Allergy Shots - Safe? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 03-05-2009, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We live in Austin (allergy capital of the U.S.) and my daughter and I are suffering year round with terrible allergies. We've tried medications and homeopathic remedies but not found any significant, or lasting, relief. Finally went into the allergy Doc and found that we are, of course, allergic to a whole range of environmental allergens.

The Dr. suggested allergy shots / injections and the thought of some sort of relief (that doesn't involve piles of medicines) is SO encouraging. However, this non-vaccinating family is having a hard time not worrying about the overall safety. I've searched the internet but have yet to find much on the ingredients or safety of these.

Anyone have any links, experiences, or advice?
I would really, really appreciate it! :
Thanks!
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#2 of 13 Old 03-05-2009, 03:38 PM
 
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I don't know the exact ingredients but it's basically a small amount of whatever it is you're allergic to, to get your body used to it. It starts out about every week for a while, and gradually it is less often. I did it back in the early 90s, for me. I was allergic to 6 kinds of mold and had horrible sinus headaches all the time, sinus infections/bronchitis at least twice a year, etc. I was on the allergy shots for 5 years. I don't react to molds anymore and I have a prescription for nose drops but rarely use them. That's only my experience though, and my kids are vax'ed so I may not be a good example.

Kathy, mother of 3, wife of 1. My new recipe blog: www.kathysrecipebox.wordpress.com (no longer searchable by allergen, but at least it doesn't have a virus!)
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#3 of 13 Old 03-05-2009, 03:54 PM
 
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You could try to find a practitioner who does sublingual immunotherapy. It's essentially the same stuff in the shots but you absorb it under the tongue instead of having shots. (It sounds homeopathic, but it's not.) I did this for my DS, who had a cat allergy. There was enough allergen in the initial drops that they gave him hives, but they backed down and made a more dilute solution custom for him. Also they worked with me to make sure the other ingredients in the carrier were acceptable to me. Then they gradually increased the amount of allergen in the solution until they got to a maintenance dose. He doesn't react to the cats anymore. We no longer have to do the drops. Here is a link.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sublingual_immunotherapy
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#4 of 13 Old 03-05-2009, 04:22 PM
 
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Oh, I feel for you! We used to live in Austin, and yeah, it's got allergens all over! The cedar? Yikes! It looked like a quarter of the people in the store doing last-minute Christmas shopping just had their best friend run off with their spouse AND had their dog die.

I'd read the inserts carefully, I'd be concerned about preservatives, either aluminum or thimerosol (surely they don't use that anymore, do they?) or any other unexpected ingredients.

Personally, I've finally figured out that my environmental allergens are a manifestation of my overall toxic load (my kids got my toxic load, they don't have significant sources separate from me). They'd also get better if I took out some subtle food allergens, dairy did it for me, but it wasn't enough by itself. But mine weren't bad, they were annoying but not like it sounds like yours are. Personally, I think it's worthwhile to keep looking for an underlying cause, but if you need temporary relief in the meanwhile, sometimes we do what we can.
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#5 of 13 Old 03-05-2009, 04:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astromom View Post
You could try to find a practitioner who does sublingual immunotherapy. It's essentially the same stuff in the shots but you absorb it under the tongue instead of having shots. (It sounds homeopathic, but it's not.) I did this for my DS, who had a cat allergy. There was enough allergen in the initial drops that they gave him hives, but they backed down and made a more dilute solution custom for him. Also they worked with me to make sure the other ingredients in the carrier were acceptable to me. Then they gradually increased the amount of allergen in the solution until they got to a maintenance dose. He doesn't react to the cats anymore. We no longer have to do the drops. Here is a link.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sublingual_immunotherapy
Wow, that sounds good. I might look into that for DD1 (cats). It would be great if I could get DH to do it too. Cats is his worst allergen and even on asthma meds, his lungs start to close up within 2 hours of being in a house with a cat (which is better than the 5 minutes it is without meds).

