Friday, September 30, 2011

Hay fever

Hay fever is a fairly common problem with one in five people being affected by it, and there's no known cure! Put simply, the grass pollen is the gamete of the grass and is trying to mate with the lining of your nose and eyes: and neither your nose nor eyes are very pleased with the idea and consequently react to the promiscuous pollen!

The problems is that if you suffer from hay fever, then this happens every year and every time your neighbour decides to cut his lawn. So, apart from closing your windows and hoping that you can reduce the volume of pollen trying to inflame your nostrils and irritate your conjunctiva, then you may have to rely on symptom control to make life more comfortable. This would include

  • Nasal steroid sprays
  • Non sedating anti-histamines
  • Very short term nasal decongestants
  • Others such as intra-nasal Cromolyn sprays: Singulair

For those who are looking for longer term solutions for their children, then there is the choice of "Immuno-therpay" in the form of weekly subcutaneous injections or sub-lingual drops for three to five years! And getting little children to have weekly "shots" is a big ask for most parents. 

Sublingual - under the tongue - therapy has been around for a long time and up until now been a weekly treatment, in season and out of season. But there may be some relief to this regime as according to an article in the September issue of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology the therapy may not have to be all year round, at least not after the first year. 

The researcher found that in the first year, continuous therapy was 20% better than the coseasonal therapy - therapy given before and during the hayfever season. In the following years however, both therapies produced similar results. This isn't a cure, but should make life a little more comfortable, less intrusive and less expensive for all concerned. Talk to your treating doctor about it. 

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