Hayfever Injection & Consultation
Between 10-15% of us suffer from hay fever symptoms. For many people it causes significant fatigue and problems with concentration and alertness. Of those 10-15% of people with hay-fever, about 10% do not respond to conventional, easily available hay fever treatment like anti-histamine tablets, nasal sprays and eye drops.
Your immune system is such an important part of your body that it will preferentially use up a lot of your energy uselessly ‘fighting off’ pollens which it interprets as attacking you. Energy that would be much better utilized elsewhere in life. This is why some people consider the hay fever injection to get through the season.
What is hay-fever?
Hay fever is caused by your immune system reacting unnecessarily to pollens.
Trees can begin to produce pollen in late January and some grasses continue producing pollen until September, so depending on what you’re allergic to, the season can be many months.
The hay fever injection
It can relieve symptoms of hay fever for the entire season, or occasionally a second dose may be needed for severe hay fever sufferers. No more than 2 injections are ever given per season except in exceptional circumstances.
What is the hay-fever injection?
The brand name for the Hay fever injection is Kenalog. Each Kenalog injection contains Triamcinolone acetonide 40mg/1ml as the active ingredient.
Triamcinolone acetonide belongs to a group of medicines called corticosteroids (steroids). The principal effect of corticosteroids is to reduce the body’s inflammatory & allergic response and they are used very commonly for many serious medical conditions. Their use has saved countless lives since their discovery in the 1940’s but they do have significant risks.
The NHS routinely gave Kenalog injections to severe hay fever sufferers until about 5-10 years ago. The NHS no longer prescribes or administers Kenalog for hay fever but it is still officially licensed for the treatment of severe hay fever in the UK and continues to be routinely administered to patients in most other countries around the world.
For some hay fever sufferers, the potential risks of the hay fever jab do not justify the benefits that they may gain from the hay fever treatment, but there are many people who have used this treatment to good effect. The nurse will undergo a health assessment with you to ensure you are suitable to receive treatment.
The Kenalog injection does not cure hay fever. It just temporarily suppresses the immune system enough to take away the symptoms in most people who need it.
The potential problems from Kenalog last for about 3 weeks after the injection but many people find the relief from symptoms commonly lasts the entire season.
Kenalog is an injection that is injected into the buttock (gluteal) muscle. This is known as an Intra-Muscular (IM) injection. The skin surface is thoroughly cleaned with an alcohol swab prior to the injection.
It takes a few seconds and is not a very painful injection as the substance itself is not irritating to the tissue.
A Kenalog injection helps many people with their symptoms of severe hay-fever. For many people it completely relieves the symptoms for the entire season and for others it reduces the severity of the symptoms to a point where adding other hay fever treatment can allow life as normal.
Occasionally a second dose of Kenalog may be needed which the clinician will discuss with you, however it is not recommended that anyone have more than 2 injections per season except in exceptional circumstances.
Steroids are powerful medications designed to reduce the body’s inflammatory and allergic responses. An injection of Kenalog 40mg is approximately equivalent to the effects you would get from taking a 5mg tablet of Prednisolone every day for about 3 weeks.
Kenalog injections, like all steroids can cause unwanted side-effects, although these are rare at the dose levels that you get from a Kenalog injection. The unique issue with a Kenalog injection that differentiates it from oral steroids is that once the injection is administered the effects last for at least 3 weeks. With tablets the effects are gone within about 24 hours or less.
Alternative treatments for Hay fever & Seasonal allergies:
Stay indoors on high pollen count days
Reduce bare skin as much as possible – the allergy can be made worse by pollen on the skin – not just the nose, eyes & mouth.
Have frequent showers to wash any pollen off the skin
Vaseline on nostrils
Non-prescription medications which you should always try first:
Antihistamines tablets such as Loratadine, Cetirizine and Acravastine
Eye Drops such as Sodium Cromoglycate.
Nasal Sprays such as Beclometasone& Fluticasone.
Prednisolone oral tablets
Antihistamine nasal sprays (Rhinolast) or combination antihistamine with steroids (Dymista)
Fexofenadine antihistamine tablets