Hay fever desensitisation
Posted: 24th November 2017 | Posted by Costa
Hay fever desensitisation
At this time of the year, you might not necessarily worry about hay fever. Plummeting temperatures and general lack of spore abundant plant life can often make winter an ideal respite for those of us who live in fear of the phrase ‘high pollen count’. However, what you may not be aware of is that the family of hay fever, asthma, and eczema often coexist in the same individuals. Partly because they share many genetic risk variants that can affect immune-related genes. Thanks to research by a consortium of medical researchers, we now understand more about the relationship between these shared genetic origins.
This is the time of the year to start treatment – hay fever desensitisation can change the underlying cause of allergy. With that in mind, we take a look at how to handle your allergies and reduce their impact.
Understanding Hay Fever
Medically speaking, hay fever is a relatively modern development. As medicine improves and changes in lifestyle have helped develop immunology to many chronic infectious diseases. As a result, hay fever has blossomed (if you’ll forgive the pun). The influence of diet and a lack of microbiome diversity have actually contributed to the emergence of hay fever, and its impact can often occur at a very early point after birth. Straightforwardly put, if you have hay fever, it’s likely that you’ve had it almost since you were born.
So what can you do about it? Thankfully, the worst reactions to hay fever are often at a younger age, but with age comes increased susceptibility to the eczema side of this coin, and such irritations will often first emerge during puberty and can last for several years.
Managing and Desensitising
Arguably the most commonly-used method for combatting hay fever is cetirizine hydrochloride, more commonly known as a non-drowsy antihistamine. When hay fever strikes, your immune system releases chemicals into your body to expel the allergen. These are histamines, and their job is to get whatever is irritating you, out of you. All that sneezing, tearing up, and itching is actually your body expelling whatever is causing you grief!
Antihistamines block the effect of histamine and thus lessens the need to sneeze, rub, or scratch.
Should antihistamines prove ineffective, you may want to consider specific immunotherapy that teaches your immune system not to react. Such therapy has proven incredibly effective against a variety of allergens but is frequently underutilised as a resource. Sublingual allergy treatment is safe and effective. It needs to start at least four months before the season. The process involves placing medication under the tongue every morning for two minutes, the process is both safe and prosperous.
Allergen-specific immunotherapy involves administering gradually increasing doses of the relevant allergen until the patient builds up a tolerance. In cases of allergic rhinitis (that’s hay fever, to you and me) this method has been proven an effective treatment to a variety of catalysts, including tree pollen, grass pollen, and even cat and dog allergies. What’s more, studies have shown that the patient’s symptoms often improve even when they were resistant to antihistamines and conventional drug therapy. In some cases, after three to five years of treatment, the allergy is almost entirely overcome.
If you find yourself suffering from hay fever or other allergic problems book an appointment with our consultants. You can contact us on our website.