How are allergies treated?

How are allergies treated?

The treatments for allergies include:

  • Avoiding allergens– It is best to identify the triggers with the help of a doctor and then avoid these allergens entirely. This is deemed the most vital step in the treatment and prevention of allergies.
  • Medications– Medications administered depend on the type of allergy and the associated reaction. There are a number of medications that can assist in easing allergy symptoms and the immune system response. Antihistamines are the most common form of medication used in the treatment of allergies, as well as eye drops and nasal sprays. Other medications typically include:
    • Leukotriene Modifiers
    • Cromolyn Sodium
    • Corticosteroids
    • Decongestants
  • Immunotherapy– This form of treatment is for severe allergies and consists of a number of injections containing a purified form of the allergen being administered to the patient. These injections are normally administered over a few years.
    • Immunotherapy can also be administered in tablet form to be 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 forms of treatment, it is likely that a doctor will recommend that 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 of the patient’s lungs. The effect of this chemical increases blood pressure that is severely low, relieves itching skin, hives, wheezing and a number of other allergy symptoms.

Alternative medicine treatments for allergies

  • 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 the congestion associated with allergic reaction. Medical evidence to prove this is still weak and 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 a medical doctor before attempting any alternative medication for the treatment of allergies.

Lifestyle and home remedies for allergies

In some cases, minor symptoms of allergies have been known to improve simply by means of home based 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 is squeezed to project the liquid solution into the sinuses and flush out excess mucous. Some people use a Neti pot or simply sniff the liquid to flush out their nasal passages.
  • Treatment for mould allergy- Should one have a mould allergy, it is advised that efforts be made to reduce moisture levels in any damp parts of the house.  This can be achieved through the use of dehumidifiers or ventilation fans.
  • Treatment for airborne allergy symptoms in the home– It is recommended that an affected person reduce their exposure to pet dander or dust mites through the frequent washing of 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 be replaced with hard flooring as carpets tend to ‘catch’ and store dust and pet dander. Having pets groomed regularly can reduce dander too.
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