Q. How can I decrease the chance that I have a bad reaction to allergy shots?
A. There are many things that you can do to decrease and manage your risk of a bad reaction. First and foremost is to wait the recommended 30 minutes in your allergist's waiting room. Studies have found this is the time period when most bad reactions occur, and it is important that your doctor be able to treat you quickly if you do start to have a reaction. If you leave before the recommended wait time and have a reaction outside of the allergist's office, the delay in treatment 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 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 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 begin taking any high blood pressure medications, particularly beta blockers, since these can make it harder for your doctor to treat you if you do have a reaction.
You may want to discuss with your allergist a prescription for injectable epinephrine that you can carry with you on the day of your shots.