Chronic Illness · My Health Stuff

The “Allergen Account”, and the Shots to Combat It

Last week I started my allergy shots. Turns out I’ll be doing two shots (one in each arm) once a week for the next, well, probably two to three years. Left arm is always going to be molds, right arm will always be pollens. They’re given in a weird spot though, the back of my upper arm. I’m supposed to monitor the injection site… how am I expected to do that when they’re back there?! It involves sense of touch, mirrors and lots of twisting, I can tell you that much.

Pollen Death

I recently got a consultation from Dr R’s office partner, Dr N, about my allergies (food related since Dr R did pollen but doesn’t do food), their potential impact on my EoE, and my asthma. After listening to me, Dr N says he isn’t actually willing to put me into the diagnostic box of asthma… wait what?! Yeah, so apparently I may have been misdiagnosed at age 5? Based on other things he said, I think he may be thinking that my pollen allergies caused my lungs to be more sensitive and spasm when I exercise or are exposed to harsh irritants. That is something we’ll need to explore more. In my talk with Dr N, he said that allergies can build up in layers. He used a bank account as an example, which I think works very well. You have a set balance, you write one check and it’s fine, you write another check, still okay, you write more, and eventually you go over the balance. Going over the balance is having an allergic reaction. However, if you write one check and then wait until you get paid again, then write another, you won’t react. Interesting. So the more of an allergen you are exposed to, the more likely you are to react. So, theoretically, I could be allergic to a ton of things that I’ve just never had enough of to react to. But, it also means that because my main allergens are so prevalent, they have sent my system into overdrive so I may not have as many as I react to.

Anyway, why do I put this into my shots update?

Because my pollen shot reacted quite a lot. What’s a lot? Well, when they do skin testing, anything above a 7mm reaction is considered allergic. Granted, for the skin testing, they only inject 5mm worth of the solution (it’s just under the skin, so the amount of solution injected creates a 5mm bubble). I’m not actually sure what that translates to in mL however. The mold injection didn’t get any sort of lump whatsoever; the solution just absorbed without any sign. The pollen, however, left a very large welt that lasted for two days. After the two days, I had a bruise the same shape for about two more days.

Reaction to First Pollen Shot

Reaction to First Pollen Shot (2)

As it turns out, the welt got that large, with the smallest dose, because there is so much pollen currently in the air. So I was just at my threshold (actually, I was over, my eyes and sinuses have been pretty miserable as of late). Now, at least 30 minutes before my shots (at least for the next several) I need to take Benadryl so I don’t react that badly.

If I’m this allergic to pollen, I am SO GLAD that I am starting the shots. It sounds like getting these allergies taken care of could do wonders for the rest of my health!!!

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