Kathy, mother of 3, wife of 1. My new recipe blog: www.kathysrecipebox.wordpress.com (no longer searchable by allergen, but at least it doesn't have a virus!)
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#6 of 13 Old 03-05-2009, 06:14 PM
 
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I took allergy shots for a little over a year. They did seem to help. There are a few things I've thought about now though, that would make me reluctant to do it again, especially for a child:

1. At once point I had a systemic reaction to the shot, really bad hives & itching. Benedryl didn't help & I ended up getting the epi shot. The reaction happened after I left the md office an hour or two after the waiting period. The epi took care of the reaction, but has side effects, really racing heart, the shakes & after it wore off I was wiped out & just slept & slept. It's not something I want to repeat & I'd be very hesitant to risk having to do an epi shot in a young child (so consider your dd's age really well).

2. Sometimes the nurse would hit a nerve in my arm (really hurt!), the outer skin on my arm would be numb for several weeks. Over the course of the shots, there was enough damage that I lost some feeling on the outer surface/skin of my arm (this was 5-6 years ago, it's still not back so I think it's a permanent loss).

3. What is in the serum? It's probably not saline as I had assumed. I've tried online searches, but can't find a formula, though I get some forum posts from people that mention mercury & aluminum among other things. Definitely find out since you'd be getting injections every week for a long period of time.


HTH! If anyone has a link to allergy shot formula's I'd love to know what's actually in there!
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#7 of 13 Old 03-05-2009, 06:56 PM
 
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This should probably be posted in the Tribes forums, but, Txgirlie, I noticed that you are in Austin. We are too, and I was wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing where you went for the homeopathic remedy and the allergist you saw?

I went to the Allergy & Asthma clinic down south near Mopac and was told the same thing (allergic to 46 out of the 47 things they pricked me with -- everything but dogs!), but I didn't get the shots, mostly because of insurance issues -- and also because of the concerns you expressed. I'm interested in hearing what others think, too.
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#8 of 13 Old 03-05-2009, 07:03 PM
 
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I don't know how much help I'll be, since I'll probably vax my kiddos in the future - BUT!

I did get allergy injections for two years. They have made my life SO much better. I can pet my dog now, touch a cat, go outside on a warm spring day - all without having to worry about having an inhaler nearby or my eyes welling up and running over and itching all the time.

I had a bad reaction once, but it was within my waiting period (actually, it was less than 5 min after the injection) and I got a shot of epi, slept for about 30 min - and then went back to work.

I hope you can find some relief for your allergies, whichever route you go
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#9 of 13 Old 03-30-2009, 01:50 PM
 
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I too am in your boat. It seems impossible to find information specifically on allergy shots. I used to get allergy shots for a couple years I think it was, one in each arm, every couple of weeks or so. They made me wait a half hour after the shots in the clinic to make sure I didnt have any reactions to the shots. the backs of my arms would swell up like I had two golf balls under my skin, and I would have to wear ice packs. They told me I would need to continue the treatment for a 5 year period before I could be done. I stopped simply because I wasnt getting any better and it was waay too much trouble to be coming in there all the time. Especially since if you miss an appointment you have to go back down to lower doses and come in more frequently, and the whole thing was just a pain in the butt. Since then I have learned from this forum about what is in normal vaccines, and I really would have a hard time believing that those things are not also in ALLERGY vaccines. I also am wondering if the reason I have such terrible allergies and asthma to begin with was because of vaccinations when I was a baby anyway. I think the route I am going to go is detoxing. I want to detox and then maybe my overloaded immune system can have a chance to heal itself. This link actually claims that your allergies will go away if you do these certain detoxes. Im so miserable I just might try it.
http://www.curezone.com/cleanse/liver/huldas_recipe.asp
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#10 of 13 Old 03-30-2009, 03:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariekitt24 View Post
Since then I have learned from this forum about what is in normal vaccines, and I really would have a hard time believing that those things are not also in ALLERGY vaccines. I also am wondering if the reason I have such terrible allergies and asthma to begin with was because of vaccinations when I was a baby anyway.
I agree, I was FF and fully vaxed as a baby (1971 schedule) and have to wonder if one or both have contributed to my asthma, food, and seasonal allergies. I also got 2-3 rounds of the shots and wonder what was in them. The shots themselves hurt, and my arms swelled and hurt afterwards for a few days after each shot yep I remember having to sit in the clinic with ice packs.
The allergy shots were about 15-20 years ago, so it's definitely NOT a lifetime immunity, at least for me. My seasonal allergies are worse than they have ever been. If I had known, I probably would never have gotten them.
I'm pretty sure I also have leaky gut too but not sure what causes that.
And I am sorry to hear that TX is horrible for seasonal allergies. At least I get a break from Oct - April.
The stuff that Astromom mentioned sounds MUCH better than the stupid shots. Even if they are not life-long at least it isn't painful and its a more natural route of entering the body.

