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The expression allergy refers to an inappropriate immune system reaction to various, and usually harmless, substances from our surroundings – allergens. With regard to the causes and affected organ systems we differentiate skin allergies, medicine and vaccine allergies, insect sting allergies, food allergies, and the most common, respiratory allergies. They manifest in the upper respiratory tract (nose and sinuses) as well as the lower parts (bronchi and lungs), and quite commonly on both levels as well as the skin. For most allergic reaction symptoms, the substance responsible is called histamine which causes tissue inflammation reaction which results in unpleasant symptoms like itching, nose runs, redness, eye watering, skin reactions…


In clinical terms, allergies can manifest as allergic conjunctivitis, rhinitis, rhinosinisitis, pharynx edema, nettle rash and skin allergies, allergic bronchitis and bronchospasm.


The most severe form of allergic reactions which begins in as little as a couple of minutes and progresses quickly is anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock. The clinical picture manifests in low blood pressure, suffocation (bronchospasm), respiratory tract mucous membrane swelling and, finally, lung edema. Even though any allergen can cause anaphylactic shock, the usual causes are insect stings, some foods (clamshells and walnuts) and certain medicine injection.


Allergy treatment/relief

Modern medicine invests significant efforts in finding the right cure for allergies. It is only after the allergy is confirmed that it can be treated or relieved.

Allergies are increasingly more frequent and the number of people reporting problems to doctors is bigger and bigger.

Key parameters for successful allergy symptom treatment and relief are:

  • Patient education
  • Avoiding allergens
  • Adequate medicine therapy
  • Immunotherapy

Medicines which can help remove the symptoms of allergic rhinitis belong to these groups:

  • Antihistamines
  • Corticosteroids
  • Decongestants

Antihistamines are the most prescribed allergic rhinitis symptom treatment medicines. They are usually prescribed in the form of pills (loratadin, feksofenadin, cetrizin, difenhidramin) or syrup (for children). Modern antihistamines are reliable and safe medicines which effectively relieve most allergy symptoms in mild cases of disease, especially if used in a timely manner.


Intranasal corticosteroids found in nose sprays (flutikazon, mometazon, budezonid and beklometazon) are anti-inflammation medicines which will effectively remove or relieve the symptoms and for their efficiency and harmlessness, the proper use, as explained by your pharmacist, is of vital importance. Their full effect is usually achieved within a couple of days after first use.

Local corticosteroids are prescribed if antihistamine treatment failed to eradicate the symptoms, in more severe instances of the disease. They are prescribed by the doctor and dispensed on prescription only. Only in extreme cases, in extremely severe forms of disease, are corticosteroids given short-term and systematically in the form of pills or intramuscular injections.


Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are using any antifungal or antiviral medicines before nasal corticosteroid use.


Decongestants (“nose drops” – naphazoline, oxymetazoline, tetrahydrozoline) are medicines which act on the blood vessels of nasal membranes and reduce congestion and watery trickle. Patients with allergic rhinitis often use them excessively or unnecessarily which may lead to serious nasal membrane damage. A short-term use of decongestants is the only one recommended (no longer than 5-7 days).


Immunotherapy or hyposensibilization is a form of allergic diseases treatment using allergen vaccines. This means the use of small and increasing allergens concentrations to stimulate tolerance and resilience against that allergen. The patients who undergo immunotherapy successfully will never be affected by that allergen again, or will have a much milder reaction than before.


In addition to medicines and immunotherapy, there are other simple and harmless methods of allergy symptoms relief which can be implemented by anyone suffering from allergies with the help of the pharmacist.


Frequent and plentiful rinsing of the nasal membranes using physiological saline or small amounts of sea salt dissolved in water flushes the allergens from the nasal pathways and reduces the symptoms of allergic reactions.

Highly concentrated vitamin C products proved effective in allergy symptoms treatment in clinical trials. Vitamin C reduces histamine levels in the body and reduces membrane permissibility which results in reduced swelling. With vitamin C, calcium is recommended because it contributes allergic reaction soothing. Calcium and vitamin C represent a harmless combination which helps with allergies, hoarseness and respiratory system inflammation. Caution is recommended to persons suffering from stomach ailments e.g. stomach ulcer or gastritis and in those cases, vitamin C should be used in its esterified, non-acidic form. Vitamin C should be segregated by time of use if you are on tetracycline antibiotics (2 hours before or 4 hours after).

In addition to the listed allergy symptoms treatments recommended by allopathic (classic) medicine, allergy symptom relief and treatment can be done using homeopathic medicines (remedies) as well. In that case, you should differentiate symptom and disease treatment.

In pharmacies, combined homeopathic products for allergy and allergic rhinitis symptoms treatment are available. Their advantage over classic (allopathic) medicines is the harmlessness and lack of side effects which makes them appropriate to all groups of patients (including pregnant women and small children). Homeopathic treatment of allergies is done using the, so called, “constitutive therapy” which can be prescribed exclusively by a doctor – homoeopath based on the physical, emotional and psychological state of the patient. It is important to notice that the constitutive therapy is patient specific, not disease.


Can allergies simply disappear?

Due to the nature of the disease, i.e. the antibody production reaction of the organism caused by the allergen, the information remains forever. If the organism avoids exposure over long periods of time, the antibodies can disappear. New contact with the same allergen may have different clinical intensity, but it will not simply go away. Therefore, the only prevention is the permanent evasion of allergens. On the other hand, sometimes insufficiently precise diagnoses are given and wrong allergens are “blamed”, especially in cases of some medicines, when the pseudo-allergic reaction is attributed to allergies.


Are allergies preventable?

The first step in allergy treatment is avoiding the allergen to which the person is sensitive. A good prevention measure is the strengthening of the immune system and the use of appropriate dietary supplements according to doctor recommendation.


For successful evasion of seasonal allergens (pollen) we recommend:

Avoid stay and physical activity in areas of lush vegetation in times of high pollen concentration in the air (morning hours)
Avoid drying and aeration of clothes and bedding in the air
The living quarters should be aired briefly, during afternoons or via well maintained air-conditioning units.

Persons susceptible to allergies all year long should:

Reduce the house dust concentration in living quarters by removing upholstered furniture, decorative pillows, rugs and curtains
Maintain the living quarters daily (vacuum clean, wipe…)
Replace feather pillows quills with another newer type (less than 5 years old)
Avoid furry or feathery pets contact. Eventually, keep them outside or maintain their hygiene with regular baths to remove allergens.
In cases of food allergy, remove he hyper allergenic foods from your diet (milk, eggs, wheat, nuts) and read the labels carefully to avoid additive-containing foods.

Everything listed yields one conclusion: we can fight allergies with changes to the diet, changes to the living quarter’s hygiene, evasion of pollen from the air, allopathic and homeopathic medicines. Your pharmacist will be happy to help you find the right way for you.


The difference between the symptoms of cold and allergic rhinitis

Fever No moguće
Headache No moguće
Nose discharge Nose dischargeWatery, clear Clear in the beginning, yellowish afterward and thick in cases of bacterial super infection
Earache No Possible
Sneezing Frequent, doesn’t provide relief Possible, provides relief
Watery eyes Yes No
Itching and scratching in throat and eyes Yes No