Don't let Allergies Put a Halt on Your Life
Allergies; many of us have them. They are an annoyance, a nuisance, and can be downright uncomfortable.
Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans has been diagnosed with allergies? More than half of allergy sufferers state that allergies impact their daily quality of life. What’s more - allergies are responsible for 4 million missed work days annually and account for $8 billion in annual costs.
With so many people suffering and a significant cost to our healthcare system, wouldn't it be great if we could stop allergies immediately?
How You can Stop Allergies Immediately
Unfortunately, there is no way to stop allergies immediately. Why? Because allergies involve the immune system, and if we were to stop them, we could harm our immune systems.
Seasonal allergies, often referred to simply as “allergies,” occur when the body reacts to a foreign substance - be it dust, mold, pet dander, or pollen. When we are allergic to this substance, our bodies make antibodies that signal that a substance is harmful, even though it isn’t. We will continually be allergic to this substance.
Even though allergies can’t be stopped immediately and there is no cure, there are various treatment options available.
The first step in relief for allergies is determining that we are, in fact, suffering from allergies. It is typically pretty obvious - we get red, itchy eyes, a runny nose, and begin sneezing.
We can take it one step further by identifying what the culprit is by undergoing an allergy test:
- Skin test. A skin test involves pricking the skin with proteins from common allergens. A positive test is noted when there is a localized reaction at the skin prick site.
- Blood test. A blood test quantifies the amount of immunoglobulin E (IgE) in the blood. IgE develops as a response to exposure to various different allergens.
Regardless of qualifying what our bodies are allergic to, we can treat allergies, thus reducing symptoms.
How to Get Rid of Allergies
We can’t, unfortunately, get rid of allergies. However, there is much that we can do to improve our symptoms of allergies - and maybe even reduce our response to allergens.
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The word “antihistamine” literally means opposed or against histamines. Histamines are what the body creates when exposed to something allergic. Thus, when we take an antihistamine, we are working to reduce the body’s histamine response.
There are various options available:
- Cetirizine (Zyrtec).
- Fexofenadine (Allegra).
- Loratadine (Claritin).
Nasal sprays used to treat allergies are corticosteroids. These medications are specific to nasal symptoms related to allergies.
There are various options available:
- Fluticasone propionate (Flonase)
- Budesonide (Rhinocort)
- Triamcinolone (Nasocort)
Cromolyn Nasal Spray
Cromolyn nasal spray is administered similarly to corticosteroid nasal sprays. However, it is imperative to begin treatment before symptoms begin. In addition, this type of nasal spray requires administration five to six times per day. However, it has a more systemic response because it helps to block the allergen before it causes symptoms.
Oral decongestants can be a standalone medication, or they can come as a combination with an antihistamine. They work to reduce allergy symptoms overall, especially when combined with an antihistamine.
The options available include:
- Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed).
- Cetirizine-pseudoephedrine (Zyrtec-D 12 Hour).
- Fexofenadine-pseudoephredine (Allegra-D 12 Hour).
- Loratadine-pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D).
When medications are not enough, your provider may recommend allergy testing with subsequent immunotherapy. As we’ve discussed, allergy testing narrows down which specific allergens may be causing symptoms. Immunotherapy uses this knowledge to provide target therapy. Tiny amounts of allergens are injected on a scheduled basis. These “doses” are increased periodically, potentially desensitizing from these allergens.
Natural Remedies for the Treatment of Allergies
Not everyone can - or chooses to - treat their allergies with medication. Various natural remedies may be helpful.
Nasal Saline Irrigation
Saline irrigation involves squirting or pouring water and salt solution through the nostrils, clearing out any dust or allergens that may be present. A 2012 review of 10 studies indicated that this is a beneficial treatment option for children and adults.
Acupuncture involves the use of thin, flexible needles placed on various sites. Acupuncture may help a variety of conditions and illnesses - allergies included! A 2015 review of 13 studies indicated that acupuncture provided relief for seasonal allergies.
It may be tempting to pop any supplement that claims that it will relieve you of your symptoms. However, not all supplements are helpful and may interact with your current medications. Before taking a supplement, it is worth discussing it with your healthcare provider.
The following supplements may be beneficial for the treatment of allergies, based on research and review:
- Stinging nettle.
- Vitamin C.
Are you feeling the symptoms of allergies? But what about a cold? Knowing the difference between each can help you find better treatments.