November 14, 2013

Treatment of Anyphylactic Reaction to Allergy Shots: a Follow-Up

Just a Few Things I've Learned about Allergic Reactions to VIT

If the therapy goes without a hitch, these things don't come up. But since I've had hitches, here are some factoids for you.
  • Allergic reaction to immunotherapy shots is actually quite common
  • Symptoms are usually mild and can include scratchy throat, runny noise, and bloodshot eyes. The nurses will definitely be monitoring your blood pressure. 
  • The treatment (epinephrine, steroid and antihistamines) makes it so you have no swelling or itching at the injection site(s). Nice!
  • After a reaction (whether treated or not), you have to wait at least a full week before getting more venom shots. It's best to just wait for a nurse to call with the go-ahead, since the doctor has to review your case to lay the course for resuming.
  • After the first reaction to immunotherapy, they drop you down a few doses and build up again normally; e.g.: drop from 1μg/ml down to 0.02μg, then build to 0.04μg, 0.06μg/ml…
  • After the second reaction to immunotherapy, they drop you down a few doses and repeat that dose several times before building up conservatively; e.g.: 0.02μg, 0.02μg, 0.02μg, 0.03μg, 0.04μg, 0.05μg, 0.05μg…
  • Please take those amounts in theory only. The actual dosing is rather confusing, and I could be off by a factor of 10.
If you're getting more than one venom, you can build tolerance for one before another, or tolerance for one and not another, but it's difficult to tell which one may have caused the reaction when you get three at once.
I’ve left the house w/o my wallet or phone but I always remember my kit.
My allergist has suggested an experiment. We're going to change up how I get my shots, to try to isolate the culprit. It may be the combination of honey bee venom and another injection in one arm, so we're going to try just honeybee in one arm, and the paperwasp and mixed vespids in the other arm. If I still develop a reaction, we may try complete isolation and inject into arm, arm, hip. It's gonna be trial and error. I really hope it works. If I'm lucky, I might even be able to complete one of the venom therapies ahead of the others.

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