Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

July 7, 2014

Allergy shots to bee venom truly life-saving

— We read with great concern the reader commentary from July 1 in the Cumberland Times-News by the Rev. James Blubaugh and were very relieved that he survived his anaphylactic reaction to his wasp sting. Unfortunately, at least 40 to 50 people annually in the U.S. do not survive such reactions.

Use of epinephrine is, of course, the correct treatment for anaphylactic reactions, and should be followed by care in the emergency department (i.e. calling 911). What was not mentioned in this excellent commentary was an awareness that anaphylaxis to bee sting is preventable by allergy shots (immunotherapy) to bee venom. These allergy shots are different from the “series of shots administered over a three-week period” by the reverend’s childhood doctor, which were not effective. Instead, after careful evaluation and testing, a specially trained board-certified allergist can provide immunotherapy injections that are over 95 percent effective in preventing anaphylaxis from future stings. These shots are truly life-saving. We certainly would encourage any person who has had a severe reaction to bee stings at any age to discuss this with their physician.

Dr. Jeremy M. Drelich

Dr. Kathleen R. May

diplomates, American Board of Allergy and Immunology

Allegany Allergy and Asthma

Cumberland

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