Respiratory allergies are on the rise and rhinoconjunctivitis and bronchial asthma are the most common allergic symptoms.
The clinical symptoms of respiratory allergies are usually classified into seasonal and perennial, depending on the allergen. Pollens and spores are seasonal, while dust mites and domestic animal derivatives are perennial.
Available treatments for respiratory allergies can be:
Symptomatic treatment uses medications that reduce clinical symptoms, but they quickly reappear when treatment is suspended. Antihistamines, nasal and bronchial corticosteroids and bronchodilators are the most commonly used medications.
Allergen-specific immunotherapy, or the allergy vaccine, is a causal therapy, since it interacts with the immune system acting directly on the cause. In this case, response times are slower but improvement of symptoms continues over time, even after suspension of the treatment.
The two approaches are actually complementary and not mutually exclusive. Specific immunotherapy is the basic treatment assisted by symptomatic medications, if needed.
Immunotherapy consists of the administration, either subcutaneously (by injection) or sublingually (oral), of increasing doses of allergen, with the purpose of accustoming the body to tolerate the allergen.