Allergy Shots: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

When you get an allergy shot, your allergist or doctor injects small doses of substances that you are allergic to (allergens) under your skin. This helps your body "get used to" the allergen, which can reduce or prevent symptoms.

At first, you may need to get allergy shots once a week and then once a month. It may take up to a full year of shots before you see any change in your symptoms.

The allergy shot may cause mild problems, such as soreness, redness, warmth, or swelling on the arm where you got the shot. It may also cause itching, hives, or a rash that spreads to other parts of your body.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Do not smoke or allow others to smoke around you. Smoking makes allergies worse. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
  • If there is a lot of pollution, pollen, or dust outside, stay inside and keep the windows closed. Use an air conditioner when it's hot outside, and use an air filter in your home.
  • If dust or dust mites trigger your asthma, decrease the dust around your bed:
    • Wash sheets, pillowcases, and other bedding in hot water every week.
    • Use dust-proof covers for pillows, duvets, and mattresses. Avoid plastic covers, because they tear easily and do not "breathe." Wash as instructed on the label.
    • Do not use any blankets and pillows that you do not need.
    • Use blankets that you can wash in your washing machine.
    • Consider removing drapes and carpets, which attract and hold dust, from your bedroom.
  • If mold triggers your allergies, get rid of furniture, rugs, and drapes that smell musty. Check for mold under sinks and in the bathroom, attic, and basement. Use a dehumidifier to control mold in these areas.
  • If pet dander triggers your allergies, keep pets outside or out of your bedroom. Old carpet and cloth furniture can hold a lot of animal dander. You may need to replace them.
  • If your allergies are triggered by cold air, wear a scarf around your face, and breathe through your nose.
  • Avoid infections such as COVID-19, colds, and the flu. Wash your hands often. Talk to your doctor about getting a pneumococcal vaccine shot. If you have had one before, ask your doctor whether you need another dose. Get a flu vaccine every year. Stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines.

When should you call for help?

Give an epinephrine shot if:

  • You think you are having a severe allergic reaction.

After giving an epinephrine shot call 911, even if you feel better.

Call 911 if:

  • You have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction. These may include:
    • Sudden raised, red areas (hives) all over your body.
    • Swelling of the throat, mouth, lips, or tongue.
    • Trouble breathing.
    • Passing out (losing consciousness). Or you may feel very lightheaded or suddenly feel weak, confused, or restless.
  • You have been given an epinephrine shot, even if you feel better.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • A rash or hives (raised, red areas on the skin).
    • Itching.
    • Swelling.
    • Belly pain, nausea, or vomiting.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.