Immunotherapy For Allergies To Pollen
In some cases, your clinical immunology/allergy specialist may suggest allergen immunotherapy which is also known as desensitisation. It involves a series of injections, tablets, sprays or drops given under the tongue of very small doses of the allergen over a long time. This can help to improve tolerance of the pollens that are triggering your allergy and reduce symptoms.
What Happens During The Spring Allergy Season
When we talk about spring allergies, were talking about tree pollen, says Dr. Eidelman. In a temperate climate, there are three basic pollen seasons. You have spring which is tree season, summer brings more grass pollen and in the fall, you have more weed pollen and a little bit of mold.
He adds that in subtropical areas, there are still three main pollen seasons. However, the grass pollen season can be much longer and since these areas dont get winter weather or true frost to stop trees and plants from producing pollen, allergy seasons dont end.
If you feel like your spring allergies are worse year after year, youre not imagining things. What youve experienced was most likely due to global warming.
Dr. Eidelman explains.
With climate change, spring pollination has become worse during the last 10 to 20 years. As the seasons get hotter, were getting more pollen, longer pollination seasons and more intense pollination seasons. This seems to be a worldwide trend.
How Bad Can Spring Allergies Get
People can be very miserable. Their eyes can become itchy and swollen, their noses get congested, they sneeze a lot and if they have asthma, their lungs can become irritated.
Dr. Eidelman says if you have allergic rhinitis or nasal allergies, things can get really bad and may affect your quality of life quite significantly.
People might have trouble working or going to school. They may have trouble sleeping and they often feel tired. Even if they try to get enough sleep, its not normal sleep. So, work presenteeism can be quite common. This is when people show up to work or school but they cant function at 100% because theyre kind of out of it like they feel when they have a cold or the flu.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. The annual cost from all of this is around $18 billion per year.
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Are You Really Struggling With Allergies
Stay out of the pollen and talk to an eCare medical provider anytime, anywhere 24/7 for nonurgent health issues, including cough, sinus discomfort and sore throat.
An allergy happens when the immune system reacts to a substance, such as pollen, and releases histamine, a chemical found in some of the bodys cells. After histamine is released, symptoms appear in the nose, sinuses, eyes, throat and even ears, skin and stomach. Many times the result is a runny nose, sneezing, headaches, itchy and watery eyes and sore throat.
If youre struggling, there are some things you can do to reduce your reactions and also soothe your symptoms, according to Rachel Alexander, APRN, Norton eCare:
1. Limit your time outdoors. Pollen counts are highest in midday, early evening and when its windy.
2. Use air conditioning both in the car and in your home. Consider a HEPA filter for your home.
3. Shower in the evening to wash the pollen off before bedtime. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hair. The steam from the shower is sometimes beneficial in relieving symptoms.
4. Use a saline rinse to clear pollen from nasal passages. There are several varieties out there, from neti pots to special sprayers and even electronic devices. Talk to your health care provider about the best options for you.
5. Keep pets out of your bedroom if they have been outdoors. This reduces the amount of pollen in your sleeping area.
6. Dry clothes in a dryer, not outdoors on a clothesline.
What Are The Types Of Allergies And How Are They Treated
You can be allergic to a wide variety of substances including pollen, animal dander, mold and dust mites.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is an allergic response to pollen. It causes inflammation and swelling of the lining of your nose and of the protective tissue of your eyes .
Symptoms include sneezing, congestion , and itchy, watery eyes, nose and mouth. Treatment options include over-the-counter and prescription oral antihistamines, anti-leukotrienes, nasal steroids, nasal antihistamines, and nasal cromolyn. In some people, allergic asthma symptoms can be caused by exposure to pollen.
Your symptoms can be reduced by avoiding pollen. Stay indoors when pollen counts are high, close your windows, and use air conditioning. Ask your healthcare provider about immunotherapy to treat pollen allergy.
Dust mites are tiny organisms that live in dust and in the fibers of household objects, such as pillows, mattresses, carpet, and upholstery. Dust mites grow in warm, humid areas.
The symptoms of dust mite allergy are similar to those of pollen allergy. To help manage dust mite allergies, try using dust mite encasements over pillows, mattresses, and box springs. Also, remove carpet, or vacuum frequently with a high-efficiency filter vacuum cleaner. Treatment may include medications to control your nasal/eye and chest symptoms. Immunotherapy may be recommended if your symptoms are not adequately controlled with avoidance methods and medications.
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Third Plan Outdoor Time Wisely
It’s best to avoid the outdoors during high pollen counts, but that’s not always practical.
“Most plants pollinate from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., says Miguel P. Wolbert, MD, an allergist in Evansville, Ind. Wolbert is certified in pollen counting for the National Allergy Bureau. “If you are outside then, going for a jog, you pick up the pollen on your hair, face, and clothes,” he says.
Windy days can be worse than calm days. “Windy days stir the pollen around,” he says.
If a dog is jogging with you, they are a pollen-carrier, too, Wolbert says. “Often people blame the dog for an allergy, and it might be the pollen on the pet.”
