Some of the best medicines and treatments for allergies are now available to all of us who suffer with this problem. With Spring and Summer come an onslaught of red and swollen eyes, sneezing, runny noses, and nasal congestion. Most of us suffering with these search for an answer in our pharmacy as well as in the doctor’s office. Substances that provoke allergic reactions are called allergens. Some of these are house dust mites, mold, pollen, and animal dander and affect over 50 million people in America today. Many over the counter medications such as Benadryl, Claritin, and Sudafed are filling the shelves at drug stores. But after going your allergist they will recommend three things:
1. Allergen Avoidance: Decrease or eliminate the substance which you are allergic.
The less allergy causing material you breathe – the less medication you need.
2. Medication: Using pharmaceutical drugs to block allergic symptoms
This is a necessary part of treatment, especially in asthma, or severe nasal allergy.
Doesn’t eliminate the allergy causing symptoms.
3. Immunotherapy (Allergy Injections): Injecting allergic substances to produce a tolerance for them.
The allergist injects very small amounts at first, then increases dosage over time.
These will depend on each individual situation, but some of the common drugs prescribed are Zyrtec, Singulair, Flonase, Loratadine (Generic form of Claritin), Nasacort, and Astelin . These can give control over your symptoms for hours at a time. And for your eyes, Visine A.C. provides you with relief from itching and redness For most people taking these medications during the day is very important so they are effective while you’re at work or school. And many can find relief from all of the sneezing, runny noses, watery eyes and nasal congestion with what is available. But the allergy shots, called immunotherpy, claims to improve 85% of all patients in treatment. Each week for about 7-8 months you get an allergy injection which builds up your maintenance dose. Once that level is reached, the shots are given monthly for the next 3 to 5 years. By building up your immunity to the very substance which you are allergic, the sesitivity to certain allergens such as pollen, mold, dust are significantly decreased. As with any treatment or medicine there are risks of side effects.
People who are diagnosed with allergic asthma, or with allergies such as sinusitis or hay fever should consider allergy shots to prevent the development of a new or more serious disease. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) reviewed current and new research on immunotherpy and stated that “We recommend that patients who have asthma discuss immunotherapy with an allergist as soon as possible.” In their conference they concluded three things:
1: Allergy shots have been documented to have highly effective treatment for allergic asthma.
2: Immuotherapy effectivly prevents asthma in children with allergic rhinitis.
3: Allergy shots should be considered in patients with allergic asthma and disorders that predispose to asthma, such as hay fever, after diagnosis by allergist.
Asthma is triggered 80% by allergies in children and 50% in adults. The number of people getting these diseases each year is increasing. Along with this fact is that 5,000 deaths from asthma occur each year. With this in mind it was noted that immunotherapy could reverse this trend. It’s remains the only treatment available which interferes with the basic mechanics that causes allergies. Its noted that when started at an early age in children and in the early stages of the disease, immunotherpy is most effective in treatment. This treatment is covered by some insurances completely. You’ll only need a referral, and co-payment. The shots can be given by your doctor and you’ll only pay for the regular co-payment amount, a savings of $25.
Here’s some helpful hints for allergies:
1: Keep your windows closed at home and in your car during pollen season.
2: Heaviest pollination is between 2:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
3: Dry your clothes in the dryer not outdoor clothes line.
4: When gardening or cutting grass, wear paper face mask.
5: Keep humidity below 50%.
6: Use air conditioning in the summer with an extra dehumidifier. Avoid dehumidifier in
7: Encase pillows, mattress and box springs in allergen impermeable covers.
8: Use washable blankets, wash in hot water every 2 weeks.
9: Dust collects fast, use good quality vacuum that traps allergens.
10: A HEPA(High Efficiancy Particulate Air) filter removes 99.97% of particles that pass