Allergies occur when the immune system identifies a particular allergen, such as pollen or pet dander, and begins producing antibodies against that element, which is actually not harmful to the body at all. When the person comes in contact with the allergen, the antibodies begin attacking the allergen, causing the allergic reaction. The allergen itself is not harmful to the body, but the body’s reaction to the allergen can be quite serious. Allergic reactions vary in severity and form ranging from a minor irritation to anaphylaxis, which can often be life threatening. An allergy is actually hypersensitivity disorder caused by the immune system. The immune system works to protect the body against foreign elements by producing antibodies. Antibodies typically protect the body from sickness and infection, but in the case of allergies, the immune system is actually causing the reaction.
Most allergies can’t be cured, but there are a variety of ways to manage symptoms easily enough. The easiest way to stop allergies is to avoid the allergens. For those who are allergic to certain plants and pet dander, avoidance of the allergen usually stops the reaction and reduces symptoms.
SYMPTOMS OF ALLERGIES
Common symptoms of seasonal allergies include frequent headaches near the nose and forehead, breathing through an open mouth rather than through the nose, sneezing, itchy scratchy throat, plugged-up feeling in the ears, stuffed-up feeling in the nose with or without discharge, and the inability to sleep well.
Many seasonal allergy symptoms can be prevented. There is a lot of knowledge and skill that exists today to prevent problems throughout the worst times of the year. No one has to suffer from these problems with the proper consultation from a doctor.
There are new types of medications on the market today called leukotriene blockers which have brought relief to many people of all ages. Some commonly known medications include Singulair which is a once-a-day treatment, often prescribed for those who have asthma that is aggravated by allergen exposure. There are also popular antihistamines such as Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtec. These medications are known as inflammatory mediators. Nasal steroid sprays are also very useful to combat symptoms in many cases.
TOP 5 ALLERGY MEDICATIONS
Allergy medications come in many different forms, from over the counter antihistamines to prescription nasal sprays. The medications vary with allergens, but mostly just control or stop symptoms.
Antihistamines are the most common types of medications for seasonal allergies. Antihistamines work by stopping or reducing histamines, stopping allergy symptoms. Histamines are chemicals produced by the immune system when the body comes in contact with an allergen. They cause inflammation of the bodily tissue usually in the nose and sinus areas. Antihistamines stop this reaction and help to control and reduce any swelling and inflammation. Antihistamines can come in many different forms to treat specific areas. They are most commonly taken orally, or through drops or sprays. They are available over the counter and by prescription.
Aside from antihistamines, decongestants and steroids can be helpful for dealing with allergies. Decongestants shrink swollen and inflamed tissue relieving congestion. Steroids, usually in the form of nasal sprays, also constrict nasal vessels and are considered one of the strongest forms of allergy relief.
The 5 top allergy medication include -allergy shots, antihistamines (which comes in form of pills, eye drops, and nasal sprays), decongestants, leukotriene blockers, and nasal steroid sprays.
1. Allergy Shots
Allergy shots which are also known as “immunotherapy,” are given to patients with allergies in order to increase their tolerance to allergens. The shots are generally given to people who are suffering from severe allergies or those who are experiencing allergy symptoms for more than 3 months in a year. Be reminded however that allergy shots do not cure allergies since they only lessen sensitivity to certain substances. These must be given regularly and as time goes by, increasing doses must be administered. If however after taking the shot, you gre experiencing shortness of breath or tightness of the throat, this warrant the help of a doctor.
First-generation antihistamines. These are the original medicines developed to treat allergy symptoms and are available over the counter. These medications are generally effective, but have some bothersome side effects, especially drowsiness, which makes it difficult to take them on a regular basis. Examples are Benadryl and Chlortrimeton. Second-generation antihistamines. These medicines don’t cause the same level of drowsiness as their predecessors, though some of them can still cause mild sedation in some people. However, they are all highly effective and can be taken on a regular basis with very few side effects. They also come in long-lasting versions, so you only need to take them once a day. Examples are Allegra, Zyrtec, and Claritin. Claritin has been sold over the counter for a couple of years, and also has a number of generic versions (loratidine).
This particular drug lessens nasal congestion, leading to blood vessel constriction as well as reduced blood flow into the nasal passage. This medication must not be given to people who are experiencing allergic reaction towards decongestants.
