My Experience With Allergy Shots for Asthma
Last updated: April 2023
As a kid, I endured at least 5 years of allergy shots. I started when I was 10 years old in 1980. Every Tuesday, Mom drove me to my doctor’s office. And mom and I waited in the office for my name to be called. And during this time Mom read me a book. I always enjoyed this time with Mom.
My first go at allergy shots
After a while, my name was called, and I went in for my shot. A nice nurse would wipe my shoulder with alcohol and put the needle into my skin. It got to the point I was so used to needles this never bothered me. And then I would be done and would sit once again with Mom in the waiting room. They made me wait for 20 minutes in case I had a reaction to the shot. Again, Mom would read some more.
This happened every Tuesday after school. By the time I was 12 years old, my mom wanted me to walk to the doctor's office on my own after school. I was sad about this because I preferred Mom to be with me. Plus I enjoyed her reading me stories. That, I thought, was my reward for having to endure my weekly poke.
By 1984, I was still walking to get my shot. But, my asthma got worse this year. I was in the emergency room 18 times for bad asthma. And I was admitted 4 times. By 1985, I was admitted to an asthma hospital. And, since my asthma was so bad, the shots were stopped.
In retrospect, considering my asthma got worse and not better, I wonder if the shots are what made me worse. Probably not, but it is still something I wonder about. I will never know the answer.
My second referral
The idea of allergy shots was not brought up again for another 10 years. In 1995 I started seeing a pulmonologist. And he referred me to an allergist, who redid, once again, all my allergy testing. And, just like in 1980, the test revealed I was allergic to nearly everything outdoors. I was allergic to most molds and pollens, along with a plethora of other things.
So my allergist recommended allergy shots. I questioned why I should get them. He said he thought they would work this time, and so I reluctantly agreed to do them. A few weeks later my doctor’s receptionist called and said my allergy shots were in, and she said all I had to do was call to schedule an appointment.
But, at this time I was in respiratory therapy school. I had little time for anything other than school, studying, and work. I soon forgot about getting my allergy shots. Of course, I was not too thrilled about it anyway since I already went through them years earlier with no results.
In retrospect, I am disappointed my doctor did not follow through and bug me about getting those shots. And I often wonder what happened to that lot of allergy shots.
My third attempt with allergy shots
Well, a couple of years ago I started seeing an ear nose and throat doctor (ENT). He observed that my nasal passages and sinuses were all inflamed, and he decided that this was probably due to allergies. So he tested me for allergies once again. And, of course, I was still allergic to pretty much everything. He recommended allergy shots once again. He said, “It should even help you with your asthma.”
Once again, I was hesitant. I asked and told him about my past experience with allergy shots, and how my allergies did not improve. And how my asthma did not improve. And he gave me a couple of reasons for hope with this round.
He said modern allergy shots are much better than what was available in the 1980s. I stopped taking allergy shots in 1985. So, it is possible I never got up to my maintenance dose. And that may explain why they did not work. He said he has very good experience with allergy shots for his allergic asthma patients. He said they work with over 90 percent of patients.
And so, once again, I agreed to go through with it. Only this time I actually am doing it. I have now been taking allergy shots for about 6 months. Interestingly, I am allowed to get 1 to 2 shots per week. This is nice in that it will allow me to get to my maintenance dose much faster.
My ENT has allergy clinics throughout the week. So, this makes it nice in that you don’t have to wait long for your shot. And, I will be honest, when she pokes me I don’t even feel it anymore. Perhaps this is a benefit of all the 3 million pokes my shoulders have endured through my asthma career (allergy shots, epinephrine, etc.).
Are allergy shots helping with my asthma and allergies this time?
Hmph. Great question. I have no idea. And I will be honest, I was very skeptical of even getting them from the start. Sometimes I go to my appointments and wonder if I am just wasting my time. However, I did spend the night at my dad’s cabin a few weeks ago and had no issues with my asthma or allergies. Now, was this coincidence? Or was it a sign the allergy shots are working?
What about you? Do you have experience with allergy shots? How did it go? Please let us know in the comments below.
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