About 30% of Irish allergy patients don’t see a doctor, study finds
A new campaign from allergy specialists ALK calls on people who regularly experience allergy symptoms that they cannot control with their current medications to seek medical attention and reconsider their diagnosis.
Research from the Asthma Society of Ireland shows that around 30% of patients had not sought the advice of a doctor or healthcare professional about their allergies. This can cause patients to face unnecessary difficulties and discomfort.
As part of the campaign, general practitioner and expert in respiratory health Doctor Dermot Nolan explained that testing is an integral part of solving any allergy-related problem.
“It confirms, generally, what we suspect in the story,” he says, in a video posted by ALK. “It’s often very helpful, especially when we’re asking patients to make lifestyle changes.”
Treatments are usually antihistamine tablets and nasal sprays. But in recent years, he and his colleagues have begun to realize the importance of immunotherapy.
“This involves, usually over a three-year period, putting a dissolvable tablet of the offending allergen under the tongue every day,” says Dr. Nolan.
Tree pollen usually causes problems for patients between March and May, while grass pollen appears as a problem from May to August. Meanwhile, dust mite allergies are problematic year-round, but more common during the winter months.
James, 22, was born with an egg allergy and later diagnosed with asthma. He also inherited hay fever from his father. “I would end up getting sick, I felt it, from the autumn period until winter,” he says.
James remembers a period of about nine months during his teenage years when one of his nostrils was completely blocked. The cause later turned out to be polyps, which he then had to remove.
“I ended up going to an allergy clinic. I had discovered that I had these allergies and how badly I had them as well,” he adds.
After being tested, he was given various medications to deal with his condition, which helped him to varying degrees. Later, he discovers immune treatments. They greatly improved his condition, and now he says allergies are no longer a major concern.
“As these months approach…I see things improving. I joined a soccer team. It was the first time since I was seven or eight that I could do that again. It’s great that it’s not something I have to worry about anymore.