How to get rid of allergies: Treatment, prevention, and causes (2022)

Allergies are common, particularly in children. Some allergies tend to disappear as a person ages, but many are lifelong.

In the United States, allergies are the sixth leading reason for chronic illness, with more than 50 million people experiencing various allergies each year.

Symptoms of allergies may interfere with a person’s daily tasks and reduce their quality of life.

In this article, we examine whether people can get rid of allergies. We also look at prevention strategies and possible ways to manage allergies.

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There is currently no cure for allergies. However, researchers continue to investigate potential therapies.

People can treat their allergy symptoms with medications and take steps to reduce their exposure to the allergen causing the reaction.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is not a cure for allergies but a disease-modifying treatment. It may help reduce a person’s sensitivity or allergic response to allergens.

A doctor may recommend immunotherapy if:

  • medications are not controlling allergy symptoms
  • a person is unable to avoid allergens
  • allergy medicines are interacting with a person’s other medications
  • a patient does not like taking medications

Some people no longer have significant allergic reactions to allergens following years of immunotherapy. Others may require ongoing immunotherapy to manage their symptoms.

Immunotherapy is available as allergy shots (SCIT- subcutaneous immunotherapy) or sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is also available for peanut allergies.

Allergy shots

Allergy shots involve having exposure to increasing doses of an allergen by injection over several years. Over this time a person becomes less sensitive to the allergen and reacts to it less severely.

Allergy shots help control symptoms of allergies to:

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  • pollen
  • dust mites
  • pet dander
  • molds
  • bees
  • other stinging insects

SLIT

SLIT involves small doses of an allergen that a person takes in tablet or drop form under the tongue to improve tolerance to an allergen and reduce symptoms. It is commercially available for allergies to dust mites, grass pollen, and ragweed.

OIT

Peanut allergen powder (Palforzia) is currently the only OIT with approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Palforzia may reduce severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, occurring with accidental exposure to peanuts in children ages 4–17.

Some people may outgrow allergies, especially allergies developed during early childhood. Whether someone’s allergy will disappear as they get older depends on what they are allergic to and the severity of the allergy.

Several studies suggest some food allergies may go away.

Around 85% of children outgrow allergies to:

  • milk
  • eggs
  • wheat
  • soy

However, only 15–20% of children may eventually tolerate allergies to:

  • peanuts
  • tree nuts
  • shellfish
  • fish

One study also indicates that most children with an allergy to insect stings may not have allergic reactions into adulthood.

Some people report that other allergies, such as pollen and pet dander allergies, become less severe as they age.

Experts suggest that, with exposure to small amounts of an allergen over time, a person may develop tolerance. This is similar to the way vaccines or allergy shots work.

Although most allergies begin in childhood, they can develop at any time of life. Adults may also develop an allergy to something that did not previously affect them.

Causes of allergies

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Allergies occur when the immune system mistakes a harmless substance, such as pollen, for an invader.

The immune system overreacts to the substance, which is also known as an allergen, by producing antibodies. The antibodies then travel to cells that release the chemical histamine when triggered, which causes an allergic reaction.

The process in the body is complex, and it results in the allergy symptoms a person experiences as allergies.

People with allergies experience many nasal passage, lung, and skin symptoms. Treatments for allergy symptoms include:

Antihistamines

Antihistamines block the effects of histamine in the body. Examples of oral antihistamines include:

  • loratadine (Claritin)
  • cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • fexofenadine (Allegra)
  • levocetirizine (Xyzal)

Antihistamines can help alleviate allergy symptoms, such as:

  • itchy, watery eyes
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • sneezing
  • hives

Antihistamines may also prevent these symptoms from occurring if people take them before coming into contact with an allergen.

Most oral antihistamines are now available over the counter (OTC). Nasal antihistamine sprays are available by prescription.

Nasal corticosteroids

Steroid nasal sprays, also known as nasal corticosteroids, are nose sprays that reduce swelling in the nasal passages.

Examples of OTC nasal corticosteroids include:

  • fluticasone nasal (Flonase)
  • triamcinolone nasal (Nasacort Allergy 24HR)
  • budesonide nasal (Rhinocort Allergy)

Nasal corticosteroids relieve symptoms such as:

  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • stuffy nose
  • itchy, watery eyes

Doctors can also prescribe other corticosteroid nasal sprays, such as beclometasone (Beconase).

Decongestants

Decongestants are medications that provide short-term relief from a stuffy nose. They reduce inflammation in the nose’s blood vessels, which helps the airways open and relieve congestion.

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Common OTC oral decongestants include oxymetazoline nasal (Vicks Sinex) and phenylephrine (Sudafed PE). Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) may be available behind the pharmacy counter or by prescription.

