The tumultuous evolution of allergology has led to very recent discoveries of significant practical importance for the treatment of hay fever, allergic conjunctivitis and asthma.
If at first link between allergies and food was only seen as marginal, the specialized scientific literature is focusing more and more attention on food-related inflammation as one of the most important components of allergic reactivity.
The rise in temperature, paralleled by the enhanced advance of spring pollens, suggests the need to refresh everyone’s memory both on the scientific innovations and on practical tools available to interpret and treat the typical spring respiratory conditions.
The indications given in this article are valid, however, even for perennial allergic problems, those lasting throughout the whole year.
A large number of remedies and natural substances are available, able to carry out effectively their therapeutic action. Mineral supplements, herbal medicines with an anti-inflammatory action (Black Currant Oil, Perilla Oil, Turmeric, Quercetin…) able to improve your breathing, homeopathic medicines with a strong antiallergic action, homeopathic compounds, and complex vitamin supplements.
Tools available are numerous and effective, but we should never lose sight of the general meaning of an allergy.
Since only a few years, the belief of allergic people as “unlucky” beings, simply affected by a new disease, has been finally overtaken. Since September 2003, in fact, we know that all human beings may be actually intolerant and allergic to everything, but they do not manifest any disease because they keep a regulatory mechanism for the control of allergies constantly active.
Who becomes allergic is essentially lacking regulation. This is one of the reasons why, for instance, allergic children are often those kids not eating fruits and vegetables, but who improve greatly when these aliments are introduced in their diet.
In a similar way, the use of certain minerals capable of performing a specific immune system rebalancing action can be of extreme help in controlling the allergic symptomatology. In particular, zinc and copper are the mostly active minerals on the immune system.
Among the biggest allergy-related discoveries of the recent years, we should list the one published in the journal Allergy by Jean Bousquet in 2004, stating that the sublingual hypo-sensitizing therapy may be effective also when used during the pollination period.
Such treatment option has been present on this site for years, thanks to the experience gained with the use of low- dose preparations (low dose sublingual hypo-sensitizing therapy), and I am personally glad that academia is finding the use of natural ways more effective (the sublingual treatment prescription, indeed) if compared to subcutaneous injections, which for years have forced patients and physicians to long meeting periods.
Sometimes, two remedies are used simultaneously, as in the case of grass (gramineae) and ragweed allergies, and the treatment should be continued only during the pollination period. In general, it is recommended to start 3-4 weeks before; however, starting simultaneously with the pollination can also lead to considerable therapeutic advantages.
Even someone caught unprepared by the pollen season, either because he is suffering from it for the first time or because he failed thinking about it in the long winter months, will be able to carry out a treatment without relying only to anti-histamines.
The choice will be between the high-dose conventional treatments (usually suggested by hospital-based allergologists) and the low-dose ones such as those we have been offering for years to our patients at SMA – our clinical practice of Milan – through a specific course of treatment.
It is worthwhile to say a few words on the use of low-dose vaccines, already discussed many times on this blog.
These are based on low antigen concentrations, which act on the immune system regulation side, not on its total inhibition. This means that when the pollen amounts are very high, or has changed significantly, our system responds indicating the presence of a greater load, and resulting in symptoms exacerbation. We believe this is the real opportunity to promote a wise and effective use of drugs with a temporary symptomatic action.
In our clinical practice, we usually take advantage of the vaccines provided by the company Anallergo to tackle all respiratory allergies, while those from the company Lofarma to treat systemic nickel reactions (Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome, SNAS).
The easiest way to use the low-dose vaccine is to dilute one drop of the solution in 1 inch of water, to be used to wash the inner mouth walls and then swallow every morning, starting a few weeks before the pollination season and continuing throughout the whole period.
Your GP will decide whether to use a high-dose approach or an alternative route using a low antigen concentration, as the one here described.
When an antihistamines product has already been in use for a long time, it is important to remember that, even if there has been an improvement in the symptoms, these medicines should be carefully reduced, by following the instructions already provided elsewhere on this website.
A practical example
A patient suffering from rhinitis, conjunctivitis and asthma as a main consequence of gramineae pollination should begin taking the hyposensitizing vaccine in the period between February the 15th and March the 15th.
Sometimes, the first contact with the grass pollen present in the vaccine is followed by a subtle nose and eyes tickle, which usually disappears within 3-4 days, a sign of the initial adaptive and tolerance response to pollen generated by the body.
The moment when the first, big load of pollen (that can be consulted online weekly on the pollen bulletin) may be followed by a sharp exacerbation of the symptoms, usually of short duration (1-3 days).
In that case, the integrated use of traditional remedies (1 dose of antihistamine for those accustomed to its use, in case accompanied by the symptomatic use of a nasal spray, such as Nasonex or Aircort, 1 spray per nostril each morning and evening, for the 2-3 days of symptoms exacerbation), of antihistamine eye drops (Livostin, for example) or of some puffs of beta-agonist (such as Ventolin) usually helps going through the acute phase without major problems. All these are preparations usually present in every house of an allergic patient as “standard equipment”.
During this phase, the basic regulative therapy should not be changed. In general, the moments of symptomatic exacerbation occur when:
- The first pollination phase starts;
- The patient travels from an area of initial pollination to one where pollination has already reached advanced stages;
- The patient suddenly meets a highly loaded environment (the typical example being the child who goes on a trip with the school to visit a farm in May, or the child living in a city going on holiday, who gets to play in a barn jumping in the hay).
In these cases, the initial suggestion is to get ready to meet such intense pollen loads by following a natural treatment protocol.
In general, it is extremely useful to use the homeopathic remedy called Histaminum 30 CH. Use it in its granules preparation, at a dose of 3 granules for several times a day. It may be replaced by effective preparations such as Pollensì and Sinalia (from Boiron), which should be taken in doses of 3 granules, twice or more times per day.
In a similar scenario as the abovementioned practical example of the child going on a trip out of town, he/she should be given 3 granules before breakfast and then leave him/her the granules tube so he can take 3 during the trip and also 3 at destination. Usually, this may be sufficient, although in some cases another use after the trip may prove useful.
It is often helpful to accompany the treatment with Blackcurrant oil or Perilla oil (sold in capsules, 2-3 per day), or Ribilla, taking 1 pearl 2-3 times a day. Generally, after the short period of accentuation – usually lasting 1-4 days – the situation becomes normal again, allowing the person to continue peacefully with his basic treatment.
In summary, what it has been here indicated to treat an acute episode may also be helpful both to those who are already following a classic hypo-sensitizing treatment, to those following a low-dose hypo-sensitizing treatment, but also to those not following any kind of treatment and fallen in rather acute critical conditions.
- Maintain the basic treatment (minerals, vaccine, and rotation diet for any food intolerance possibly in progress).
- Increase or start using Blackcurrant oil or Perilla oil, with an average dose ranging between 3 and 6 capsules per day in acute cases.
- Use the remedy Histaminum 30 CH alongside (3 granules, 2 to 5 times a day for those few days of real need).
- Use, if still necessary, and only at this point, the classic symptomatic remedies, strictly only for the time they are really needed. The temporary use of these preparations does not affect the general treatment, but it eases going through those 2-4 days of possible need. We are referring to general antihistamines, nasal sprays or inhalants, eye drops, cortisone-based derivatives and beta stimulants; certainly, we are not suggesting the use of anti-leukotrienes, whose use is not definitely recommended by us.
Usually, at the end of the season, the evaluation of effectiveness between the past use of symptomatic preparations with what used in the season just ended is always more positive (with a reduced use) for the season in which a proper immune regulative therapy has been chosen, and not only from a symptoms’ suppression point of view.