Q. How can I decrease the chance that I have a bad reaction to allergy shots?
There are many things that you can do to decrease your chance of a bad reaction. First and foremost is to wait the recommended 30 minutes in your allergist's waiting room. Through studies, this has been found to be the time when most bad reactions occur, and it is important that your doctor can treat you quickly if you start to have a reaction. If you leave before the recommended wait time and have a reaction outside of the allergist's office, then there will be a delay in treatment of the reaction, which can result in a more life-threatening outcome.
Second, you should always let the nurse/doctor know immediately if you are experiencing any symptoms of a reaction, or notify your doctor if you ever experience these symptoms later on in the day after your shot. Symptoms of a reaction can include itching, runny nose, itchy watery eyes, coughing, shortness of breath, hives, swelling, or just feeling like something is different from when you came in.
Other things that can decrease your chance of having a bad reaction to the allergy shots is to not come in for your shots if you are having severe allergy symptoms, symptoms of asthma such as wheezing or shortness of breath or use of albuterol, or an upper respiratory infection. You should also let your doctor know if you are started on any high blood pressure medications, particularly beta blockers, since this can make it harder for your doctor to treat you if you were to have a reaction. Also, you can discuss with your allergist about possibly prescribing injectable epinephrine that can be carried with you on the day of your shots, since this is what we would use to treat you if you were having a reaction.