Mast cell stabilizers

Mast cell stabilizers, such as cromolyn sodium (NasalCrom), prevent the release of chemicals that cause inflammation, including histamine and leukotrienes.

This prevents allergy symptoms from occurring, such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.

Oral corticosteroids

A doctor may prescribe an oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone, for severe allergy symptoms. Oral corticosteroids reduce inflammation and prevent severe allergic reactions.

A doctor will monitor a person taking oral corticosteroids because the medication may cause severe side effects.

Topical corticosteroids

Topical corticosteroids, such as hydrocortisone, reduce skin inflammation and irritation. They are available OTC and with a prescription as creams, gels, and lotions.

Epinephrine

Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. During anaphylaxis, a person may experience constriction of the airways and swelling of the throat. Blood vessels may also expand, which can cause a severe drop in blood pressure.

Doctors prescribe an injection-based medication called epinephrine to prevent anaphylaxis from becoming life-threatening in people with potentially severe allergies. Epinephrine is more commonly known as adrenaline.

Epinephrine improves breathing and contracts blood vessels to continue supplying the heart and brain with blood.

If a person thinks they are having an anaphylactic reaction, they should use their self-injectable epinephrine and call 911.

The most important step a person can take to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid the allergen that triggers their allergy.

Avoiding allergens is not always practical or possible — for example, if a person is allergic to their pet’s dander or is a gardener with a pollen allergy. In these cases, a doctor can help prepare an allergy management plan to reduce allergen contact and manage symptoms with medicines.

If someone is unclear on the cause of an allergy, they may find it helpful to keep a diary. Keeping track of their whereabouts, actions, and diet can help a person identify what triggers or worsens their symptoms.

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A person should consult their doctor or an allergist if they experience persistent allergy symptoms that do not ease with OTC treatments or that interfere with carrying out their daily tasks.

An allergist is a doctor that specializes in treating allergies.

If someone experiences symptoms of anaphylaxis, they should inject themselves with epinephrine and immediately call 911.

Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • difficulty breathing, such as fast or shallow breath
  • wheezing
  • rapid heartbeat
  • anxiety or confusion
  • low blood pressure
  • feeling lightheaded or faint
  • losing consciousness

If a person has previously had a severe allergic reaction, they should wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace. These can let other people know how to help if they have a severe allergic reaction and cannot communicate.

There is currently no cure for allergies. However, there are OTC and prescription medications that may relieve symptoms.

Avoiding allergy triggers or reducing contact with them can help prevent allergic reactions. Over time, immunotherapy may reduce the severity of allergic reactions.

Some people may outgrow an allergy, or it may become less severe as a person ages.

If a person experiences a severe allergic reaction, they should get help from a healthcare professional immediately.

FAQs

How do you treat and prevent allergies? ›

Preventing Allergic Reactions and Controlling Allergies
  1. Avoid your allergens. ...
  2. Take your medicines as prescribed. ...
  3. If you are at risk for anaphylaxis, keep your epinephrine auto-injectors with you at all times. ...
  4. Keep a diary. ...
  5. Wear a medical alert bracelet (or necklace). ...
  6. Know what to do during an allergic reaction.

How do you get rid of allergies? ›

There is currently no cure for allergies. However, there are OTC and prescription medications that may relieve symptoms. Avoiding allergy triggers or reducing contact with them can help prevent allergic reactions. Over time, immunotherapy may reduce the severity of allergic reactions.

How do you get rid of allergies naturally? ›

12 Natural Ways to Defeat Allergies
  1. Shut Out Breezes. 1/12. It's a gorgeous day. ...
  2. Consider Alternative Treatments. 2/12. Butterbur is one of the most promising and well-researched. ...
  3. Wash Up. 3/12. ...
  4. Wear a Mask. 4/12. ...
  5. Eat Healthy. 5/12. ...
  6. Rinse It Out. 6/12. ...
  7. Drink More. 7/12. ...
  8. Go Natural. 8/12.
18 Feb 2021

What are three ways to treat allergies? ›

Good allergy treatment is based on your medical history, the results of your allergy tests and how severe your symptoms are. It can include three treatment types: avoiding allergens, medicine options and/or immunotherapy (allergens given as a shot or placed under the tongue).

What causes allergy? ›

Causes
  • Airborne allergens, such as pollen, animal dander, dust mites and mold.
  • Certain foods, particularly peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs and milk.
  • Insect stings, such as from a bee or wasp.
  • Medications, particularly penicillin or penicillin-based antibiotics.
5 Aug 2022

How can I prevent allergies at home? ›

To remove allergy-triggering insect and mouse residue, thoroughly vacuum carpeting and wash hard surfaces. To prevent re-infestation, seal cracks or other possible entryways. Mold. Close doors and windows during warm weather and use air conditioning and dehumidifiers.

