Allergies are classified into six different types: we can differentiate between respiratory, dermatological, pharmaceutical, systemic (or combined), and job-related allergies. The large scope and diversity of symptoms means that each of us is likely to experience some form of allergic reaction at one point in our lives.
What brings it on? Genetic disposition certainly plays a role, however, recent medical research suggests that environmental conditions and lifestyle are the main culprits.
"Changing your lifestyle is unfortunately not a surefire cure for your allergy, although it has been proven beyond doubt that giving up smoking and leading an active, sporty lifestyle mitigate the symptoms noticeably," says Prof. Dr. Kristóf Nékám, allergologist and immunologist at Dr. Rose Private Hospital.
Sometimes the allergic response to pollens or nuts, for example, subsides without treatment. Should the allergy linger on, we had better avoid the allergen altogether. "It is quite demanding of the patient, time consuming and hard on your wallet – take gluten free diet for example – and not always successful," explains professor Nékám.
In more persistent cases one might resort to medicine. "Administering the right medicine when the allergens – pollen, fungus or mite – are present can prove effective, albeit the so called 'therapeutic discipline' of patients always slackens after a few weeks of medication according to clinical research. There is no exception, wherever in the world, whatever the medicine and whoever the group of patients – we get negligent with the course and forget to take the pills," warns about the human factor Dr. Nékám.
Perhaps the most patient-friendly solution is immune therapy – such as pollen extraction administered under the tongue with a drop dispenser – although it usually takes months or even years to take notieceable effect.
"Alternative medicine and naturopathy have their own popular protocols. None the less, their effectiveness is rarely proven by scientific methods," says the expert. "Having said that, some of these alternative methods – the likes of salt chambers, phytotherapy, acupuncture and respiration therapy – may provide effective relief in specific cases. In my experience, it is worth complementing medical treatment with the right naturopathic remedies for the best result." Dr. Nékám points out the importance of prevention. If allergy is obviously running in the family, mothers-to-be are advised to watch their weight gain during pregnancy, especially in the lat trimester. Babies of overweight mothers are most likely to develop asthma in their childhood. The timing of conception and birth is not easy to pinpoint ahead, even with careful family planning. All the same, if you are worried about allergy try to avoid the season with high pollen concentration: between July and September.
Good to know
Honouring his achievements in the field of allergology and immunology, as well as his social activities as the founding chairman of the Hungarian Allergy Association, Professor Nékám has been recently decorated with the Order of Merit Commander's Cross, one of the most prestigious civilian badges awarded by the state in Hungary for outstanding professional endeavors. The entire staff of Dr. Rose Private Hospital is proud to have Dr. Nékám on our team.