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Venom Immunotherapy

General Information

One to two million Americans have allergic reations to insect venoms (ie. Fire ant, honey bee wasp, etc.).
These allergic reactions may present as burning, itching or the sting; generalized welts (hives);
itchy eyes, nose, and throat; nose congestion: tightness in the throat or chest; coughing, wheezing;
lightheadedness; faintness; nausea and vomiting.
Documented death as a result of reactions from stinging insects occurs in a bout forty persons per year.
However, the numbers are probably four to five times greater since these fatalities may occur
without reporting that they are associated with a known insect sting.

Purified insect venoms are available for individuals with stinging insect -------------venom immunizations
give almost 100% protection against subsequent reaction in previously allergic individuals.
Extract for the imported fire ant immunotherapy is derived from the whole insect.

What is Venom Immunotherapy?

This immunotherapy is the injection of purified venom (s) into allergic individuals.
These injections diminish the body's allergic reactions to insect stings.

How Immunotherapy Works

The protective mechanisms are: decrease in skin sensitizing antibody (lgE) which causes the allergic reaction;
increase in the blocking antibody (lgG); and decreased allergic cellular responses,
all of which actively block the allergic reaction.

How Treatment is Given

The selection of venom immunotherapy is based on the patient's history, allergy skin tests, and /or RAST blood tests.
Increasing doses of venom are given once to twice weekly initially for approximately 6 to 12 weeks.
The dose interval is then gradually increased every four weeks.
After one year, injections are given every six weeks or sometimes longer then tests will be repeated in several years
to determine if sensitivity is lost.

Possible Immunotherapy Side Effects

Immunotherapy should be given at a medical facility with a physician present.
Occasionally, allergic reactions occur which require immediate medical therapy.
Since most of the reactions occur within thirty minutes following the injection,
you will be asked to stay in the medical facility for this length of time.
The allergic reactions may present as: burning, itching or swelling at the site of the injection;
generalized welts (hives); itchy eyes, nose, and throat; nose congestion; tightness in the throat or chest;
coughing, wheezing; lightheadedness; faintness; nausea and vomiting.
Rarely, severe and life threatening anaphylaxis (faintness, nausea, wheezing, welts) and death could occur.