Be careful with self-diagnosis
Allergies are far more complex than you might think. Not every sneeze is related to an allergy – the common cold can also produce symptoms, for example – just like not every rash is a food allergy. It can be dangerous to make a self-diagnosis, as this could easily lead to more serious complications.
Many people make the mistake of using a non-prescription nasal spray to get rid of a stuffy nose but failing to read the instructions, or to take into account that this kind of treatment is only recommended for short-term use. While nasal sprays are good at providing fast relieve during the acute phase of your allergy, persistent use causes the opposite effect and results in even more of a blocked nose. This soon develops into a dependency on nasal sprays or drops: your nasal mucosa is constantly irritated. As soon as you stop using the spray, the symptoms reappear, and as a reflex you reach for the nasal spray to relieve the issue, thereby ensuring you have to continue using the spray. Focus on recovery instead
Root-cause therapy or symptom therapy for allergies
Root-cause therapy is a common treatment tool in modern medicine. It aims to eliminate the root cause of the disease or condition as well as its symptoms, abandoning the view that we should only treat symptomatic complaints. This theory can easily be applied to the field of allergies too, where it is known as allergy immunotherapy.
With allergy immunotherapy, a purified extract of the allergen causing the complaint is given to the patient. The amount is increased gradually, with the dose strictly prescribed by a doctor. This enables the body to learn the correct immune response to that allergen. The extract is administered to the patient's body either through drops or in tablet form. This is a much more patient-friendly method than applying injectable treatment. Though an injection achieves similar results, the doctor has to inject the material the patient on a regular basis, which requires significant flexibility from the patient.
During treatment, the patient will experience a reduction of symptoms in the short term, while in the long term it prevents the patient from becoming allergic to new things, and also reduces the chances of developing more serious illnesses such as asthma.
The importance of prevention
In the case of pollen allergy, treatment is needed for a few months a year, and a full course of treatment can last for three to five seasons. The type of medication is chosen by the allergist according to the needs of the individual patient. The effectiveness of allergen immunotherapy has been demonstrated in 20-year follow-up studies.
Based on the suggestion of our allergist, it's important to start the fight against seasonal allergens in time: if you are allergic to grasses, start the therapy at the end of February, and if you are allergic to ragweed then you should start in May. For house dust allergies, treatment can be started at any time of the year.