Just got tested for allergies... what happens next?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by davidg4781, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. davidg4781 macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    Apparently I've had allergies for a while. Taking a Zyrtec daily helped but when I took a few days off I'd get sinus/throat infections.

    I finally went to the doctor, they tested to see what I was allergic to, and I have my consultation/results/feedback on Thursday. They mentioned having to get shots maybe weekly.

    Just wondering if anyone else can give me some insight, other than what the doctor is telling me. I'd like to do what's best and inexpensive as possible.
  2. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    It is really individual and depending on the allergy. I have dust allergy (or dust mite feces allergy really), and live with a clogged nose. Sneezing is not that much of a problem, unless i dig into dusty stuff. 8)
  3. Mlrollin91 macrumors G5


    Nov 20, 2008
    Ventura County
    I typically use Flonase or Claritin. Costco has a year supply of Kirkland brand Claritin for like $20, works just as well. I also use a cool mist humidifier when my allergies are acting up. I should note that I am pretty much allergic to everything. Underwent allergy testing when I was kid, came back with like 150+ positive. Nothing life threatening but still a reaction.
  4. davidg4781 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    I've been using prescription Fluticasone (it's like $4) for the past few months, before I was tested. I'm also allergic to pretty much everything, except dog, but nothing major. Just gets me sneezing.

    I'm hoping since there's so much they'll tell me to take a pill. I don't mind the shots but that means I have to spend my time driving over there and getting it done.
  5. Mlrollin91 macrumors G5


    Nov 20, 2008
    Ventura County
    Yeah Fluticasone is basically flonase, just generic. I would try taking the Costco allergy pills if you are able to, cheap and definitely effective (at least for me). I am really allergic to cats, but I have no problems with my cat as long as I am taking the allergy pill regularly.
  6. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    I take generic Allegra (fexofenadine), which works better than Zyrtec for me. You can get all of the various OTC allergy meds cheap on Amazon.

    On really bad days, I also take a Sudafed, or my last resort option which is Afrin (works perfectly and instantly, but you can't take it for more than a few days in a row).

    Unfortunately, there's no magic bullet. Allergies suck.
  7. BoxerGT2.5 macrumors 68000


    Jun 4, 2008
    Shots are the cheapest and are generally covered by insurance, but with the inconvenience of having to go to the office weekly and sit there for 20min. The other option, which isn't offered in all offices is SLIT (Sublingual immunotherapy). Drops that are placed under the tongue. You do them at home and it's convenient, but insurance companies don't cover them. Average cost is about $100/month vs. $7 for the shot.
  8. davidg4781 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    Right. So doctor said I should be on shots (I kind of saw that coming, but I guess that's what happens when you go to an allergy doctor). They said I'd be on it pretty much going forward, once a week. $55 copay to make the vial and it lasts for 8 injections, so yeah, about $7 per.

    The generic flonase is $4/month. Maybe they didn't explain it to me, or maybe my ADD kicked in when they were, but what's the point of taking a shot if the flonase is working? I'm assuming it's working, at least. I've been on it for about 10 months and sneezed about 5 times as soon as I walked outside towards a mesquite tree... I'm allergic to those.

    I haven't signed up for injections yet. It's an hour drive to the clinic or whatever it's called.
  9. Zenithal macrumors 603

    Sep 10, 2009
    The injections have an induction phase and then a maintenance phase where the shots are spread at x time apart. They're not bad but you might feel sick the first few months after each injection or the injection site will be warm and feel lumpy. It's normal.

    Allergy medicine wise, I recommend Kirkland's brand. I've never had a doctor or even a pharmacist say they were bad generics. $34 for half a year's supply.


    If you don't have a Costco membership, I'd recommend finding a friend or family member who does or you can get one yourself. It does pay for itself over time.

    Zyrtec/Allertec is even cheaper.

  10. A.Goldberg, Oct 14, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016

    A.Goldberg macrumors 68020


    Jan 31, 2015
    PharmD here, with allergies.

    ---Disclaimer, this is intentend on being general information and my general opinion. Don't take it as specific medical advice. Talk to your doc and pharmacist first. I don't know you or your health background---

    So I'm assuming you had a blood test done- which takes a few days to process. There are also skin prick tests that can have immediate results (and is cheaper). I assume you had the blood test because you cannot stop taking antihistamines?

    Hopefully you and your allergist also worked on figuring out temporal causes of the allgergies- spring only, fall only, year round, w/certain foods, pets, etc, which can help narrow down potential allergens.

    In the meantime, Zyrtec/cetirizine and Allegra/fexophenadine are your best bet at minimal/non-drowsy antihistamines. Both are equally effective overall. That said people individually respond differently to each. Keep an eye out for 12hr vs 24hr variations. Claritin/loratadine is not one of my favorites and has poor clinical data to back it up.

    If those don't work, you always have dirt generation antihistamines like Benadryl. It's cheap and effective. Problem is they are for most very sedating and generally have to be taken in multiple doses times daily.

    Oral Anti-H'a take time to build up in your system, so be patient and take them religiously.

    As others mentioned, Flonase/fluticazone is amazing and now OTC. If the antihistamine. It's fairly expensive, I reccomend finding a generic version as it's cheaper and should be just as effective. I have and others also found the brand name Flonase to clog easily and not provide anywhere near the advertise number of sprays. The generics have a better atomizer in terms of distribution too IMO.