When possible, avoid early morning outings with the dog on high pollen days, especially if it’s windy.
Do Patients Come To You With Common Misconceptions About Allergies
The most common misconception that we hear about allergies is that although someone is allergic to cats or dogs, their pet is hypoallergenic. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog or cat. We understand how important pets are to families, however, and work with families on interventions that work best for the family.
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Do Air Purifiers Help With Asthma
Allergy UK reports that allergies can trigger an asthma attack in up to 90% of children and 60% of adults. But before investing in an air purifier, it’s worth figuring out what triggers an attack.
Expert allergy nurse, Aneta Ivanova told Live Science, “Correct recognition and reducing exposure, where possible, can help with correct management and improvement of quality of life.”
She added, “Should aeroallergens such as dust mites, pollens, mold or pet dander be the trigger, then using an air purifier may help.”
However, Ivanova points out that although helpful, air purifiers are not a replacement for medical asthma treatment like inhalers. You should always consult your doctor or seek professional medical advice before changing your prescribed medical routine.
When Is The Grass Pollen Season
In northern regions of the United States, grasses usually pollinate in the late spring or early summer. In southern regions, grasses may pollinate throughout many seasons and could trigger symptoms throughout the year.
These small, light and dry grass pollen grains are released into the air and can travel for hundreds of miles by the wind.
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Reduce Stress & Prioritize Good Sleep
Chronic stress and poor quality of sleep can increase inflammation in your body and compromise gut health. When you are under stress, your body also releases histamine to protect your body. However, when you are under chronic stress and your body is fatigued from low-quality or little sleep, your body will release too much histamine. As you know, too much histamine is not good for your body and can lead to a variety of issues, including allergies .
To reduce pollen allergies, I recommend that you take charge of your stress levels and sleep habits. Try meditation, breathwork, guided relaxation exercising, grounding, time in nature, journaling, positive affirmations, mindset shifts, gratitude practice, and prayer to reduce stress.
Spend time with loving family members, supportive friends, uplifting people, and friendly pets. If you need help with transforming negative thoughts into positive ones, develop positive coping strategies and mindset shifts, or simply want to talk things out, you may reach out to a therapist, life coach, or spiritual counselor.
Treating Severe Allergic Reactions
Some people with severe allergies may experience life-threatening reactions, known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock.
If you’re at risk of this, you’ll be given special injectors containing a medicine called adrenaline to use in an emergency.
If you develop symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as difficulty breathing, you should inject yourself in the outer thigh before seeking emergency medical help.
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Could Hacking The Immune System Cure Allergies
Scientists are redesigning natural allergens to help the immune system defend against them, in a move that could eliminate the side effects and lifelong medication of treating allergies – the most common chronic condition in Europe.
More than 150 million Europeans suffer from allergies and this number is on the rise due to triggers such as growing pollution. By 2025, one in every two people in the EU could be affected by allergies, according to the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Allergies are most commonly treated by taking lifelong medication, such as antihistamines, that relieve symptoms like red eyes and a runny nose. However, about 5-10% of sufferers use another type of treatment called immunotherapy, where the immune system is desensitised to specific allergens, which can eventually cure allergies.
The process can be quite cumbersome though. Although drops or tablets can sometimes be administered under the tongue, frequent visits to the doctor for shots are more typical. Patients start with a low dose of the allergen which is gradually increased over several years.
It requires quite a lot from that patient, so thats probably one of the reasons that it isnt the most popular treatment, said Dr Ronald van Ree from Amsterdam University Medical Center in the Netherlands. If you do injection immunotherapy you have to do it for at least three years.
The team is now testing the tweaked allergen in patients in Denmark.
Pollen Allergy Causes Allergic Rhinitis
The correct name for hay fever is seasonal allergic rhinitis. Symptoms are caused by the body’s immune response to inhaled pollen, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes and nasal passages.
Allergic rhinitis symptoms include:
- Irritable, itchy, watery and red eyes.
- Itchy ears, throat and palate.
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Christina Ciaccio Md Msc
Christina Ciaccio, MD, MSc, provides compassionate care for children and adults with food and environmental allergies, allergic rhinitis, urticaria and angioedema, allergic rashes and asthma. She strongly believes in educating patients and their families, and involving them in the care process in a meaningful way.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies
Airborne agents , such as pollen, grass, mold, cedar, ragweed, or even some chemicals, are breathed in. Once they enter our bodies, these allergens start to wreak havoc. The immune system mistakenly sees the pollen as a danger and releases antibodies that attack the allergens and release a chemical called histamine into the nose, eyes, and lungs. Histamine is intended to attack harmful agents and remove them from the body. One of the main things that histamine does is cause inflammation.
The good news is there are many natural remedies you can try to control your allergy symptoms:
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Pollen Counts: Not Always The Full Story
Its a good idea to keep an eye on the predicted pollen counts, particularly if you plan to be outdoors for a long period of time.
