The symptoms are unmistakable: a scratchy throat, a runny or stuffed-up nose, itchy eyes. Allergies have struck! When you feel yourself descending into another valley of allergic misery, your first instinct might be to reach for an antihistamine or decongestant. Those medications are helpful for short bursts of seasonal symptoms, but they present a couple of significant drawbacks:
They don’t fix the allergy. Allergy drugs control symptoms, but they don’t address the underlying allergy. That’s why you have to keep taking them season after season.
They may cause side effects. Medications are made of chemicals that are intended to enhance certain processes in your body that may not be working as they should. If science could restrict those chemicals to their intended use, medicine would not have so many side effects. Unfortunately, however, the chemicals end up affecting multiple body processes. That’s why a decongestant might clear up your sinuses but will also make your heart race. It’s also the reason that prednisone might turn off inflammation but wear down your bones in the process.
Though side effects vary depending on the specific type of medication and the length of time that you take it for, here’s a look at some symptoms that may be associated with the most common kinds of allergy drugs.
- Dry mouth
- Heart palpitations
- Fast heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Rebound congestion
*The FDA does not recommend antihistamines or decongestants for young children.
- Increase in appetite
- Weight gain
- Fluid retention
- Irritability or anxiousness
- Increased vulnerability to infection
- Skin thinning
- Muscle weakness
Every person’s body is different, so medications that may cause no side effects for one person may be unbearable for another. Sometimes it’s just a matter of trying different medications to see what agrees with your body.
Immunotherapy: a natural solution
Patients looking for a more natural, long-term solution to allergy treatment should consider immunotherapy. Immunotherapy must be prescribed by a physician, but it rarely causes side effects because of its natural ingredients.
Immunotherapy starts with an “allergy serum,” which is a saline solution containing natural extracts of common allergens (pollen, pet dander, mold, etc.) When the body is exposed to gradually increasing doses of these allergen extracts, it begins to develop immunity to them (the same concept behind immunizations). Over time, the serum can “teach” your body to stop overreacting to these allergens when it encounters them in the environment. Immunotherapy is the only treatment capable of altering the allergy itself, not just its symptoms.
Immunotherapy can be delivered through allergy shots or under-the-tongue allergy drops (sublingual immunotherapy). Though shots used to be the administration method of choice, many people are now opting for allergy drops because they are simple, painless, and can be administered at home. Contact AllergyEasy to learn about our turnkey allergy treatment program. We can help your doctor prescribe sublingual immunotherapy for a natural, lasting solution to allergies.