How are allergies treated?
The treatments for allergies include:
- Avoiding allergens – It is best to identify the triggers with a doctor and then avoid these allergens entirely. This is deemed the most vital step in the treatment and prevention of allergies.
- Medications – Medications are dependent on the allergy and reaction. There are a number of medications that can assist in easing the symptoms and immune system response. Antihistamines are the most common form of medication, as well as eye drops and nasal sprays. Medications typically include:
- Leukotriene Modifiers
- Cromolyn Sodium
- Immunotherapy – This form of treatment is for severe allergies and consists of a number of injections given to the patient that contain a purified form of the allergen. Injections are normally administered over a few years.
- Immunotherapy can also be given as a tablet placed under the tongue. This is known as a sublingual drug and is used as a treatment for only a few allergies such as an allergy to pollen.
- Emergency epinephrine – In the case of severe allergies, and allergies that are not relieved through means of other treatment, it is likely that the doctor will recommend the patient carry an emergency epinephrine shot with them.
- An epinephrine shot (popular brands are known as EpiPen or Twinject), is an injection that contains epinephrine, which is a chemical that causes the blood vessels to narrow and opens up the airways in the patient’s lungs. The effect of this chemical reverses blood pressure that is severely low, relieves itching skin, hives, wheezing and a number of other allergy symptoms.
- In alternative medicine circles, acupuncture is regarded as an effective means of treatment for those suffering from hay fever as it is thought to help clear up congestion associated with the allergic reaction. Medical evidence to prove this is still weak as there is much criticism over the way studies that claimed it as fact were conducted.
- Research is still being conducted into the use of dietary supplements, probiotics, prebiotics and fish oil in order to prevent eczema and also into food allergies in pregnant women and the possibility of these being passed down to their children (hereditary allergies).
There are a number of natural treatments on the market. However, it is advised that patients consult with their doctor before attempting any alternative medication for their allergies.
What are the lifestyle and home remedies for allergies?
In some cases, the symptoms of allergies have been known to improve simply by means of home treatment. These treatments are:
- Treatments for hay fever and congestion – These allergy symptoms can be improved through rinsing out the sinuses with a water and salt solution. This is known as saline nasal irrigation. It can be administered through a specially designed plastic bottle that can squeeze the liquid into the sinuses and flush out the mucous. Some people use a Neti pot or simply sniff up the liquid to flush out their nasal passages.
- Treatment for mould allergy - Should a patient have a mould allergy, it is advised that they reduce the moisture in damp parts of their house through the use of dehumidifiers or ventilation fans.
- Treatment for airborne allergy symptoms in the house – It is best that the patient reduces their exposure to pet dander or dust mites through frequently washing their linen and stuffed toys (in the case of children) with hot water, as well as regularly vacuuming using a fine filter. It is also advised that carpeting is replaced with hard flooring as carpets tend to ‘catch’ and store dust and pet dander. Having pets groomed regularly can reduce dander too.