Why Is Asthma During Pregnancy A Concern
If you’re effectively treating your asthma and it’s well-controlled during pregnancy, there’s little or no risk of asthma-related complications. However, severe or poorly controlled asthma during pregnancy might increase the risk of various problems, including:
- A pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, often the kidneys
- Restricted fetal growth
- The need for a C-section
In extreme cases, the baby’s life might be in jeopardy.
Myth: Miscarriage Is Rare
Truth: Miscarriages are not rare. About 10 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, though the number of total miscarriages is likely higher. Thats because many people have a miscarriage very early in the pregnancy before they realize they are expecting and mistake the miscarriage for their menstrual period.
Allergy Shots During Pregnancy
Allergic rhinitis and asthma can be significant problems during pregnancy, and allergy shots may be helpful in treating these issues.
Women who have already been receiving allergy shots before becoming pregnant may continue to benefit from these therapies.
Many women wonder if allergy shots are safe to be given during pregnancy.
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They Can Improve Mental Health Too
It’s not just physical symptoms that can get better with allergy shots mental state can improve, as wellespecially if severe allergies have really taken a toll on your health and happiness.
This may be especially true for insect allergies, a condition that can cause serious distress and affect a person’s ability to enjoy the outdoors. One 2014 study found that patients with insect-venom allergies who received immunotherapy not only had a lower risk of anaphylaxis and death than those who didn’t, but also had lower anxiety and depression scores.
Personal Stories About Taking Allergy Shots
These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.
I bought my daughter, Tina, a cat for her birthday. A month or so later, I developed allergy symptoms that I have never had before: sneezing puffy, irritated eyes and feeling tired. I thought maybe I was allergic to a detergent or soap, but my doctor did some tests, and it turns out I am allergic to the cat. I know it would break my daughter’s heart to have to find a new home for the cat, and I have gotten attached to it, too. I decided to try getting the allergy shots and do what I can to keep the cat hair and dander out of my bedroom.
Lynn, age 42
For as long as I can remember, I have had bad hay fever. I have had tests to find out just what kind of pollen I am allergic to, and it turns out that I am allergic to several different kinds. I have learned over the years that my symptoms will get worse at certain times of the year, and I try to avoid being exposed to pollen during those times. My doctor and I also have spent a lot of time finding out which antihistamines and allergy medicines work for me without a lot of side effects. I feel like I manage my allergies well, so I’m not going to have the shots from my doctor or use tablets that dissolve under my tongue.
Kenny, age 44
Jorge, age 30
Sara, age 33
Kathy, age 28
John, age 19
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How Can Parents Help
Doctors give allergy shots with needles that are smaller than those used for most childhood vaccinations, so they’re less painful. Still, for some kids a shot can seem scary. A parent’s positive and supportive attitude can help. Treatment goes much better when parents are confident and committed to the immunotherapy.
While getting a shot, your child can squeeze your hand, sing a song, watch a video, or use another distraction that will take the focus off the injection.
Understanding the benefits of allergy shots and how they work will help you and your child accept them as routine.
Researchers Call For Further Study To Reduce Risk Of Depression Side Effects
- Endocrine Society
- Men can take birth control shots to prevent pregnancy in their female partners, according to a new study. Researchers are still working to perfect the combination of hormonal contraceptives to reduce the risk of mild to moderate side effects, including depression and other mood disorders.
Men can take birth control shots to prevent pregnancy in their female partners, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Researchers are still working to perfect the combination of hormonal contraceptives to reduce the risk of mild to moderate side effects, including depression and other mood disorders.
While women can choose from a number of birth control methods, men have few options to control their own fertility. Available methods for men include condoms, vasectomies and withdrawal.
Better birth control options are needed for men. In 2012, 40 percent of all pregnancies worldwide were unintended, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
“The study found it is possible to have a hormonal contraceptive for men that reduces the risk of unplanned pregnancies in the partners of men who use it,” said one of the study’s authors, Mario Philip Reyes Festin, MD, of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. “Our findings confirmed the efficacy of this contraceptive method previously seen in small studies.”
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Create An Action Plan
Mayo Clinicrecommends that moms request their doctor to help them create an action plan. This is an effective way to manage asthma symptoms. The program is tailored to meet your specific needs. You need to track your asthmatic symptoms, your lungs, and medication.
Keep a daily record of how you feel. Take note of the days you experience shortness of breath, wheezing, tightness in the chest, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, or color changes. Keeping a written record of your symptoms during pregnancy will help you keep track of well-controlled and poor-controlled days. If your history proves you have two asthma attacks a week, your symptoms are well managed.
Who Should Get Allergy Shots
Allergies can be treated in three ways. You can either avoid whatever makes you miserable, take antihistamines, or, if you dont mind needles, try allergy shots. The way that I treat my patients is that we always try medicine and avoidance first, Hagaman said. Then we reserve shots for the patients who dont respond to medicine and avoidance or for those folks who dont want to take much medicine either because of side effects or inconvenience.
