Accept?, Avoid? or Act! – A doctor’s overview of allergies and how to help you and your loved ones
Stuffy or Runny Nose?
Postnasal drip coughing?
Itchy, watery eyes?
Sneezing, feeling tired, irritable and miserable?
Chances are if you or your child has faced any of the above symptoms, you likely are suffering from allergies.
Allergies are becoming more common worldwide. In our urban environments such as Singapore, industrialization and climate change has caused more people to become sensitive to allergens, developing new allergies or even getting worse symptoms from their present allergies.
Besides the persistence of symptoms, the indirect costs of an undiagnosed allergy pile up – medications that do not work, medication side effects, frustration, unable to enjoy a normal day and the list goes on…
In the adverse situation, the allergy may worsen in the “allergic march”. If you or your child’s allergy is not diagnosed and treated, there is a chance the allergy will go from sensitive skin (eczema), sensitive nose (allergic rhinitis) to food allergies to mild lung allergy (bronchial hyper-reactivity) and then to severe lung allergy (asthma).
The symptoms we described above can all be caused by a simple sensitive nose!
According to the World Allergy Organization (WAO)’s white book report, for those with allergies, more than half of adults, as well as 9 in 10 children, suffer from concurrent sleep problems. These sleep problems add up and cause daytime lethargy, tiredness and even decreased cognitive functioning. These further translate into behaviour and inattention problems in children and learning disorders in class.
Targeted and appropriate treatment for allergies prevents the “allergic march”. This can prevent future development of sensitive nose, mild or severe lung allergy, potentially saving families money and time.
Home remedies and medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays all help decrease allergies and their resultant symptoms. But they do not cure the problem. The symptoms often come back after the medications are stopped.
The definitive way of treating allergies is ultimately to target the root cause. And at Dr Tan & Partners (DTAP Clinic), we offer a 2 step solution in identifying the root cause and treating it.
Step 1: Allergy Testing (Skin Prick Testing)
Allergy Testing involves a Skin Prick Test (itchy and painless procedure suitable for young children) or a blood test to determine the nature of the allergy. These allergens can be anything from house dust mites, cat or dog dander, pollen or even food such as eggs, peanuts, seafood!
Read more: How Does Skin Prick Test Work?
Step 2: Allergy Treatment (Sublingual Immunotherapy or SLIT)
Allergy Treatment then involves “priming” the body to stop reacting to the exact cause of the allergy. This treatment is also known as Sublingual Immunotherapy or SLIT. A mix of low dose allergens are created in a spray, this spray is taken once a day under the tongue for 3-5 years. Most patients see an improvement after 6 months and the best effects are usually seen after 4 years.
SLIT is currently produced for and useful for inhalant allergens only. (I.E unfortunately not useful for food allergens yet)
Studies have shown an improvement in symptoms, reduce reliance on medications and the lasting effects many years later even after treatment has stopped.
Overall this is a safe and effective treatment with no life-threatening reactions reported in over 4500 patients treated.
So if you have been nodding your head in agreement with the points I’ve shared in this article or even wonder if you have an allergy, speak to our doctors today to get your allergy questions answered once and for all!
If you wish to speak to our doctors about the above allergy testing and allergy treatment, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also walk-in or call our Holland Village or Raffles Place branches for Skin Prick Testing or Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) Allergy Treatment.