Have you ever wondered “Is it just me or is the pollen season getting worse every year?”
It’s not just you, the pollen season is getting worse year on year and there’s little to think the future will be any different. With climate change, different temperatures, and lower lying pollen; pollen counts have exploded and as a result, up to 25% of adults and 10-15% of children are suffering, with often very little understanding from those that don’t have the illness. These days GPs are being encouraged to send patients to the pharmacy to buy over the counter medications and this means that when they don’t work, you’re left thinking there are no options open to you. Many people are turning to an annual Kenalog injection out of sheer desperation. This is a cheap drug; no longer available on the NHS because of the serious risks it brings. Whilst you may feel a whole new person and are not likely to have problems initially (although some get mood disturbances and sleep disturbances), it has many serious long-term consequences. These include diabetes, cataracts, osteoporosis and serious infections. Due to these risks the British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology do not recommend it in the slightest for the treatment of aeroallergens (allergies brought about by things in the environment).
“So now what?” you might be thinking. “Do I just put up with the symptoms and suffer then?”
The answer from me? – a resounding “no”! No one should have to suffer with the severe symptoms of hayfever and seasonal allergies. Even mild symptoms are troublesome but for those that have constant, severe symptoms it will affect your sleep, your concentration, your mood, your life. Did you know that it has been shown that children don’t achieve their full potential at school in exams because of these allergies? Did you know that adults are less productive and miss more days of work? Hayfever is no laughing matter and it is most certainly not a trivial illness. Even if you ‘only’ have grass pollen allergy that’s 3 months out of every year that you’re suffering. If we imagine the average age of developing hayfever to be around 9, and most of us living until at least 70 years; that’s 183 months of suffering – over 15years!!! It is time we as a hayfever suffering population stand up and demand better access to treatment.
Many people who come to see me at Dorset Allergy simply have not been using the correct medications or are using them incorrectly. Did you know, if you put the nasal spray up your nose and sniff hard, you will swallow the drug and it won’t work? Make sure you’re using a nasal spray correctly -see a handy document from the University of Southampton on how to use your sprays correctly How to use a nasal spray – patient information (uhs.nhs.uk)
For some though, regular use of a nasal spray and antihistamine will not be enough. In this case, we have immunotherapy. This is a form of desensitisation that exists. For grass and tree pollen, you can either have this as a series of injections or via a daily tablet. This is given to expose the body to small amounts of the pollen and in time you build up tolerance. The treatment is given for 3 years to ensure long term improvement, but within months, you should start to notice the benefit. We cannot start treatment during the pollen season as it will make things much worse. So get ready now, plan for the future and speak to your doctor or a private service about having immunotherapy. Don’t be the person who has Kenalog every year for 10 years and then develops irreversible consequences.
At Dorset Allergy I can confirm what allergies you have and ensure your treatment is maximised to reduce suffering right now. We can do allergy tests in the form of a skin prick test or blood test. Oral immunotherapy is available at Dorset Allergy for those with grass pollen from the age of 5years. We also offer immunotherapy to tree pollen and house dust mite and for those that might want to consider it, we can even perform immunotherapy for your cat and dog allergies.
If you want to learn more about how to manage your allergies and be fully equipped with as much information as possible, click here to find out about our Hayfever Help Course;
DON’T SUFFER WITH HAYFEVER, come, and see me at Dorset Allergy. Contact us now to arrange either a virtual or face-to-face consultation. I can help anyone, anywhere in the UK.
Dr Helen x
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