DS 2006 nocirc.gif DiaperFreeBaby angel1.gif March 2010, DD 2011

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#11 of 13 Old 03-30-2009, 04:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astromom View Post
You could try to find a practitioner who does sublingual immunotherapy. It's essentially the same stuff in the shots but you absorb it under the tongue instead of having shots. (It sounds homeopathic, but it's not.) I did this for my DS, who had a cat allergy. There was enough allergen in the initial drops that they gave him hives, but they backed down and made a more dilute solution custom for him. Also they worked with me to make sure the other ingredients in the carrier were acceptable to me. Then they gradually increased the amount of allergen in the solution until they got to a maintenance dose. He doesn't react to the cats anymore. We no longer have to do the drops. Here is a link.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sublingual_immunotherapy
That is SO cool, I didn't know they did them sublingually!

Kim mama to DS 12/2005, Pepper kitty , and 10/03, 1/05;
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#12 of 13 Old 03-30-2009, 07:56 PM
 
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I have taken allergy shots on and off for 20 years. They would work for a few years (wouldn't eliminate my allergies completely but made them much less severe), then when I went off the shots the symptoms would come back just as strong as before. Most recently I started taking them about 2 years ago after I moved to California, but then I stopped taking the shots and all my allergy medication about 9 months ago upon the advice of DD's holistic pediatrician after DD's food intolerances were diagnosed (I'm breastfeeding and the ped thought it best that I take as few supplements, medications as possible). I was so worried that I would be miserable (as I always am without the shots and medication). I had also gone on a TED around the same time. Surprisingly my allergies got significantly better! I really think it was taking out food that I was intolerant to and didn't realize. It was all just overloading my system. I still have itchy, watery eyes and congestion at times, but my allergies have never been this good.
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#13 of 13 Old 03-30-2009, 10:43 PM
 
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I am currently doing allergy shots - have been doing them for about 18 months. My allergies are pretty severe, so I don't have anything to say about effectiveness yet (although my doc thinks this spring will be better).

I wanted to follow up on a couple of things others have posted. In my understanding what's in the shots is glycerin and whatever you are allergic to. They mix the solution right in my docs office. And I was scratch tested for glycerin also to make sure that wouldn't have an impact.

In my doc's office, they have never had anyone have a reaction that requires an epi pen - they monitor very carefully. We all carry them and they recommend that we stay for 20 minutes. Right now they're backing off my dosage because I'm maxed at my shot tolerance level (the shots are causing symtoms) but after allergy season, it'll go back up. They'd rather be safe and not cause me to feel like crap and I appreciate that .

I also haven't had any arm pain issues and after a year, many people can start giving themselves shots at home.

They also HIGHLY suggest any measures to decrease your allergen load and nasal rinses (like with a neti pot).

Ok, signing off before I write a book - lol. Hope that helps.
Samm
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