What are the Different Treatments for Allergies?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A wide range of treatments for allergies are available, ranging from treatment regimens which are designed to eliminate allergies or radically decrease sensitivity to allergens to drugs used to manage the symptoms of allergies to keep patients comfortable. A doctor can provide specific advice based on the nature and severity of a patient's allergies. Because allergies are so variable, treatment usually needs to be tailored to the patient to be effective.

Some people use nasal sprays to treat allergies.
Some people use nasal sprays to treat allergies.

Many treatments for allergies focus on either dampening the immune response, or managing the symptoms of allergies. Several prescription medications are designed to specifically block the mechanisms which trigger allergies, such as hay fever medications which allow people to enjoy the outdoors without experiencing allergy symptoms. Allergy medications can also include corticosteroids which block inflammation, antihistamines to mitigate immune system responses, and decongestants to help people with allergies breathe more easily. Other treatments for allergy symptoms can include nasal sprays to clear the nose and skin creams to resolve breakouts caused by allergies.

There is no single allergy medicine that will work for all types of allergic reactions.
There is no single allergy medicine that will work for all types of allergic reactions.

For extreme allergies, patients may be prescribed an epi pen, a syringe of epinephrine which can be injected by the patient if he or she is exposed to an allergen. Other treatments for allergies include allergy shots and desensitization, which are designed to reduce a patient's sensitivity to allergens over time so that he or she will not react to them. Allergy shots are not available for all allergens, but when they are an option for a patient, they can radically improve quality of life.

Prescription medication can block the mechanisms that cause hay fever symptoms.
Prescription medication can block the mechanisms that cause hay fever symptoms.

Avoidance is another treatment for allergies. If an allergen can be easily avoided, avoidance is often the most cost-effective method of managing allergies, as the patient will not require treatment if he or she is not exposed to the allergen. Treatments for allergies can also include a number of natural remedies which are designed to reduce symptoms. Natural treatments for allergies should be carefully evaluated before they are used, and it is a good idea to consult a doctor before starting a natural allergy treatment regimen, adding natural treatments to conventional medications, or ceasing the use of conventional medications to focus on a natural treatment plan for allergies.

A variety of over the counter and prescription medications are available for those suffering from allergies.
A variety of over the counter and prescription medications are available for those suffering from allergies.

When considering treatments for allergies, patients may want to ask their doctors about the long term costs of the treatment, the common side effects, and the effectiveness of the treatment. They should also consider issues like potential drug interactions, and the overall improvement in quality of life which will occur on allergy medication. For example, if a medication allows someone to be outdoors during hay fever season but it makes the patient very tired, the patient may feel that this is not an acceptable tradeoff.

Anti-itching creams can bring temporary relief for skin-related allergy symptoms.
Anti-itching creams can bring temporary relief for skin-related allergy symptoms.
Rest can help with allergies.
Rest can help with allergies.
Some outdoor allergies, such as pollen allergies, can cause a runny nose, sore throat and itchy eyes.
Some outdoor allergies, such as pollen allergies, can cause a runny nose, sore throat and itchy eyes.
Some people with allergies use an epi-pen to manage allergic reactions quickly.
Some people with allergies use an epi-pen to manage allergic reactions quickly.
Using a lint roller on clothes and other surfaces to pick up dust can help with allergies.
Using a lint roller on clothes and other surfaces to pick up dust can help with allergies.
A severe allergic attack may require a breathing treatment.
A severe allergic attack may require a breathing treatment.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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