You're outside enjoying your day and then.... achoo! Seemingly out of nowhere, your allergy symptoms are in full effect. Between the non-stop sneezing, stuffy nose and itchy eyes, you may be wondering if you will ever find relief.
Thankfully, these symptoms don’t have to ruin your day. Although there is no current cure for allergies, there are a variety of allergy treatment options available that can give you the freedom to enjoy your life symptom-free.
You may be asking, “what allergy treatment options are available to me?” In this blog, we discuss the seven types of allergy treatment, their benefits, and how each treatment option works. That way, you have all of the information you need to conquer allergies once and for all!
Let’s get started.
One common way people choose to relieve their allergy symptoms is by avoiding allergens altogether. Avoidance can be easily accomplished by:
For example, choosing not to visit your friend’s home because they have a cat when you are allergic to cats. Or, staying inside during certain times of the day when pollen counts are high.
While avoidance is an effective way to minimize the likelihood of an allergic reaction, it’s not always sustainable. At some point, you may have to go visit that friend and her cat, or spend time outside when pollen counts are high.
After a while, many people tire of limiting their lives to avoid allergens — and understandably so! When this happens, allergy sufferers tend to turn to a more permanent solution: medical allergy treatment.
When used as directed, allergy treatment works to desensitize you to the specific allergens that bother you most. As you are continually introduced to allergens, your immune system becomes more familiar with the allergen over time, minimizing its reaction. Before too long, you’ll be able to walk outside or visit your friend without fear of an allergy flareup!
Using this general understanding of allergy treatment and how it differs from allergy avoidance, let’s take a closer look at the types of allergy treatment that are available to you.
Each allergy treatment addresses your allergy symptoms in a specific way. The most common types of allergy treatments are:
Treatment options come in many different forms such as pills, shots, drops, nasal sprays, and recently even creams. This variety of options allows you to choose what is most convenient for your lifestyle.
Each of these allergy treatment options eases your allergies and manages your symptoms a bit differently.
When your body comes into contact with an allergy trigger, it produces chemicals called histamines. Histamines cause symptoms such as itching, sneezing, and congestion. Antihistamines, such as over-the-counter Claritin, Zyrtec, and Benadryl, stop your body from attaching to these chemicals. When used repeatedly, this treatment option can reduce or stop your allergy symptoms from starting. However, using this type of over-the-counter allergy treatment can get expensive, costing users up to $100 a month!
Antihistamines help treat seasonal (hay fever), indoor, and food allergies relatively quickly. They relieve symptoms such as watery eyes; itchy eyes, nose, and throat; runny nose; and sneezing.
Over the counter decongestants, such as Sudafed, are a treatment option that aims to relieve your congestive symptoms. They help narrow the blood vessels and tissues in your nose and eyes, and also help prevent drainage. While it can be effective, decongestants shouldn’t be used as frequently because they can actually make symptoms worse, and are known to cause side effects such as headache, dizziness, and high blood pressure.
Combination drugs have a mix of different allergy treatment options combined in one. Decongestants are often used with antihistamines to fight allergy symptoms more effectively. Some combination drugs block mast cells from releasing allergy-inducing chemicals in order to prevent allergy symptoms from flaring up.
Corticosteroids, more widely known as steroids, can help reduce inflammation as well. To be effective, steroids should be used regularly, even before allergy symptoms arise. In some cases, they can take weeks to have their full effect.
There are four ways to take this form of treatment:
Corticosteroids come in a variety of forms to treat different symptoms of allergies. Talk to your doctor to decide which of these options would be best for your particular allergies.
This form of allergy treatment prevents mast cells, the cells that store histamines, from releasing irritating chemicals into the body. Mast cell stabilizers can be used in the form of nasal sprays and eye drops to treat hay fever symptoms.
Leukotriene Modifiers are similar to mast cell stabilizers in the way they block leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are inflammatory chemicals that the body releases once it comes into contact with allergens. This allergy treatment option blocks the release of the chemicals and prevents inflammation of nasal passages and congestion. This type of treatment is typically also used by those who suffer from asthma.
Immunotherapy allergy treatment introduces a small amount of allergen substances into your body, building up tolerance over time. Treatment can be lengthy, but if successful it would eventually reduce symptoms and may even eliminate them altogether. There are three types of allergen immunotherapy: shots, drops, and transdermal cream.
Allergy shots inject a small dosage of the triggering allergen directly into the upper arm to desensitize your immune system to specific allergens. These shots are typically taken twice a week during the first several months of treatment. Over time, they are taken less frequently to maintain desensitization.
Allergy drops, referred to as sublingual immunotherapy, are placed under the tongue and absorbed into the body through the bloodstream. They currently are approved to treat ragweed, Timothy grass, dust mites, and some species of grass. These drops are taken every three to seven days for about three years.
Transdermal immunotherapy, also known as TdIT, is the newest way to treat allergies. Unlike other forms of immunotherapy, this allergy cream desensitizes you to allergens in the most natural way possible — through the skin. Once applied to the forearm, the cream sinks below the top layer of skin to the lymphatic system, where your immune system lives. Because of this, shots or drops do not interact with your immune system in the same way, making transdermal immunotherapy a much more effective treatment option.
Curious how to get this new allergy treatment? Through ShotFree Allergy!
ShotFree Allergy is your online portal to physicians and specialty pharmacies that provide transdermal allergen immunotherapy. By scheduling an online consultation with a provider to discuss your symptoms and lifestyle, you can determine if TdIT is the right solution for you.
Backed by research, our allergy cream may give you the results you’ve been searching for. With allergy season in full effect, start treatment now and stop those pestering allergy symptoms right in their tracks. Schedule your appointment with a provider today!