4 Reasons Your Allergies Aren't Improving
Hounded by allergies? Find out what the problem might be.
Reason #2: Medication Mistakes continued...
The fix: Take all medicines exactly as directed. Some must be taken
daily or they aren't effective. Others should be used regularly when exposure
to an allergen becomes chronic, like visiting a relative with a cat, and
allergy shots must be received as scheduled.
Read the directions carefully before use. If a medication doesn't work like
it is supposed to, or if you're experiencing side effects, tell your doctor
exactly how you are using it and what you're experiencing. Also, make sure you
can tolerate the results and have appropriate expectations. Some patients will
take an intranasal steroid for two or three days, get no relief, and stop usage
even though it may take up to two weeks to reduce symptoms, Zitt says.
If cost keeps you from taking your medicine promptly, talk with your doctor
about it. Samples, lower-cost medications, and sticking with the drugs covered
by your insurance may help.
Reason #3: Botched Diagnosis
Getting a correct diagnosis also plays a big role in keeping allergy
symptoms at bay.
Patients often try to self-diagnose when it comes to things like allergies
and sinus headaches, but they don't always get it right. Maybe you're sure it's
an allergy, and it's not. Or maybe you think you've got a sinus infection, but
you really have an allergy.
If your diagnosis is wrong, your treatment may be all wrong. For instance,
if you actually have a tension headache, using an antihistamine won't improve
the situation, says Corinna Bowser, MD, an allergist in Narberth, Pa.
The fix: If you have allergic symptoms or suspect you have an
allergy, consult a doctor to find out if it really is an allergy.
Reason # 4: Physical Issues
You might have another medical condition that limits your treatment options.
Someone with high blood pressure, for instance, couldn't take a decongestant
and would have to substitute a medicine that might not work as well, Friedman
Medications you're taking to treat other conditions may also be culprits.
Someone may be taking a drug like Flomax, which can worsen sinus conditions and
make allergy medicine less useful, he says.
People may respond unusually to allergy medications based on their genes.
Their genetics may also make them exhibit different symptoms for allergies than
what are traditional, Zitt says.
The fix: Treatment isn't a one-size-fits-all case. Doctors have to
look at each individual's case and focus treatment accordingly, and finding the
right treatment may take some tinkering.
Allergy patients often have to use a multi-pronged approach for treating
their allergies. It is not always easy and doesn't often happen overnight, but
relief can be found.
"People have to get proper care by a specialist [and] have good
communication and proper compliance," Zitt says. "It should be a team effort
between the physician and patient, with honesty and a willingness to work
together. All of these will increase the likelihood for success."