Allergy Remedies – New And Tried-and-True
Allergens trigger allergy symptoms at all times of the year. But in the spring, seasonal allergens are both widespread in their impact (1 in 5 adults stuff from the characteristic symptoms of congestion, sneezing, and postnasal drip) and very specific as to their causes. Here in the Northwest, we are bombarded with Pine and Cottonwood pollens this time of year. Pine allergens are easily seen on your car as a yellow powder. Cottonwood floats freely in the air and looks like little cotton balls covering sidewalks and lawns.
What Causes Allergies?
Histaminerelease is the culprit that creates allergy symptoms. Hence antihistamines tablets/capsules taken both prior to and subsequent to allergy exposure are the best treatment for symptom relief. If you can predict that you are going to be in a situation where exposure to a specific allergy will kick off your allergy symptoms, such as playing a softball game on a newly mowed field, taking antihistamines an hour prior to the game may prevent the symptoms from occurring or at least ameliorate their severity.
Antihistamine tablets worked best for those that have seasonal allergies that occur throughout a 4 to 6-week period but not year round. The newer antihistamines are long-acting and do not cause the sedation of some of the first generation Benadryl-type medications.
Everyday Allergies and Treatment Options
For those who have year-long allergies a program of desensitization through “allergy shots” may be the best plan of action. Of course this type of desensitization program requires extensive allergy skin and or blood testing to determine what allergens are causing the problem and developing a desensitization serum that must be administered slowly over a long period of time at weekly or 2 weekly intervals and in ever increasing doses to desensitize the allergy sufferer.
One other “shot,” which has proven highly successful for those people with a very predictable 4-6 week allergy season is a one-time pulse dose of a steroid medication such as Kenalog in the weeks prior to the predicted season. Cortisone injections have significant side effects that can promote infection and de-stabilize blood sugars and diabetic control in diabetic patients.
Nasal sprays for allergies work only on the nasal mucosa and are not appreciably taken up into the general circulation. Nasal spray steroids such as Flonase and Nasonex are effective for allergic rhinitis and do not promote the systemic side effects of Kenalog injections.
Nasalcrom nasal spray is not a steroid or antihistamine preparation but a mast cell stabilizer which also proves effective for nasal allergies such as runny nose and congestion.
One other pill that should be mentioned is Singulair originally prescribed for asthma but now also used for upper respiratory allergic symptoms. Singulair is not a steroid or an antihistamine and as a separate class of medication works as a blocker of leukotrines, which are naturally occurring chemicals in the body that promote inflammation, asthma and seasonal allergic rhinitis.