Management of Severe Alleries


Q: Hi, i have really bad alleries and im tied of taking over the counter medicine i cant go anywhere without them i feel like its my every day drug that i cant live without. I went to a natural store and they gave me histamin. Is that good for me to drink. I dont know what to drink anymore they say i should go to a doctor but i have no insuance and i cant afford a big bill. ive never suffered from alleries this bad before but each year they get worse i feel like its taking over my life. When they get really bad i feel like i have the flu my body aces, my head hurts my face,ear, throut,eyes,itch. And my face gets very dry. And since they been very bad for the last 5 years i have been drinking allery medicine every day sometimes even 2 to 3 times the 24hr medicine, i hate it. During the winter they aint as bad but there still there minor but just waiting to attack when my immune system is a little down. PLEASE tell me what you recommend or what ever i got at the store is a good start to long process.


A:   Thank you for your question and I sense your frustration. Environmental allergies can be manged very well and only a small percentage of individuals do not receive relief with treatment.
As with most things in medicine, it is important to take a step wise approach.
The absolute first step is to identify your allergies in the hope they are avoidable (smoke,dust, mold, animal dander, fragrance, etc ..).  Sometimes removing yourself from the environment that triggers your allergies is all that is not needed.
If that is not possible or you are unable to identify your triggers, over the counter antihistamines in pill form, taken once per day is a good start. Your pharmacist can make some recommendations. You may have to try a few brands before deciding which one works for you.  Before deciding if a brand works or not, give it at least 2 weeks of continuous regular use before switching brands.
Assuming you receive some relief but not enough relief, the next step would be to augment your therapy with other medications known to relieve symptoms.  The majority of other medications require a prescription from a doctor.  They include eye drops, nasal sprays and a class of drugs known as mast-cell stabilizers.  It is not uncommon of individuals to be on 2-4 daily medications to control their allergies.
If relief is still not obtained despite the above recommendations, allergy testing is usually warranted and you should see a specialist for consideration of allergy injections.
While it may take some time to test and try the different regimes, once relief is found, I am sure you will think it was worth the wait.
I hope this helps.

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