Allergy Shots and the Yellow Slip of Freedom

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“I just looooooooove going to allergy shots!”

I wonder how many kids in this world actually say they love getting shots?

I have a few theories as to why Z loves going to shots:

  1. It’s the one day of the week he gets to play Minecraft on our Kindle.
  1. He’s doing shots with a friend he’s known for half his life, so they can “talk shots.”
  1. Every time he goes in, he hears from no less than three women (mom included) what a brave, strong boy he is. Which, of course he is, and what man doesn’t want to hear about his strength and bravery?

Either way, I love that he loves going to shots. It makes it so much easier to go through the process when I don’t have to fight him or talk him into it.

What led us to allergy shots was one quick call to 911 around 4:00 one Wednesday morning. Z woke up unable to breathe. We quickly put him on his nebulizer, but that did not resolve the issue. In a follow up visit to his pediatric group, a doctor Z has seen exactly once gave us a very helpful, “You really need to get his allergies and asthma under control.” And that was it.

So we did. Following up with the allergist, she put him on meds. Lots of them. For the short-term we had meds to treat what triggered the 911 call: albuterol and prednisone. For the long-term, we had meds to prevent it from happening again: Singulair, Qvar, and Zyrtec (or Claritin). Yep. Meds. I was thankful to get the issues under control, but worried about his six year-old body absorbing so much.

So, when his allergist mentioned that Z was the perfect candidate for allergy shots, I jumped.

We started the four to five year process of allergy shots at the end of July 2013. In the beginning, we went twice each week. That’s two shots in each arm, twice per week. And that, my friends, is where he earns the accolades for strength and bravery. There were times that he went in for shots even though he still had bruises on his arms from the last visit. The dude is determined.

Allergy Shots and the Yellow Slip of Freedom

And his determination has already paid off. We’ve whittled his daily meds down to exactly one. His asthma controller Qvar. I’m over the moon about this—I never expected to see the results so soon in the protocol.

As a newbie to the whole allergy shot process, I had no idea what to expect. So, if you’re considering allergy shots, here’s how our allergist’s office handles them:

Each visit starts with a peak flow test to make sure his lung function is normal. If the peak flow comes back low, or if he is coughing, we can’t do shots in case his body can’t absorb the allergens well which could cause a reaction. So, we’re very careful about making sure we don’t even attempt shots if he’s a bit under the weather or if his peak flows seem a bit low.

Then, he gets two shots in both arms. In all, he’s getting his shots for multiple environmental allergens including: weeds, molds, dust, dogs, cats, trees and maybe more, but it’s just so hard to keep track.

After the shots, we wait in the allergist’s lobby for 30 minutes to ensure his body does not have an adverse reaction to the shots. Then he does his peak flows again to prove his lungs aren’t compromised from the introduction of the allergen. If they are a little lower than they should be, we get to stay another 10 minutes (remember with Minecraft it’s not a chore to stay). If his peak flows are where they should be, the nurse gives us the “yellow slip of freedom,” we high-five, and we head home.

The yellow slip is our goal each day. Our ultimate goal in all of this is to get Z past the allergies—and hopefully asthma as a result. In the meantime, we’ll do a little dance with each yellow slip of freedom.

 

Tiffany Self

Tiffany Self is a wife, mom to “Z”, and a lover of words. In an ironic twist, she is an English class dropout who now writes for a living. Tiffany is a freelancer in the Chicago suburbs by way of Seattle and Southern Oregon. She writes about her journey of parenting a child with multiple severe food allergies, asthma, and environmental allergies. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

9 Comments to Allergy Shots and the Yellow Slip of Freedom

  1. Jade

    How long has he been doing the allergy shots? I have been getting my shots for 3.5 years now. It has helped tremendously with my allergies & I haven’t been to a doctor in over a year for any sicknesses! Before shots, I was sick every other month. I wanted to also say that the boy is definitely brave because allergy shots hurt. I’m at maintenence level now for at least one more year & hopefully I’ll be done with shots by next summer. As a college student (20 years old), I truly believe that my 4 allergy shots, that I get each month, are the most painful shots I’ve ever received. Love his positive outlook on allergy shots!

    • Tiffany Self

      Hi Jade!
      Thanks for the encouragement! Z sailed through the first part of the protocol (going twice each week) to reach maintenance (where he is only allowed to go once per week) in 7 months. He has been in maintenance since March, and so we are happy to only go once per week! The nurse said it may take him about six months to get to the next level where he goes twice each month. We have seen a HUGE difference in his allergies already. Our big test will be his peak allergy season in the fall. I’m thrilled with the strides he’s made and have even considered doing it myself since he’s been such a great example of how to do this well :-). Congrats on making it through your shots so well and thanks again for the encouragement! This community is so great for that!

  2. Congrats to Z and to mom for enduring this process! I’m so impressed at his determination!
    I don’t have kids, but I am in the process of getting shots to control my own allergies/asthma. And I can’t say enough good things about it! Sure it’s a pain (literally and figuratively) to sit there and wait for 30 minutes, but the benefits FAR outweigh the inconvenience, and for the first time in my 32 years my asthma is finally classified as “well controlled”!! I kind of wanted to high five everyone in the waiting room when they told me that. lol. I know that when I do have kids this will likely be a necessity for them as well, so it’s good to hear a positive story that it doesn’t have to be a fight to get your kids to go for the shots. Thanks!

    • Tiffany Self

      Jessica! Thank you for sharing! Congrats to you! It’s so great to hear your asthma is well controlled after this–that is ultimately my goal for Z and I was unsure it would actually happen. So, you sharing your story is encouraging…Virtual high-five to you! :-)

  3. Very interesting! I really didn’t know anything about allergy shots, and I don’t know of any kids who get them. Glad Z is such a good sport about them!

    • Tiffany Self

      Thanks Heather! It’s a big process and commitment, but one we’ve seen such a positive outcome to that we would highly recommend it to anyone exploring their options.

  4. I got shots for years as a kid. It definitely makes you brave and less afraid of doctors for the rest of your life. Now as an adult my seasonal allergies are so much better than they were. In fact my tree and grass allergies are mostly unnoticeable. Way to go for taking care of your son for the long run!

    • Tiffany Self

      Thanks for the encouraging words, Katie! I love hearing that shots worked and benefited you in the long run! Thanks for stopping by!

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