September 12, 2018

Allergy shots and more available at the Center for Healthy Living to assist those with allergies

Allergy sufferers know that spring isn't the only time that allergens -- mold, pet dander, pollens, etc. -- can cause allergy issues and trigger respiratory and/or asthma attacks. The Center for Healthy Living on Purdue's West Lafayette campus can help if an employee needs assistance, including administering allergy shots (immunotherapy).

Employees who follow an immunotherapy schedule set up by their allergist can use the convenience of CHL and have their allergy shots given on campus at the center if they choose.

The center can provide allergy injections per the referral and approval of the patient's allergist. A patient wishing to have their allergy shots at the center will need to discuss with their allergist and complete an allergy documentation packet -- forms are available on the Center for Healthy Living website and also can be picked up at CHL.

Once the forms are completed by the patient and/or his or her allergist, the patient will schedule an appointment with a provider at CHL and from there the patient will schedule an allergy appointment and can begin receiving allergy shots at the center. There is no charge for receiving allergy injections at CHL.

According to Kimberly Porter, nurse practitioner at the Center for Healthy Living, allergy shots can be used to control symptoms triggered by seasonal allergies (pollens released by trees, grasses, weeds), indoor allergies (year-round symptoms resulting from allergens such as dust mites, mold, pet dander) and insect stings (allergies triggered by bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets). However, allergy shots are not available for food allergies or chronic hives.

“Immunotherapy works to help an individual’s body get used to the things that are causing the issues," Porter says. “Each allergy shot contains a small amount of the specific allergen or allergens that cause the symptoms. Your immune system should be stimulated, but not to the extent to cause an allergic reaction.”

There is, however, a chance an allergic reaction could occur following an allergy shot. For that reason, a certified health care professional must administer allergy shots, and the health care professional must visually monitor the patient for at least 30 to 50 minutes following the injection to make sure there are no adverse reactions. At the Center for Healthy Living, the RN health coaches most often handle allergy shots and maintenance for patients.

Individuals who are interested in learning more or who would like to find out if they are a good candidate for immunotherapy can schedule an appointment with a provider at the Center for Healthy Living via the patient portal or by calling 765-494-0111. During the appointment, symptoms, frequency of symptoms and responses to current and/or previously used medications will be discussed. When necessary, the provider will refer a patient to an allergist and possibly recommend allergy testing to figure out what the unique allergens are for that particular patient.

There are two types of allergy testing. Skin testing, which is more sensitive and is performed by an allergist, and RAST testing, which is a blood test that looks for the Immunoglobin E levels to certain allergens. The RAST test can be done at the Center for Healthy Living’s tier 1 lab.

Allergy shots might be effective as treatment for those who:

* Aren’t satisfied with how allergy medications control their symptoms.

* Experience medication interactions between allergy medications and other medications.

* Are adversely affected by negative side effects of allergy medications.

* Want to reduce use of allergy medications long-term.

* Are allergic to insect stings.

For more info on allergies, asthma and resources that are available to employees, see the June 2018 Healthy Boiler Newsletter article.

The center is open for medical appointments 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. Lab hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For medical consultation after hours or on weekends, contact the Anthem NurseLine at 888-279-5449 for assistance or use LiveHealth Online for a virtual appointment.

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