Allergy shots with phenol preservative made me dizzy
By “E.I” Jerry Evans
Photo credit: Shutterstock
I got allergy shots for years. They made me dizzy every time. It turned out to be the phenol they add as a preservative.
Keywords: phenol, preservative, allergy shots, allergy jabs, chemical sensitivity, MCS
I had terrible problems with pollen allergies. One year the level of spring pollen was so high I could not be outdoors for more than fifteen minutes before I got dizzy. One day it was so bad someone had to help me home.
I went to an allergist who skin-tested me and found all sorts of allergies. We tried every drug available, but none helped for more than a few weeks.
Then the allergist started me on weekly allergy shots. That went fine for months, but then they began to make me dizzy. Each time the dizziness lasted about thirty minutes. They lowered the dose, but it didn’t help.
Eventually I went to a new allergist who had a lot of credentials. His shots were not any better. The allergist said to keep taking the shots, things should eventually get better. I really wanted the allergies to go away, and I trusted the doctor, so I kept doing his shots.
A few times it was so bad I had to go for a walk before I dared drive home.
There were two nurses at the clinic. One strongly discouraged my complaints. The other was very sympathetic and suggested I eat something before I came there, and that helped, but not enough.
I later learned that they once gave me a placebo shot to see if the problem was “all in my head.” It wasn’t. The nurse told me later on. The doctor never told me, nor did he suggest doing anything different.
I was having more and more problems with fragrances and other chemicals. I told the allergist about it, but he wasn’t interested in discussing it.
I eventually heard about multiple chemical sensitivities and then found a doctor who specialized in treating that. I told her about my problems with the allergy shots. She said it could be the phenol preservative. Until then I’d never heard that they used preservatives in shots, nor was I aware that preservatives could make people sick.
The new doctor skin-tested me with phenol. There was no doubt; it created a big welt on my arm. Here was the proof. She then gave me preservative-free allergy shots, which never gave me any trouble, but they still didn’t cure my allergies.
Eventually I moved to rural Arizona where there are fewer pollen, and little air pollution. I’ve always wondered if my MCS had not gotten so bad if I hadn’t done those phenol shots for so many years.
About the author
Jerry Evans is the author of the books Chemical and Electrical Hypersensitivity: a sufferer’s memoir, and The Healthy House Quest. He receives no royalties from their sales.
He is sometimes referred to as “EI Jerry,” as there are two other authors with the same name. They are not related.
More MCS stories on www.eiwellspring.org/facesandstories.html