Can allergies get cured? ›

Can Allergies Be Cured? You can't cure allergies, but you can treat and control the symptoms. It may take a little work. You'll need to make a few changes to your surroundings or figure out how to stay away from things that trigger allergy attacks.

What foods help with allergies? ›

Five Allergy Super Foods
  • Tropical Fruits. High in Vitamin C and bromelain—a chemical that can help relieve asthma.
  • Fatty Fishes. Full of omega-3 fatty acids that have been proven to greatly lessen allergy symptoms.
  • Onions. ...
  • Local Honey. ...
  • Yogurt.
6 May 2016

How long can allergies last? ›

Allergies occur at the same time every year and last as long as the allergen is in the air (usually 2-3 weeks per allergen). Allergies cause itching of the nose and eyes along with other nasal symptoms. Colds last about one week and have less itching of the nose and eyes.

How can I beat allergies fast? ›

5 Ways to Beat Spring Allergies
  1. Limit your time outdoors. Each spring, trees release billions of tiny pollen grains into the air. ...
  2. Take allergy medicine. It can help adults and children with sniffles and a runny nose, Kim says. ...
  3. Protect yourself early on. ...
  4. Get natural relief. ...
  5. Tweak your home.
27 Oct 2015

What herb is good for allergy? ›

Herbs are a Great Natural Remedy for Allergies
  • Goldenrod. Goldenrod has three very promising words often associated with it, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antihistamine. ...
  • Butterbur. ...
  • Horseradish or Wasabi. ...
  • Mullein Leaf. ...
  • Stinging Nettle Leaf. ...
  • Rosemary.
5 Mar 2019

Is honey good for allergies? ›

Honey has been anecdotally reported to lessen symptoms in people with seasonal allergies. But these results haven't been consistently duplicated in clinical studies. The idea isn't so far-fetched, though. Honey has been studied as a cough suppressant and may have anti-inflammatory effects.

What are the 7 allergy symptoms? ›

Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
  • Itchy, watery eyes.
  • Itchy nose.
  • Sneezing.
  • Runny nose.
  • Rashes.
  • Hives (a rash with raised red patches)
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Vomiting.

Why do I get allergies at night? ›

One of the biggest causes of nighttime allergies is dust mites - microscopic, spider-like bugs that feed on exfoliated human skin cells. These critters can be found in mattresses, pillows, bed linens, carpets and upholstered furniture.

Can drinking water help allergies? ›

Be sure you're drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated during allergy season. "Studies have shown that when you're dehydrated your body produces higher histamine levels and that drives allergies," Ogden said.

How can I prevent allergies without medication? ›

9 ways to ease allergies without medicine
  1. Limit your time outdoors. ...
  2. Use air conditioning both in the car and in your home. ...
  3. Shower in the evening to wash the pollen off before bedtime. ...
  4. Use a saline rinse to clear pollen from nasal passages. ...
  5. Keep pets out of your bedroom if they have been outdoors.
15 May 2018

Are allergies for life? ›

Can allergies go away with time? The short answer is yes. Even if you develop allergies as an adult, you may notice they start to fade again when you reach your 50s and beyond. This is because your immune function is reduced as you get older, so the immune response to allergens also becomes less severe.

Do allergies increase with age? ›

With increasing age, numerous underlying physiological changes occur, and the risk of chronic diseases rises. At the same time allergy is increasing worldwide, and 5-10% of allergies is affecting elderly people.

Do allergies go away with age? ›

Most people with allergies first develop them as children or infants. But as they age, some individuals seem to leave their hay fever, pet allergies or even food allergies behind. Doctors don't know exactly why, but people's allergies actually can disappear over time.

Which juice is good for allergy? ›

Vitamin C can cut down on histamines, the chemicals in the body that cause many allergy symptoms like sneezing and runny nose. You can get it from lots of foods, namely citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits and their juices.

Is milk good for allergies? ›

The GABRIELA study found that raw milk consumption is associated with significantly lower rates of allergies and asthma, and that this beneficial effect is independent of other farm exposures.

What vitamins help fight allergies? ›

Vitamin C boosts the immune system. It also acts as a natural antihistamine. According to a 2018 study on vitamin C in the treatment of allergies, oxidative stress plays a key role in allergic diseases. As vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it may act as a treatment for allergies.

Why my allergy is not going away? ›

Unknown Triggers

It is possible that you are not entirely sure what is triggering your allergy symptoms, which is why they are not going away. Allergy triggers include pollen, molds, animal dander, and food.

Can allergies be cured forever? ›

Can allergies be cured? Allergies can't be cured, but symptoms can be controlled using a combination of avoidance measures and medications, as well as allergen immunotherapy in properly selected cases.

Can allergies make you sick? ›

Yes, allergies and colds have similar symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, or sneezing, which can also make you feel sick. You experience allergy symptoms when your immune system mistakes the environmental intervention and fights harmless particles like pollen or pet dander.

