According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), more than 36 million people in the United States suffer from seasonal as well as nonseasonal allergies, including food, skin, insect, and drug allergies. For example, 7.8% of Americans ages 18 and over suffer from hay fever according to figures published by the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). In addition, up to 38,480 children are allergic to foods such as peanut butter, shellfish, and milk. For people suffering from allergies, a diagnosis presents challenges such as finding alternative medications if one is allergic to certain drugs. Keep reading to learn about some of the available treatment options after a diagnosis.
How Allergies Affect Different People
Allergic reactions vary depending on factors such as a person’s age, health, and environmental agents in the atmosphere. For example, a study published by the National Institutes of Health found that teenagers are likely to develop allergic rhinitis. Adults are more likely to develop allergies to bee or wasp venom as well as aspirin intolerance. For children, food allergies are quite common. With this in mind, allergies can affect different parts of the body including the gastrointestinal tract, lower respiratory tract, skin, and conjunctiva.
Allergy Treatment Options
Corticosteroids work by inhibiting the body’s ability to release chemicals that might trigger symptoms during an allergic attack. Depending on the type and severity of your allergic reactions, your doctor may prescribe oral, nasal spray, eye drop, skin cream, or inhaled corticosteroids. Some common corticosteroids include Rhinocort AQ, Flovent Diskus, Pred Forte, Cortaid, and Prednisone Intensol.
Unlike corticosteroids, antihistamines block a particular symptom-causing chemical – histamine – released by the body during an allergic attack. After an allergy diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe oral, eye drop, or nasal spray antihistamines. Popular antihistamines include Clarinex, Tavist, Patanase, Emadine, and Zaditor.
Immunotherapy involves giving increasing doses of an allergen to someone prone to allergic reactions. The aim is to make the body produce “blocking” antibodies and become less sensitive to an allergic substance. Before starting immunotherapy, your doctor may carry out blood and skin tests to determine the allergen responsible for your allergic reactions. A report published by WebMD warns that allergy shots may or may not work for drug, latex, and food allergies. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), immunotherapy can last anywhere from three to five years. In some cases, it can even extend beyond five years.
Decongestants come in handy if you suffer from sinus or nasal congestion. Once again, your doctor may prescribe oral, eye drop, or nasal spray decongestants. A study published by the New York Times cautions people suffering from heart problems, prostate enlargement, or high blood pressure to consult their doctors before using decongestants.
Whether you suffer from an allergic reaction to food, pets, bee stings, or even multiple allergies, living with the condition can be challenging. Available treatment options include decongestants, immunotherapy, antihistamines, and corticosteroids. Researchers are exploring new treatment options such as hay fever vaccines. A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that a new hay fever vaccine reduces reactivity to grass pollen by as much as 90%.