It is estimated that more than 60 million Americans suffer from allergies, and unfortunately there is no real cure for them, although the symptoms can be managed fairly effectively.
Allergies are responses by your body’s immune system to some external substance (called an ‘allergen’) which either enters the body or comes in close contact with it.
Since your body considers the substance harmful, it tries to destroy it, and that triggers all the recognizable symptoms associated with the condition. The allergens which trigger symptoms can be found in the air or the environment, or in food or drinks, and are mostly harmless, except in some unusual cases.
How to manage having allergies
There is no way that allergies can be completely avoided, although in the case of food allergies, these can generally be excluded with a high degree of success. For something like hay fever though, you’d have to shut yourself into your home and never go out, never open windows or doors, and never invite someone in from the outdoors. That makes it important to understand how to manage your allergies effectively, so here are some of the best ways of managing your allergies:
- Decongestants– these are short-term medications which work to free blocked noses, and they are most useful when used to fight hay fever, dust allergies, and pet allergies
- Steroid spray– corticosteroids can be sprayed on the inside of the nasal passage to clear out your nose for easier breathing
- Antihistamines– histamines are chemicals activated in the body during an allergic reaction, and antihistamines block the activity of these histamines
- Anti-leuketrines– these are used by asthma sufferers when other remedies are ineffective, and they reduce swelling
- Immunotherapy– this treatment program calls for the gradual increase of an allergen in the body over a period of years, so as to increase the body’s tolerance of it.
Dr. Paul K. Foster
Chief, Division of Otolaryngology