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Allergy Steroid Shot Cost
The cost of an allergy steroid shot depends on several factors, including the type of corticosteroid, the concentration, and the quantity. For example, kenalog-40 can range in price from approximately $15 to $100 per injection. That doesnt include the cost of administration by your doctor.
Your insurance plan may not cover steroid shots for allergies, as theyre not considered a first-line treatment. Contact your insurance provider to find out what your plan covers.
Steroid shots for allergies may relieve allergy symptoms. However, they can also trigger cause short- and long-term side effects.
Allergy Medications While Pregnant
When it comes to taking allergy medications while pregnant, its right for a woman to be concerned about the baby. Women need to be very cautious about using any drugs during pregnancy and if at all possible, to avoid them completely in the first trimester. Most importantly, before taking any allergy drugs at any point during pregnancy, talk to your doctor.
Use of oral decongestants is associated with increased risk of birth defects. Some oral antihistamines, like Allegra , Benadryl , Chlor-Trimeton , Claritin , and Zyrtec appear to be safe after the first trimester, safe meaning they have caused no known harm in studies that have been done. Avoid antihistamines combined with a decongestant.
Nasal sprays, as prescribed or recommended by a doctor, are applied only in the nose. That means their effects do not go throughout the body like oral medications. However, avoid nasal spray decongestants. There is not enough evidence to indicate whether or not they are safe.
Dont start allergy shots during pregnancy. If women are already taking them when they become pregnant, they can continue.
The reality is, not taking any allergy medication is the best option. But for women whose allergy symptoms are leaving them sleepless and unable to function, taking medication with a doctors approval may be better for both them and the baby. Its important for women with allergic asthma to use their prescribed medication. Uncontrolled asthma can cause serious problems during pregnancy.
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Why Are Allergy Shots Used
An allergy is when the body’s immune system overreacts to a usually harmless substance. Things that cause allergic reactions are called allergens. Common allergens include dust mites, molds, pollen, pets with fur or feathers, stinging insects, and foods.
The body reacts to the allergen by releasing chemicals, one of which is histamine. This release can cause symptoms such as wheezing, trouble breathing, coughing, a stuffy nose, and more. Some allergic reactions can be serious.
The best way to prevent or control allergy symptoms is to avoid allergens. Allergists look for causes of an allergic reaction with skin tests and blood tests. Based on the test results, they can recommend treatments, including medicines and ways to avoid allergens.
If these treatments don’t help, the allergist might recommend allergy shots.
They’re Not Recommended For Everyone
Most adultsand children ages 5 and upcan get allergy shots. But if you or your child has severe, uncontrolled asthma, your doctor may recommend against them. “In our practice, if a patient’s asthma is flaring or even if they’re sick, we generally wait to give the shot until they’re feeling better,” says Dr. Dziadzio.
Women who become pregnant while in the maintenance phase of allergy shots can continue their treatment. But women shouldn’t start allergy shots for the first time, or increase their dosage, while pregnant.
Certain medicines, like beta blockers, can reduce the effectiveness of epinephrinethe lifesaving drug used to treat anaphylactic shock. Because anaphylaxis is a rare but serious risk for people getting allergy shots, they may not be recommended for people who take these drugs.
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What Is Rush Immunotherapy
Itâs a faster way to get to a maintenance dose, but itâs also riskier.
During the first part of the treatment, you get doses of the allergen every day instead of every few days. Your doctor will check on you closely, in case you have a bad reaction. In some cases, you may get medicine before you get the dose of the allergen, to help prevent a reaction.
Why Should Pregnant People Get A Flu Shot
Influenza is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant people than in people of reproductive age who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant people more prone to severe illness from flu, including illness resulting in hospitalization. Flu also may be harmful for a pregnant persons developing baby. A common flu symptom is fever, which may be associated with neural tube defects and other adverse outcomes for a developing baby. Getting vaccinated also can help protect a baby after birth from flu .
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How Much Do Allergy Shots Cost
Health insurance typically covers allergy shots. You may have to pay a copay for each visit. Copays are usually nominal fees.
If you dont have health insurance, have a high deductible, or if allergy shots arent covered under your plan, you may end up spending thousands of dollars a year.
One large 2019 study looked at the costs of allergy shots for people with commercial insurance or Medicare Advantage with Part D. Researchers examined data gathered between 2013 and 2015.
- The cost of allergy shots for 131,493 people totaled $253,301,575. This averages out to around $1,926 per person.
- People with allergies covered about 19 percent of the total costs, while insurers covered about 81 percent.
- On average, treatment lasted 463.1 days .
Before beginning any treatment, talk with your doctor about payment options and costs.
Keep in mind that allergy shots are a long-term commitment. They require many injections, so youll want to plan accordingly if youre paying out of pocket.
Also consider that, over time, allergy shots could save you money on sick visits and over-the-counter allergy medications.
