How to Treat Your Allergy Symptoms Part 3

Last but not least. Immunotherapy, or a series of allergy shots, is the only available treatment that has a chance of reducing allergy symptoms over a longer period of time.immunotherapy can control allergy symptoms

Patients receive subcutaneous (under the skin) injections of increasing concentrations of the allergens to which they are sensitive. These injections reduce the amount of IgE antibodies in the blood and cause the body to make a protective antibody called IgG.

Many people with allergic rhinitis will have a significant reduction in their allergy symptoms and in their need for medication within 12 months of starting immunotherapy. Most patients who benefit from immunotherapy may continue it for three years and then consider stopping.

Now many people are able to stop the injections with good, long-term results, however, some do get worse after immunotherapy is stopped and end up having to start again. As better allergens for immunotherapy are produced, this form of treatment will become an even more effective treatment.

Another form of immunotherapy that is popular in other parts of the world and is gaining interest in the United States is sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT).  In this form of immunotherapy, instead of injections under the skin, drops are placed under the tongue. For those that hate needles, this is a very good thing.

This method of immunotherapy has been endorsed by the World Health Organization but has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the US.  While some allergists are using SLIT, it is considered by the FDA as “off-label” use of the extracts.  However, the FDA has approved tablets for immunotherapy use at home to control allergy symptoms.

As always, talk to your doctor about the best way to treat your allergies.

Till next time

The Allergy Store

How to Treat Your Allergy Symptoms Part 2

Today we will continue our conversation about different ways to treat your allergy symptoms that do not include environmental controls.

Treat Your Allergy Symptoms with Mast Cell Stabilizers

Cromolyn sodium for allergic rhinitis is a nasal spray or inhaled medication that for some people helps to prevent allergic reactions from ever starting. When administered as a nasal spray, as a metered dose inhaler or through the use of a nebulizer, it can safely inhibit the release of chemicals like histamine from the mast cell. It has few side effects when used as directed, and can significantly help some patients with allergies.  It is not used as a rescue inhaled medication. It must be taken for anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks to become effective.

Treat Your Allergy Symptoms with Decongestants

Sometimes just getting your nasal passages to drain will help to relieve symptoms such as congestion, swelling, excess secretions, and discomfort in the sinus areas that can be caused by nasal allergies. Sinus areas are hollow air spaces located within the bones of the skull surrounding the nose.

Your doctor may recommend using oral or nasal decongestants to reduce congestion along with an antihistamine to control allergic symptoms. Over-the-counter and prescription decongestant nose drops and sprays, however, should not be used for more than a few days.

When used for longer periods, these drugs can produce a “rebound effect” which leads to even more congestion and swelling of the nasal passages and a terrible addiction to the decongestant.

Treat Your Allergies with Nasal Irrigation

Nasal irrigation or nasal lavage is an ancient therapy that is experiencing renewed interest.  Through the use of a neti pot, squeeze bottle, or electric pulsating device like the Sinupulse Nasal irrigation system, water is rinsed through the nasal passages and sinuses.  This flow of water works to remove allergens, excess mucous., bacteria, and dried mucous.  A sterile saline solution is always recommended.  nasal irrigation can help you treat your allergy symptoms

In addition to the cleansing effect, the saline solution will provide a moisturizing effect to the membranes lining the nasal passages through the magic of osmosis.

Another added benefit is that mucous is thinned, making it much easier to expel.  Care must be taken that the water and salt solution must be sterile and the device must be thoroughly cleaned after each use to avoid the risk of serious bacterial infection.

Up next – How to Treat Your Allergies with Immunotherapy

Till next time

The Allergy Store

How to Treat Your Allergy Symptoms Part 1

For those of us that have allergies, there are several options we have to help us deal with them. Today we are going to talk about how to treat your allergy symptoms with conventional treatments.

When we cannot adequately avoid airborne allergens, our symptoms often can be controlled with medication. Effective medications that can be prescribed by a doctor include antihistamines and topical nasal steroids either of which can be used alone or in combination.

Many over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines and decongestants are effective and available at your local Walmart, CVS, or Walgreens. Be prepared to show your ID.Treat Your Allergy Symptoms with Topical Nasal Spray

How to Treat Your Allergy Symptoms with Antihistamines

As the name indicates, an antihistamine counters the effects of histamine, which is released by the mast cells in the body’s tissues and contributes to allergy symptoms. For many years, antihistamines have proven useful in relieving sneezing and itching in the nose, throat, and eyes, and in reducing nasal swelling and drainage. Antihistamines will not help with congestion.  To relieve congestion, a decongestant is needed.

Many people who take antihistamine experience some distressing side effects: drowsiness and loss of alertness and coordination. In children, such reactions can be misinterpreted as behavior problems.

During the last few years, however, antihistamines that cause fewer of these side effects have become available by prescription and over the counter. These non-sedating antihistamines are as effective as other antihistamines in preventing histamine-induced symptoms but do so without causing sleepiness.

Some of these non-sedating antihistamines, however, can have serious side effects, particularly if they are taken with certain other drugs.

It is not recommended that people with glaucoma or high blood pressure take certain antihistamines. Always let your doctor know what other medications you are taking.

How to Treat Your Allergy Symptoms with Topical Nasal Sprays

A topical nasal corticosteroid may be prescribed, especially for seasonal allergies.  This medication should not be confused with anabolic steroids, which are sometimes used by athletes to enlarge muscle mass and can have serious side effects.

Topical nasal corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that stop allergic reactions. In addition to other beneficial actions, they reduce the number of mast cells in the nose and reduce mucus secretion and nasal swelling.

The combination of antihistamines and nasal steroids is a very effective way to treat allergy symptoms, especially in people with moderate or severe allergic rhinitis. Although topical nasal steroids can have side effects, they are safe when used at recommended doses. Some of the newer agents are even safer than older ones.

Up Next – Treatment Options Part 2

Till next time

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