If you, like nearly 50% of the UK, suffer from hay fever, you probably know the pain of spending the summer months with itchy or watery eyes, a cough or a runny rose. If you are a acute If you suffer from hay fever then you probably also know that it can go beyond the annoyance and, in fact, it’s really starting to affect your quality of life.

Some people are able to use antihistamines or nasal sprays for relief, while others have symptoms so severe that nothing seems to help (we see you!) prompting them to seek out alternative treatments, such as a hay fever shot.

Hay fever injection

Kenalog (does anyone else think this sounds like a type of cereal, btw?) is a common hay fever injection that promises to manage severe hay fever symptoms. Kenalog contains a steroid called triamcinolone acetonide and is injected into a large muscle in the body. “Once injected,” explains Abbas Kanani, supervising pharmacist at Chemist Click, “it slowly distributes from the muscle over three to eight weeks and travels through the body, offering relief from hay fever symptoms.”

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Who can get hay fever injection?

Whether or not you’re eligible for the shot depends on the severity of your symptoms, Kanani points out. For example, symptoms must affect quality of life or exacerbate other medical conditions, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This is something you need to discuss with a qualified medical professional, such as your GP, beforehand.

Kanani also explains that it is advisable to only take a maximum of two injections in a season.

Hay fever injection costs

Although no longer available on the NHS, sufferers can still access the hay fever injection through private clinics, with prices starting as low as £50 (some places may also charge an extra fee for the consultation).

Hay fever injection side effects

As with pretty much anything health-related, there are pros and cons to weigh if you’re considering getting the hay fever shot.

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“We need to assess whether the benefits outweigh the risks involved, taking into account the effect severe hay fever has on quality of life,” Kanani explains. “Unlike tablets, which can be stopped if side effects occur, there’s no way to withdraw the effects of the injection once it’s been administered.”

And here’s the big clincher: the steroid used in Kenalog temporarily suppresses the immune system. To stop hay fever symptoms, Kenalog suppresses the body’s immune system to histamines which essentially act like bouncers in a nightclub and help your body get rid of irritants.

“For three weeks after the injection your immune system is suppressed, meaning you’re at serious risk for infections like chickenpox and measles,” warns Dr. James Cave, primary care physician and editor of Drugs And Therapeutic Bulletin. Previously speaking on BBC Radio 4 Inside health program, he said, “Similarly, if you have a serious illness or a traffic accident, you may not be able to cope with the stress, with Kenalog suppressing your stress reactions.”

Other Kenalog hay fever injection side effects can include:

  • Heachache
  • Articolar pains
  • Low mood
  • Breathless
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Bone pain

Due to the side effects associated with the hay fever injection, the injection should only be made available to those who have exhausted all other treatment options such as nasal sprays, eye drops, and antihistamines.

Does hay fever injection really work?

Despite its potential drawbacks, there is scientific evidence that Kenalog hay fever injection is effective, which may make it an attractive choice for some. According to the NHS, a Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB) concluded in 1999 (when it was last reviewed again, do what you will with it) that “a single dose is likely to relieve hay fever symptoms, but It’s unclear how long any benefit is likely to last, what side effects might develop and how it compares to standard therapy.”

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In 2019, UK Medicines Information conducted another review and noted: “Despite the likelihood that a single injection of Kenalog will relieve symptoms of hay fever, uncertainty remains about the efficacy and safety of repeated administration.

“There is a paucity of comparative studies and no new data on Kenalog has been published to change the conclusions of the DTB review in 1999 that this product should not be used.”

While no one can deny the appeal of stopping hay fever with a single injection (and compared to taking tablets every day, it could be quite convenient), the risks definitely need to be considered. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision that you and a doctor must make together.

This article is not intended to replace professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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