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Main > Specialty Areas > Immunology >
Allergies

Allergy Treatments

There exists no single one-hundred-percent effective method of allergy treatment, that's why the allergic reactions are treated either by suppressing the body's immune response or by neutralizing the inflammatory chemicals (such as histamine) that are released into the body following an allergic reaction. However, it is usually possible to minimize allergic reactions with a combination of prophylactic methods and correct treatment. There are plenty of medicines that are used to treat allergic reactions, please consult the Links section for further info. Below is a description of the most common ones.

Antihistamines (Histamine blockers)

Antihistamines, such as Benadryl or Claritin, usually quickly help alleviate the symptoms of an allergic reaction. It is good to have a few pills with you, if you know you suffer from allergies. There is a wide variety of these medications – your allergist would be able to help you pick the best one for you.

Decongestants

Decongestants shrink swollen tissues in the nose, constrict blood vessels in the eyes, and thus relieve symptoms of congestion, redness and mucous secretion. Some common ones include Sudafed or Afrin. They are often used together with antihistamines for better effectiveness.

Treatment for Anaphylaxis

If you are known to have a severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis, carry an adrenaline (epinephrine) injection kit with you at all times. If you see someone exhibiting signs of an anaphylactic shock and do not have an epinephrine shot with you, immediately call 911.

Chemical Info:
Epinephrine is a hormone that is involved in the body’s metabolism – it is more widely known under a different name: adrenaline. It is usually secreted in heightened amounts in stressful situations. The ensuing reaction of the body is known as the "fight or flight" response. Its synthetic version is widely used as a stimulant in cardiac arrest, a vasoconstrictor in shock and as an antispasmodic in bronchial asthma.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is the most promising long-term treatment. It is commonly known as allergy shots that are designed to increase your tolerance to allergens - they contain doses of substances that the patient is allergic to. The shots are usually prescribed for chronic allergy sufferers. They are usually administered regularly (like, once a week) for a period of 2 to 4 years and the doze is gradually increased until the maintenance level is reached. The effectiveness of the therapy depends on the severity of a person's allergies and the number of substances to which he or she is allergic. However, most people report milder symptoms and sometimes, even complete disappearance of symptoms.

Prophylactics

Upon determining the substance (or an array of substances) that you are allergic to, your allergist may recommend changes in diet, lifestyle or work in order to minimize your exposure to your allergens. In many cases, no further treatment will be necessary.

‹‹ Diagnosing Allergies Links ››

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Random Useful Tip:
Epinephrine shot
If you are known to have a severe anaphylactic reaction, carry an epinephrine (adrenaline) shot with you at all times. Pay attention to expiration date and replace it regularly: upon expiration, it loses its effectiveness.

Random Drug Info:
Acyclovir
Acyclovir is a medication that is used to treat herpes infections of the skin, lips and genitals, chicken pox and shingles. It comes in the form of ointments, tablets, capsules or liquids. It relieves pain and itchiness and promotes healing; however, it does not cure the condition. Possible (but not common) side effects include headaches, upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. Severe side effects, such as severe rash or itching, blood in the urine, stomach pain or fever are even less common, but require prompt medical attention.



 
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