You may have heard good and bad things about the hay fever injection, but it’s time to remove the sting and look deeper at the pros and cons.
Hay fever is a common phenomenon. Every year, 10-15% of us will be afflicted by symptoms of pollen allergy. Whether you’re sneezing, suffering from a runny nose or experiencing more severe exhaustion and sickness, you’re not alone.
Hay fever works just the same as any other allergic response – the immune system responds to a foreign substance entering the body and attempts to remove it. In the case of hay fever, this foreign body is pollen, which is harmless to your health. Hay fever is simply your immune system over-reacting.
Some plants release pollen as early as January, and can continue as late as September. That’s several months of potential discomfort. There’s currently no known cure for hay fever, although symptoms can be lessened through the use of a variety of treatments.
Treatments are available on prescription and over the counter. Around 10% of hay fever sufferers find their symptoms do not respond to readily available treatments such as antihistamine tablets. Antihistamines are not without side effects and they do not prove effective in every case. As an alternative, sufferers may consider the use of steroids.
Steroids are some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory medications available. They help supress the body’s immune response and are used to treat a variety of conditions in which the body’s immune system gets out of control. These include asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and hay fever.
The hay fever injection
Steroid treatments are available in tablet form, or in the form of an injection known as the Kenalog injection. The injection effectively contains the same medication as steroid tablets, but the route of administration is different. When the steroids are injected instead of ingested they are deposited directly into the muscle. There, they leak into the bloodstream in a low dose over the course of around three weeks. Hay fever sufferers generally only require one injection to reduce symptoms for the entire hay fever season. Compared to taking tablets every day, that’s very convenient.
The Kenalog injection contains 40mg of the steroid triamcinolone. Each injection is roughly equal to the steroid dose from taking a 5mg tablet of prednisolone every day for around three weeks. One of the benefits of the injection is that it does not have to go through the liver or the digestive system, so you can administer a slightly lower dose than the tablet form.
Kenalog injections have helped many people to control hay fever symptoms. For severe sufferers, life can be seriously disrupted by hay fever. Untreated, hay fever has been shown to reduce exam results by between 5-10%. Patients report feeling unwell or exhausted for several months at a time.