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Despite the advances in allergy care during the past several decades, there are still only three basic, accepted approaches to allergy care:
- Avoidance of the offending allergens (the things to which a person is allergic);
- Pharmacotherapy (medications); and
- Immunotherapy (allergy shots or oral allergy drops).
The most basic treatment step, once an allergen has been identified, is to eliminate or avoid contact with the allergen, if possible. Unfortunately, avoiding most allergens (such as dust, molds, and animals) is often difficult, and thus, allergen avoidance alone may not be effective.
Medications can often control allergy symptoms. These may include antihistamines, decongestants, prescription nasal sprays, and leukotriene inhibitors. However, they can be costly and do nothing to combat the fatigue frequently associated with allergies.
When allergen avoidance and medications do not successfully control allergy symptoms, a professional allergist can decrease the body’s overactive response to allergens through regular allergy injections or oral allergy drops. This treatment can be given after allergy testing has revealed the specific allergens for the patient. Over time a person’s excessive response to these environmental allergens is decreased, both improving symptoms, as well as eliminating the need for medications and allergen avoidance.