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Allergies Treatment

Clip Number: 10 of 12
Presentation: Allergies
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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Most people can relieve their allergy symptoms by following three steps - identifying the trigger, decreasing exposure, and taking medicine.
Identifying the Trigger
In a person with allergies, the immune system mistakes harmless substances, known as allergens, for a potential threat.
When exposed to these allergens, the immune system attaches to the allergen, which causes a release of natural chemicals, including histamine. These chemicals enter the surrounding tissue and cause many of the symptoms of allergies.
The first step in treating allergies is to find out what substance, or "trigger", is causing the reaction.
Common triggers of seasonal allergies are found outdoors and include pollen from trees, grasses and weeds along with spores from fungi and mold.
Year-round allergies are often triggered by items found indoors, such as dust mites, mold, cockroaches, and animal dander.
Allergen Exposure
After identifying the offending allergen, the next step is to try and decrease exposure to that allergen. We'll talk more about trigger avoidance in the next video clip.
Allergies Medicines
The final step in treating allergies is medicine. There are a dizzying array of over-the-counter and prescription medicines available to treat allergies.
They are separated into different classes based on how they work. These classes include:
• Nasal steroids
• Antihistamines
• Decongestants
• Combination medicines.
Nasal steroids are very effective at treating the main symptoms of allergies. It CAN, however, take days or weeks before these medicines reach their maximum effect.
Antihistamines relieve the itching, sneezing, and runny nose of allergic rhinitis, but they do not relieve nasal congestion. This is why they are often combined with a decongestant.
Which medicine is best for your situation is usually based on how severe the symptoms are and your own personal preference.
In most people, medicines and allergen avoidance are enough to control symptoms. For those who do not get better with allergies medicines or the avoidance of allergens, allergy shots may be recommended.

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