.

As for allergy therapy: I am on the last bottle now, not sure if I will reach the highest dose.  I am allergic to cats, grass, ash, cottonwood, juniper, kochia, pigweed, ragweed (most severe allergy), Russian Thistle, sage, molds, soy, some nuts and alfalfa pollen.  I used to love collecting alfalfa for our “cow cafe” on the farm.  The cows would moo at the fence in the morning requesting their alfalfa.  Once I reach my highest tolerable dose I can scale back to biweekly, once monthly etc to maintain my allergy immunity.

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