What are the main Approaches to Allergy Treatment?
There are three main ways to manage an allergy:
- Remove or avoid the provocative agent; quench or prevent the reaction with medications (pharmacotherapy)
- For selected allergies, try immunotherapy, “desensitization” using allergy shots with specific allergen extracts.
In addition, people can try to prevent allergies from developing, by taking certain precautions —especially avoiding known triggers and reducing stress. Researchers have shown that, although emotional tension and stress may aggravate allergic conditions, they are not the primary causes.
Avoiding Known Allergen(s)
The first and best treatment for allergies is avoidance — steering clear of the triggering agent(s) as far as possible.
That may mean not eating eggs, fish, peanuts or other food allergens, trying to keep pollens and molds out of the home, making the house as dust-free as possible, getting rid of a pet (or at least banning it from the bedroom) or avoiding allergy-provoking cosmetics, latex or other items.
Allergies are often referred to as the modern epidemic due to the significant increase in the percentage of the population of mild and severe symptoms.
Pharmacotherapy and their use to reduce the symptoms of Allergies.
Many medications are now available to help prevent attacks and relieve symptoms, used separately or in combination.
Some of the main pharmacutical groups are:-
- Antihistamines — there is a wide range to choose from, the newer ones being less sedating — used as tablets, syrups, sprays or eyedrops
- Mast-cell stabilizers — such as cromolyn (also called “cro-moglycate” ) — used as eye drops or a nasal spray to help prevent attacks
- Corticosteroids — used either topically, as a spray, or by mouth — to mute the inflammatory response
Immunotherapy is increasingly having successful outcomes.
“Desensitizing” allergy injections are suitable for selected allergy cases. Better-purified allergen extracts, and new guidelines for their use, are improving the success of immunotherapy.
Provided the right allergen(s) are used, in high enough concentrations, the technique may help desensitize people allergic to insect-sting venoms, identifiable seasonal pollens, animal dander and possibly dust mites.
Preventing Allergies – Reducing the exposure to potential Allergens.
Indoor allergen levels can be reduced by keeping homes free of dust and mold, and avoiding pets.
Women from known allergic families, whose children are at high risk of developing allergies, can breastfeed their babies for at least six months, delay the introduction of solid foods, and start infants on non-allergenic foods (avoiding cow’s milk, eggs, seafood, nuts and peanuts) for perhaps the first two to three years, or even longer.