If you suffer from allergies when jogging in Grant Park, you know that you’ll do just about anything to feel better during a reaction. While practicing avoidance is usually the first line of defense against allergies, sometimes this is not possible or enough. This is where other treatments come into play. There are generally two options for treating allergy symptoms: allergy medication or immunotherapy. We review these options below.
There are multiple types of medications that can provide relief from allergies:
- Antihistamines. These medications work by blocking histamine, which is the chemical produced by your immune system that causes your symptoms. Some types of antihistamines are non-drowsy and can be taken regularly to prevent allergy symptoms, while others cause drowsiness and should only be taken to manage a reaction, and not every day.
- Corticosteroids. These medications reduce inflammation to ease allergy symptoms. There are different types, including nasal sprays, eye drops and topical creams. Corticosteroids can only be taken over short periods of time.
Immunotherapy is a long-term allergy solution that works by introducing small amounts of allergens into your body so your immune system can build up a tolerance to them over time. There are two ways immunotherapy can be administered:
- Subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT). Also known as allergy shots, these are administered in an allergist’s office. This form is injected into the skin.
- Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). Also known as allergy drops, these are administered at home after your first dose. This form is held under the tongue until dissolved.
Which Should I Choose?
If your allergies are well-managed by over-the-counter medications in safe doses approved by your allergist or pharmacist, you can continue taking them. Just know, you may need to take them throughout your life.
If your allergies are not well-managed by medications, or if you don’t want to take these medications as a life-long solution, immunotherapy may be right for you. After three to five years of immunotherapy, you should experience significantly reduced symptoms or no symptoms at all.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call ENT of Georgia North today.