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Conventional treatments for allergies

Conventional treatments for allergies

Conventional treatment is based round the symptomatic relief obtainable from antihistamines, taken orally or applied topically as drops or in the form of a spray. Some of these are associated with drowsiness and side-effects can be a problem. A chemical called Sodium Cromoglycate can block the histamine response in the eyes and, less effectively, in the nose. It is also used to protect from food allergies in some cases. It has minimal problems with side-effects but is often inadequate to control symptoms.

Steroids are very effective but have a large number of side-effects, even when taken as drops for eyes and nose or creams for the skin. There is some concern over long term use as these conditions tend to recur and become chronic, requiring prolonged courses of treatment.

Traditional desensitisation techniques involving injecting small, increasing doses of the “allergen” causing the problem (such as grass pollen or cat fur etc.) has really fallen out of fashion because of the small but significant risk of anaphylactic reaction. It is only carried out in a small number of specialist allergy clinics with full resuscitation equipment so is not widely available.