Relief Allergy & Sinus Institute

Venom immunotherapy

Venom immunotherapy, or insect allergy shots, are a preventative treatment for allergic reactions. These injections may greatly reduce or even put an end to your allergy symptoms. Other drugs like antihistamines treat your symptoms whereas venom immunotherapy treats the cause of your insect allergy symptoms.

An allergen is a substance that triggers your allergies such as pet dander, pollen, dust mites, mold and insect venom. Most insect stings in America come from wasps, hornets, yellowjackets and honeybees. Fire ants have now become a substantial health hazard in the southern United States. All these creatures make and inject venom through their stingers. Our allergy testing helps identify your unique triggering insect allergens.

Symptoms of Insect Allergies:
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Flushing or hives
  • Itching
  • Anaphylaxis:
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Anxiety
    • Fainting
    • Decreased blood pressure and shock
Causes of Insect Allergies:

Insect allergies are caused by the injected venom and the stinger should be removed quickly with your fingernail. Local reactions at the sting area are not necessarily allergic in nature. When symptoms like hives, flushing, and itching are outside of the area of the sting, immediate medical attention is needed for these truly allergic symptoms. In rare cases, these symptoms may lead to anaphylaxis.

Insect allergies are caused by your body producing antibodies to insect venom when you are stung. Then the next time you are stung, your body overreacts to the venom and causes release of chemicals like histamine from your immune cells. These chemicals cause your insect allergy symptoms.

How does Venom Immunotherapy Work?

Venom immunotherapy or insect allergy shots help desensitize your body to your unique triggering venom allergens, to reduce your overall allergy inflammation and symptoms. The injections probably work by causing your body to produce a blocking antibody which dampens your overactive immune response during venom exposure. All your shots are given at a dose that is just enough to stimulate your immune system but will not cause a full-blown allergy attack.

What Insects allergies can be treated with venom immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is available to treat allergies to stings from:

  • Honeybees
  • Yellowjackets
  • Hornets
  • Wasps
What to Expect During Venom Immunotherapy?

Our specialists give you a tiny amount of venom solution just under your skin in a controlled, safe medical environment. We gradually increase the dose over time during the build-up phase of your treatment. You may have weekly injections during this phase.

During your maintenance phase you may have injections about each month. Some patients can stop maintenance therapy after a while, but others need to continue for longer treatment times.

If you would like to learn more about how Relief Allergy & Sinus Institute can help you get your insect allergies under control with venom immunotherapy, request an appointment today online or call (630) 513-1691.