But even if you see a high pollen count predicted in the newspaper, on a smartphone app or on TV, it doesnt necessarily mean that you will be affected. There are many types of pollen from different kinds of trees, from grass and from a variety of weeds. As a result, a high overall pollen count doesnt always indicate a strong concentration of the specific pollen to which youre allergic.
The opposite can be true, too: The pollen count might be low, but you might find yourself around one of the pollens that triggers your allergies.
Through testing, an allergist can pinpoint which pollens bring on your symptoms. An allergist can also help you find relief by determining which medications will work best for your set of triggers.
This page was reviewed for accuracy 4/23/2018.
Allergy Shots And Other Immunotherapy
You call them allergy shots. Your doctor calls it “immunotherapy.” By either name, the goal is the same: Retrain your immune system so it doesn’t go into allergy mode.
When you get allergy shots, your doctor gives you small, gradually increasing amounts of the pollens that are causing your symptoms. Over time, your body builds up a resistance to them. The shots are a long-term commitment, likely taking 3 to 5 years. After that, your doctor will see if you still need them.
Instead of getting shots at the doctorâs office, there are also under-the-tongue tablets that you can take at home. The FDA has approved three of these products: Grastek, Oralair, and Ragwitek. They work the same way as shots. The goal is to boost your tolerance of allergy triggers.
The tablets can cause an allergic reaction in some people, so you will need to take your first one at your doctorâs office to make sure itâs safe for you. Even if you donât have a reaction, you may feel itching or burning in your mouth or lips or have stomach troubles. These problems usually go away after a few days.
American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology : âSLIT Treatment for Allergic Rhinitis Nothing to Sneeze About.â
FDA. “Itching for Allergy Relief?” News release.
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital: “Allergens: Pollen.”
National Jewish Health: “Pollen Allergy.”
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: “Pollen.”
Sanofi-aventis U.S. News release.
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Consider Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is purported to boost the immune system, help break up mucus, and support lymphatic drainage. Experts recommend mixing one to two tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water and lemon juice three times a day to relieve allergy symptoms. These tips on how best to use apple cider vinegar will provide additional guidance.
What Causes Hay Fever
It is caused when the body makes allergic antibodies to certain substances, such as pollen, house dust mites or mould, which are known as allergens.
Grass pollen is the most common allergen , but tree and weed pollens can also cause the allergic reaction we know as hay fever. In perennial allergic rhinitis the symptoms continue all year round and usually relate to indoor allergens, such as house dust mites, pets, including birds, or moulds.
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Talk To Your Doctor About Allergy Medications
Like any drug, allergy meds can interact with others youre on or cause side effects, including drowsiness, prostate problems, brain fog and heart issues, in certain underlying conditions, Parikh says. So, while there are a lot of good options available OTC, that doesnt mean theyre automatically safe for you. All these meds are not necessarily benign. I would not wing it, Dvorin says. Chat with your doc first.
Pollen Allergies: Symptoms & Natural Support Strategies
Spring is here. If you are one the millions dealing with pollen allergies, you know that its also allergy season. You may love the sunshine and the beauty of the flowering trees, but chances are, you could live without sneezing, runny nose, coughing, watery eyes, and other symptoms of pollen allergies.
I have good news for you. You dont have to suffer from symptoms of pollen allergies this season. You can reduce your risk and symptoms of pollen allergies using some simple natural solutions.
In this article, I will explain what pollen allergies are, what are their symptoms. You will understand how your immune system reacts to pollen and why you may develop pollen allergies. I will share my favorite natural support strategies to improve your pollen allergies this season.
Optimize Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D is critical for your immune system. Low levels of vitamin D is associated with chronic inflammation and a risk of developing allergies. While getting sun exposure on a regular basis is essential for your vitamin D levels, it is difficult to meet your needs, especially when working indoors or living in a colder climate.
To optimize your vitamin D levels, I recommend 1,000 I of vitamin D3 with 4.5 mcg of K2 per 25 lbs of body weight daily. Vitamin D3/K2 is a potent supplement that can help to optimize your vitamin D levels when taken daily .
A Balanced Immune Response Is Key
Even though most people dont connect gut health to allergies, the most common issue that can increase your symptoms or make you prone to allergies is altered and unbalanced gut flora. Your gut microbiome is responsible for 70 percent of your bodys innate immune response and allows your body to differentiate between safe environmental particles, including pollen, weed, and dust, and unsafe environmental particles, including bad bacteria, viruses, and unhealthy yeast.
When your gut flora is altered early in life, it can lead to an immune malcoordination and an oversensitivity to safe environmental particles. This may not only increase your risk of pollen and other seasonal allergies, but also increase your risk of asthma, autoimmune conditions, and chronic inflammation .
While many people with pollen allergies have allergies since childhood or teenage years, it is certainly possible to develop pollen allergies later in life or experience worsen symptoms as you grow older. It is also possible to reduce your symptoms and even eliminate your pollen allergies through proper immune support.
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