    There's a common "brand name generic" of Flonaze called Clarispray, made by Claritin (Bayer Pharma). It's fluticasone sold under the Claritin name... it otherwise has nothing to do with the actual drug Claritin/loratidine. It's cheaper than Flonase, better spray mechanism- currently my personal favorite.

    Nasocourt is another option. I haven't used it, I'm sure it's fine. I generally like Flonaze as it's generally been the preferred drug over the years. Flonaze says it helps with itchy eyes while Nasocourt does not. Nasocourt is scent free, Flonaze is not- if that matters to you.

    The nasal sprays only work locally for the most part. So taking an oral medication in your case is still reccomended for the systemic effects. Don't use Afrin... it's on my list of drugs that shouldn't exist.

    Once your doc identifues your allergies he will likely reccomend immunotherapy- aka allergy shots. They're generally expensive but probably worth it considering how sick you get due to your allergies.

    Allergy shots usually start off with a once weekly injection of the allergen in a very small dose. Over time the dose increases. Eventually you'll go every other week, then monthly, then yearly. Essentially you're teaching your body to tolerate the allergen. Unfortunately, after every shot you must wait 30min in the doctor's office to ensure you don't have an anaphylactic reaction.

    I did this years ago. The first year after was slightly better. Two years after it was great. Three-Four-Five years later I have some mild allergy symptoms but can easily be managed with Flonaze.

    There is now oral allergy shots on the market, basically a dropper bottle where every day you drop a prescribed amount of allergen under the tongue. This is FAR more convenient then routine trips to the doc and waiting 30min. I'd reccomend this route if your insurance covers it. At the time mine did not, but this is quickly being picked up.

    There's some other prescription grade drugs to treat allergies your doctor might talk about such as Singulair/montelukast which is somewhat popular. It works differently than an antihistamine. I'm not a fan, poor clinical data, expensive. Works for some though.

    Pretty much all of the drugs mentioned here were RX at one point. Once the patent is up and they go generic the creator will then push to make it OTC (over the counter) which then increases their sales. So don't think just because it's OTC it won't work.

    If you have other symptoms related to your allergies, like allergy induced asthma, your doc will probably prescribe some inhaled drugs to deal with that. But that's a whole additional and complex discussion.

    Again, talk to your doc or pharmacist before starting anything different.

    Also, for the cost issue: Generics here usually work just the same. Go with the brand name if you're more comfortable with that.

    As others suggested Costco is a great place to buy drugs. Amazon is very good too. Avoid big pharmacy chains like CVS, Walgreen, Rite-Aid, etc - wayyyyyyyy overpriced. Mom and pops tend to be expensive too. Big Box store like Target, Walmart often have good prices. Targets pharmacy just got bought by CVS, so I'm not sure if that's influenced their OTC pricing or not.
  11. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    The only sure cure is isolating yourself from what is bothering you. If it's dust, they recommend removing rugs, getting allergen covers for your pillow and mattress, and keeping your area clean. If it's pets in your house, you are out of luck unless you can move and get rid of the pets.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 14, 2016 ---
    The shots aren't 100%. Sometimes it will work a little and sometimes more.

    Get rid of the cause of the allergies if you can then worry about treating the symptoms with drugs and shots.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 14, 2016 ---
    I'm pretty much allergic to everything (even dogs) and some of it is major. I'll take over the counter Claritin and Flonase, avoid the stuff I'm allergic to, and I have no allergy issues.
  12. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    I had allergy shots for about 5 years as a teenager. They start you off slow with smaller doses and then gradually increase the dose. The good news is the higher doses are spread out over weeks and months not every week. The goal is to build up an ammunity to the shots and eventually ween you off.
  13. mscriv macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    @A.Goldberg's post above is great information. I'm a life long allergy sufferer as well and have had shots both as a child and as an adult. I take a generic brand of Zyrtec daily at this point to maintain my symptoms. I think the shots are worth it as they have been helpful for me.
  14. bunnspecial macrumors 603


    May 3, 2014
    I took allergy shots for probably 8 years.

    Mine initially started as a single shot each week, however my doctor-from what he told me-switched everyone over to two simultaneous injections because of some research that showed a benefit to separating components. I don't recall the full details, but the cost of an 8 week supply didn't change so presumably there was some benefit.

    Different doctors will specify different waiting times-mine said 30 minutes on the first round from the vial, and then 15 for each subsequent one. Pretty much any family doctor's office can give the injections, and I even got them from the on-campus PA when I was in college. Student health would set a timer for everyone who came in, while I had other offices who acted like I was inconveniencing them when I waited and then asked them to check my arm. I never had a serious reaction, but had a few times(probably enough to count on one hand) where I had localized swelling. When that happened, the office would generally mark the size then have me wait an additional 30 minutes or so-I would often find that it had gone down in that time(and they would send me on my merry way).

    I can say that overall, my allergies are a lot better. Some of my worse are grasses and trees, and I've been fighting them more than usual lately because of some fall plants that are in bloom. Waking up with a sore throat, headache, and runny nose isn't a daily event for me like it once was.
  15. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Spring will be hard on you...

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