March 6, 2024

Are you dreading the spring season?

A new Kaiser Permanente facility in Bellflower, California, makes customized therapies to relieve severe allergies to grass, tree, and weed pollens.

Ernesto Muñoz (left) can now spend more time outside with Hank thanks to his ongoing allergy treatment.

Spring is just around the corner. With it comes longer days, beautiful greenery — and for people like Ernesto Muñoz, itchy eyes and runny noses. Since childhood, Muñoz has suffered from allergies to grass, tree, and weed pollens.

“I’ve had allergies ever since I can remember. In high school, I had to wear long sleeves and pants while running in cross country. I avoided parks and spent most of my time hanging out with my friends indoors,” said Muñoz.

His allergies were so severe that even a 30-second walk from his car to his house could cause symptoms. After a whole year of consistent eye inflammation, Muñoz spoke to his personal doctor and received a referral for a life-changing treatment: allergy shots.

Allergy shots … custom made by us for you 

Katharyne Acuña, regional director of Ambulatory Clinical Practice for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California, says that Muñoz is just one of 5,600 Kaiser Permanente patients in Southern California who need allergy shots. The therapy, which is given for up to 5 years, requires people with allergies to get shots containing small amounts of their allergens. Their bodies become accustomed to these allergens, and eventually their allergy symptoms decrease in intensity.

This therapy has been around for many years, but, previously, providing unique therapies to thousands of patients over the course of several years required Kaiser Permanente to purchase expensive allergy shots from vendors. Now, with the opening of the new Regional Centralized Allergen Mixing Space at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Offices, all allergy shots are mixed in-house for Southern California patients.

“Mixing our own allergy shots means that we can guarantee meeting regulatory requirements, creating high-quality allergy shots, and getting treatment to our patients in the most efficient and cost-effective manner,” said Acuña, who credits a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, information technology professionals, executive and regional leaders, and so many more for making this facility a reality.

A man wearing a hat and sunglasses holds up his dog for a photo while at the park.

Going to the park with Charlie (right) has never been easier or more comfortable.

Living life liberated

Muñoz, who has been receiving allergy shots for 5 years at Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center, describes the treatment as “liberating.” He now gets fewer symptoms and can live his life without worrying about developing reactions or carrying allergy medication.

“I feel so much happier now. I used to limit my time outside. But now, I get to take my dogs to the park and play around with them on the grass for 3 or 4 hours at a time.”

Learn more about allergies and treatment options at Kaiser Permanente.