4. Leukotriene modifiers
Singulair falls into this category and it is used for both allergies and asthma. It blocks leukotrienes, another body chemical that is involved in the allergic response.
5. Nasal steroid sprays
Nasal steroid sprays such as fluticasone propionate (Flonase), mometasone furoate (Nasonex), and triamcinolone acetonide (Nasacort) are considered by experts the best, first option for seasonal allergies. Both Flonase and Nasacort are recently available without a prescription. One downside is that it can take hours or even days before they start to work. And the steroid sprays must be used consistently to get the maximum benefit. Because of that, some allergy sufferers may choose instead to take one of the second-generation antihistamine medications.
ALLERGY MEDICATION ABUSE
One of the commonly abused allergy medication is Antihistamine. Abuse is on the rise along with many other over the counter medications that are easy to purchase and reasonably cheap. Although they can be used for treating allergic reactions, but unfortunately the abuse of antihistamines for the sedative effect is becoming more common place today. The antihistamine Diphenhydramine is by far the most widely used antihistamine, sold under the brand names Benadryl, Unisom, and Sominex, to name a few. Diphenhydramine has its maximal effect about one hour after it is taken.
The antihistamine Diphenhydramine is used for the relief of nasal and non-nasal symptoms of various allergic conditions such aS seasonal allergies. This antihistamine is also used to alleviate cold symptoms and chronic allergy symptoms such as sneezing, and hives. Diphenhydramine is effective at treating minor allergic reactions involving the eyes (allergic conjunctivitis) or to prevent or treat motion sickness, as in the antihistamine Dramamine. The antihistamine Diphenhydramine exaggerates the sedating effects of some prescription drugs that can cause sedation such as the benzodiazepine class of anti-anxiety drugs such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin, increasing the likelihood for antihistamine abuse for people who like this enhanced effect. Often, individual use antihistamines with alcohol at high doses to increase the sedative effect of the antihistamine. Using high doses of antihistamines with alcohol can cause liver dysfunction, and is considered antihistamine abuse. Diphenhydramine can commonly cause sedation, tiredness, sleepiness, dizziness, disturbed coordination, drying and thickening of oral and other respiratory secretions, and stomach distress. Diphenhydramine may also cause low blood pressure, palpitations and increased heart rate, confusion, nervousness, irritability, blurred vision, double vision, nausea or loss or appetite, Diphenhydramine should be used with caution (if at all) in persons with hyperthyroidism, glaucoma, prostatic hypertrophy (enlarged prostate gland) and cardiovascular disease. Some people using antihistamines can have serious life threatening side effects including, in rare instances, seizures. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction are unlikely with antihistamines, but can happen, as with any medication.
Abuse of allergy medication such as antihistamines is substance abuse, and should be taken seriously, as with any chemical dependency issue. Receiving treatment for antihistamine abuse is the best possible option for a positive outcome.
WEANING OFF OF ALLERGY MEDICATION
One of the best natural remedies for allergies is strengthening your immune system so you can stop worrying about an allergic reaction once and for all. To accomplish this, muster up the discipline to drop unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking too much, and staying up late at night, as these are sure-fire ways to weaken the body’s natural defense against illness.
Allergies won’t go away within a 24-hour period, so be patient. A smoker who can’t quit cold turkey can gradually give up the habit, for one. Natural remedies for allergies include regular exercise, lots of green leafy vegetables and brightly colored fruit in your daily diet, and a conscious effort to do away with harmful vices and habits will surely make a difference in the quality of your life.
- Plan both indoor and outdoor activities according to season.
Natural remedies for atlergies mean steering clear of pollen especially if it is particularly humid, or there’s a breeze outside. Save the bulb-planting, gardening, and other outdoor activities when the air is relatively still. If you can’t avoid going out to run errands and do tasks, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes, and bring a hanky so you can cover your nose and mouth in an instant should a breeze spring up. Also, try to steer clear of dust, mold, and pet hair. If you are especially allergic to these, have someone take over the spring cleaning, dusting, and pet-washing so you won’t end up sneezing the whole season away.
- Acupuncture and massages gives relief.
