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Allergy Shots for Children: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

When your child gets an allergy shot, an allergist or doctor injects small doses of substances that your child is allergic to (allergens) under the skin. This helps your child's body "get used to" the allergen. As a result, your child may have fewer or no symptoms.

At first, your child may need to get allergy shots once a week. Later, he or she may have them once a month. It may take up to a full year of shots before you see any change in your child's symptoms.

The allergy shot may cause mild symptoms. Examples of these are soreness, redness, warmth, or swelling on the arm where your child got the shot. It may also cause itching, hives, or a rash that spreads to other parts of your child's body.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Keep your child away from smoke. Do not smoke or let anyone else smoke around your child or in your house.
  • If there is a lot of pollution, pollen, or dust outside, keep your child inside with the windows closed. Use an air conditioner when it's hot outside. Use an air filter in your home.
  • If dust or dust mites trigger your child's allergies, decrease the dust around your child's bed:
    • Wash sheets, pillowcases, and other bedding in hot water every week.
    • Use dust-proof covers for pillows, duvets, and mattresses. Avoid plastic covers, because they tear easily and do not "breathe." Wash as instructed on the label.
    • Do not use any blankets and pillows that you don't need.
    • Use blankets that you can wash in your washing machine.
    • Consider removing drapes and carpets, which attract and hold dust, from your bedroom.
  • If mould triggers your child's allergies, get rid of furniture, rugs, and drapes that smell musty. Check for mould under sinks and in the bathroom, attic, and basement. Use a dehumidifier to control mould in these areas.
  • If pet dander triggers your child's allergies, keep pets outside or out of your child's bedroom. Old carpet and cloth furniture can hold a lot of animal dander. You may need to replace them.
  • If your child's allergies are triggered by cold air, have your child wear a scarf around the face and breathe through the nose.
  • Help your child avoid infections such as COVID-19, colds, and influenza (flu). Remind your child to wash their hands often.
  • Be sure your child gets a flu vaccine every year. And be sure your child stays up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines.

When should you call for help?

Give an epinephrine shot if:

  • You think your child is having a severe allergic reaction.
  • Your child has symptoms in more than one body area, such as mild nausea and an itchy mouth.

After giving an epinephrine shot, call 911 even if your child feels better.

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child has symptoms of a severe allergic reaction. These may include:
    • Sudden raised, red areas (hives) all over your child's body.
    • Swelling of the throat, mouth, lips, or tongue.
    • Trouble breathing.
    • Passing out (losing consciousness). Or your child may feel very light-headed or suddenly feel weak, confused, or restless.
    • Severe belly pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. (A baby with pain or nausea may be really fussy and not stop crying.)
  • Your child has been given an epinephrine shot, even if your child feels better.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • A rash or hives (raised, red areas on the skin).
    • Itching.
    • Swelling.
    • Mild belly pain or nausea.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.