What Medicines Can I Take For Allergies During Pregnancy
Women should be very cautious when taking medications during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester.
Its important to talk with a doctor before using allergy medicine while pregnant. Work together to find an appropriate balance for the medication and symptom control.
Your doctor may first recommend ways to reduce symptoms that dont involve medications. Strategies include allergy proofing your home, avoiding allergy triggers, or using a saline nasal spray, nasal irrigation or nasal strips.
- Oral antihistamines treat nasal and eye allergy symptoms of allergic rhinitis. It is best to take them after the first trimester.
- Loratadine and cetirizine are second-generation oral antihistamines. They are considered safe for pregnancy, according to multiple studies. They do not cause drowsiness unlike first-generation oral antihistamines .
Avoid using antihistamines combined with a decongestant during pregnancy. Research is ongoing on the impact of these medications to mom and baby.
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Prevent The Spread Of Covid
After you are fully vaccinated, you may be able to participate in many of the activities that you did before the pandemic. Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.
If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may NOT be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. Talk to your healthcare provider. Even after vaccination, you may need to continue taking all precautions.
Getting Your Allergy Shots
You will get your allergy shots at your provider’s office. They are usually given in the upper arm. The typical schedule is:
- For the first 3 to 6 months, you receive shots about 1 to 3 times a week.
- For the next 3 to 5 years, you receive the shots less often, about every 4 to 6 weeks.
Keep in mind that many visits are needed to get the full effects of this treatment. Your provider will assess your symptoms now and then to help decide when you can stop receiving the shots.
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They Contain Allergens So Reactions Can Happen
Allergy shots work by exposing patients to tiny amounts of whatever it is they’re allergic to. The amount of allergen in each injection increases gradually over time so the body can build up a tolerance.
“It changes the person’s immune system from having a bad reaction to pretty much ignoring the allergen,” says Dr. Dziadzio. “For some people, it decreases their allergies enough so they can come off medicine entirely, and for some it helps their medicines be more effective.”
But because allergens are involved, reactions to the shots themselves are possible. These can range from swelling and itching at the injection site to sneezing and a runny nose, to, in rare cases, anaphylactic shock. That’s why it’s recommended that patients stay at their doctor’s office for 30 minutes after each shot so they can be monitored and treated for reactions if they do occur.
Is It Safe To Take Asthma Medication During Pregnancy
Any medication you take during pregnancy can potentially have risks. Some concerns have been raised about the use of systemic glucocorticoids a type of steroid during pregnancy. They have been linked with an increased risk of infant oral clefts, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, low birth weight and adrenal problems. However, most asthma medications can be safely used during pregnancy.
Also, it’s safer to take asthma medications during pregnancy than it is to experience asthma symptoms or an asthma attack. If you’re having trouble breathing, your baby might not get enough oxygen.
If you need medication to control your asthma symptoms during pregnancy, your health care provider will prescribe the safest medication at the most appropriate dosage. Take the medication as prescribed. Don’t stop taking the medication or adjust the dosage on your own. Depending on the type of medication you’re taking and your symptoms, your health care provider might be able to monitor your asthma control during your prenatal visits. In other cases, you might need to consult your family doctor or asthma specialist throughout the pregnancy.
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Is It Safe To Continue My Allergy Shots During Pregnancy
Maintenance doses of allergy shots are safe during pregnancy. Because the injections contain your allergy triggers, the most likely time to experience a reaction is during the initial build-up period, when you first start allergy shots. A severe allergic reaction in a pregnant woman could affect the well-being of the developing fetus, so it’s probably not a good idea to start the immunotherapy and build up the dose during pregnancy. Also, pregnant women should not take allergy skin tests. Pregnancy may worsen or improve allergy symptoms. If you are taking allergy shots while you are pregnant, your physician should carefully monitor you. In some cases, physicians will lower the dose of the allergy shots during pregnancy to reduce the chance of a reaction.
Allergy Shots During Pregnancy May Decrease Allergies In Children
Expecting mothers who suffer from allergies may want to consider another vaccination in addition to the flu shot and Tdap. A study being presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found pregnant women who receive allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, during pregnancy may decrease their baby’s chance of developing allergies.
“Our research found trends suggesting women receiving allergy shots either before or during pregnancy reduced their child’s chances of having asthma, food allergies, or eczema,” said allergist Jay Lieberman, MD, ACAAI member. “Prior studies have suggested that mothers can pass protective factors to their fetus that may decrease their child’s chance of developing allergic disease, and these protective factors are increased with allergy immunotherapy.”
While there is no cure for the more than 50 million Americans suffering from allergies, immunotherapy is known to modify and prevent disease progression.
According to ACAAI, allergies tend to run in families. If both parents have allergies, their children have a 75 percent chance of being allergic. If only one parent is allergic, or if a relative has allergies, the child has a 30 to 40 percent chance of having an allergy. If neither parent has allergy, the chance of a child developing an allergy is only 10 to15 percent.
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