With allergies usually come bodily aches and pains. lt is understandably tempting to reach for prescription pain killers, but these are most likely offer temporary relief, have undesirable side effects and can get quite expensive in the long run. Consider getting deep tissue massages or an acupuncture session, instead. Homeopathic practitioners recommend them because they have become proven natural remedies for allergies and other sickness. Massages stimulate a body’s energy channels, and help keep an overactive immune system on an even keel so that most allergy symptoms are suppressed.
- Increase natural and organic food supplements in your daily diet.
Eating healthy, exercising regularly, and dropping unhealthy vices are proven natural remedies for allergies, as far as preventive measures are concerned. But adding natural and organic food and supplements can also greatly alleviate in your allergies. Home-brewed teas made of herbs like fenugreek seeds, grapefruit and lemon, and stinging nettle leaves are very good ways to prevent allergic reactions and even strengthen your immune system. In fact, stinging nettle leaves are a favorite ingredient in plenty of allergy medication. You can steep them in hot water for a couple of minutes as with regular tea, sweeten with a bit of honey, and drink a couple of times a day for instant relief and stronger resistance.
- Flush sinuses and decongest naturally.
A lot of people scorn at the idea of nose washing when, in fact, it is one of the best natural preventive measures for allergies. When you’ve sneezed continuously for more than a couple of minutes, you surely know the feeling of wanting relief and putting a stop to it. Try a saline nasal wash that involves a salt-water solution which you can buy or prepare yourself. If you want to mix a saline nose bath yourself, combine 2 teaspoons of non-iodized salt with one tablespoon baking soda in one quart of boiled and cooled water. Pour around 8 ounces of the solution in a clean squeeze bottle, tilt your head over a sink or basin, and then squeeze the solution in one nostril and let it drain out of the other. To avoid the sensation of drowning, try panting like a dog so your palate lifts and the back of your nose closes up. Doing a saline nose flush not only provides instant allergy relief, but also clears the nasal passages by withdrawing out mucus and effectively rinsing allergens like pollen and dust.
ALTERNATIVES TO ALLERGY MEDICATIONS
Seasonal allergies affect over 35 million Americans every year. These allergies, which are generally the worst in the spring, produce a variety of annoying and uncomfortable symptoms that send many allergy sufferers running to the doctor’s office, searching for relief. Fortunately, these symptoms, which include itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, and even wheezing, also be treated using completely natural methods. These natural methods will not only keep many seasonal allergy sufferers out of the doctor’s office, but will allow them to enjoy the spring season without the use of traditional medication.
- Saline or Saltwater Nose Rinses. Saline rinses can be purchased or can be made at home by simply combining 8 ounces of warm water, with 1/4 of a teaspoon of table salt, and 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking soda. Rinsing the nasal cavity with a saline rinse will wash out pollen and other debris, while working to dry built up mucus.
- Consume raw, organic honey and/or bee pollen. Consuming these substances work to expose the immune system.to pollen, which is a very common allergen. When the immune system is exposed to bee pollen, it will then work to build antibodies against pollen; therefore, eliminating pollen as an allergen. Keep in mind that bee pollen is more effective in reducing allergies than honey, and that any type of honey, other than raw honey will be almost completely ineffective.
- Try an Oregano Oil supplement. Oregano oil is said to protect the body against suffering from allergies. Oregano oil works to reduce allergies by decreasing the amount of histamines found in the blood stream. Histamines are chemicals that cause allergic reactions in the body and also cause the body to swell. When taking an oregano oil supplement, it is important to find a high-quality supplement, as a low quality supplement will be less effective in reducing allergies.
- If possible, close all house and car windows and turn on the air conditioning. The less outside air allowed inside the house or car, the less allergens that will be allowed to escape into the air. While this is a simple step, it can greatly reduce the severity of allergies. Simply working to reduce exposure to allergens will greatly reduce their effect on those susceptible to allergies.
- Change and wash clothing as soon as coming in from outside. Pollen and other allergens can easily become trapped within fabrics and become irritating. While this may be decently inconvenient, it will also help to reduce the severity of seasonal allergies.
- Take a butterbur supplement four times every day. Butterbur is an herb found in Europe that is known to reduce the severity of allergies. In fact, butterbur is just as effective in treating allergy symptoms as popular medications cofttaining antihistamines. Fortunately, butterbur does not cause drowsiness in consumers as many antihistamine containing medications do. This allows allergy suffers the option of avoiding traditional medications, while enjoying the same benefits, and even avoiding unwanted side effects.