How can I stop my allergy from getting worse? ›

If the person develops an itchy rash, apply cool compresses and an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. Watch the person for signs of increasing distress. Get medical help. For a mild reaction, a health care provider may recommend over-the-counter medicines, such as antihistamines.

How can I stop my allergies from getting worse? ›

You can't avoid the triggers.
  1. Change the filter in your home's heating and cooling systems often.
  2. Keep doors and windows closed.
  3. Stay indoors when it's dry and windy or at the times of day when pollen counts are highest.
  4. Run the air conditioning in your car and at home.
  5. Try a dehumidifier in rooms that get swampy.
24 Jan 2022

Does vitamin C help with allergies? ›

Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine by reducing the amount of histamine your body produces in response to an allergen. It might help reduce mild symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and watery eyes due to allergic rhinitis.

Can spicy food help allergies? ›

In addition to adding loads of flavor to meals, spicy foods like onions, garlic, horseradish, chili peppers, and ginger are your allies in the battle against allergies. These foods are anti-inflammatory, calming the body's overreaction to allergens.

Is allergy due to low immunity? ›

Allergies are the result of your immune system's response to a substance. Immune responses can be mild, from coughing and a runny nose, to a life-threatening reaction know as anaphylaxis. A person becomes allergic when their body develops antigens against a substance.

How do allergies work? ›

Your immune system overreacts by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. This reaction usually causes symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or on the skin.

How much honey does it take to get rid of allergies? ›

To take honey for allergies, start by taking 1 teaspoon of local, unpasteurized honey once a day. You may slowly increase the amount of honey every other day. Do this until you eat 1 tablespoon of honey per 50 lbs of your weight. You can divide the dose throughout the day as desired through the allergy season.

Can we prevent allergies? ›

The only way to prevent a food allergy reaction is to completely avoid the food and any product that may contain it as an ingredient. Food intolerance does not trigger the immune system and is not life threatening or the same as a food allergy, although it may share similar symptoms like diarrhea and stomach pain.

Can you prevent allergies from developing? ›

It is therefore absolutely possible for (soon-to-be) parents to take measures to protect their children from allergies. This is especially important for at-risk children with a parent or a sibling who already suffers from hay fever, atopic dermatitis or asthma.

How can I prevent allergies without medication? ›

9 ways to ease allergies without medicine
  1. Limit your time outdoors. ...
  2. Use air conditioning both in the car and in your home. ...
  3. Shower in the evening to wash the pollen off before bedtime. ...
  4. Use a saline rinse to clear pollen from nasal passages. ...
  5. Keep pets out of your bedroom if they have been outdoors.
15 May 2018

Can you be allergic to sugar? ›

A true allergy to sugar is possible in theory but extremely rare. Some people experience allergy-like symptoms when consuming sugar. However, it is more likely a sugar intolerance than an allergy. In addition, eating too much sugar can weaken your immune system and worsen environmental allergies like pollen or dust.

What happens if I ignore my allergies? ›

Untreated allergies can get worse, with more severe allergy attacks occurring over time. These frequent or prolonged allergic reactions can also weaken your immune system and set you up for dangerous complications, such as bacterial or fungal infections in the sinuses, lungs, ears or skin.

How do I know my allergies? ›

Check if it's an allergy
  1. a runny nose or sneezing.
  2. pain or tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead.
  3. coughing, wheezing or breathlessness.
  4. itchy skin or a raised rash (hives)
  5. diarrhoea.
  6. feeling or being sick.
  7. swollen eyes, lips, mouth or throat.

Do allergies get worse with age? ›

Allergies may simply worsen with age because you've been exposed to the triggers longer, Parikh says. "It takes repeated exposure to develop allergies. It can take a while for the immune system to decide it doesn't like that allergen."

How can I beat allergies fast? ›

5 Ways to Beat Spring Allergies
  1. Limit your time outdoors. Each spring, trees release billions of tiny pollen grains into the air. ...
  2. Take allergy medicine. It can help adults and children with sniffles and a runny nose, Kim says. ...
  3. Protect yourself early on. ...
  4. Get natural relief. ...
  5. Tweak your home.
27 Oct 2015

How long can allergies last? ›

Allergies occur at the same time every year and last as long as the allergen is in the air (usually 2-3 weeks per allergen). Allergies cause itching of the nose and eyes along with other nasal symptoms. Colds last about one week and have less itching of the nose and eyes.

Can allergy go without treatment? ›

While there is no 100% no-side-effect cure for allergy season, there are activities, natural supplements, and basic lifestyle changes that can dramatically reduce your allergy symptoms without resorting to medication.

Videos

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5. How to Cure Dust Allergies through Yoga | Dr. Hansaji Yogendra
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