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Allergies health centre

4 reasons your allergies aren't improving

WebMD Medical Reference
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Do you have allergies that don't seem to get better, no matter what you do? Check out these four common reasons why allergies don't improve - and what to do about it. Taking care in these four areas may go a long way towards reducing allergy symptoms of all kinds.

1. Cutting corners

Non-adherence - that is, not doing all you can, all the time, to control your allergies - is one major reason for continuing to have allergy symptoms.

These might include having a pet allergy but still being around animals that trigger symptoms, or jogging outside on a day with high pollen counts when you have hayfever.

If you've got a pet allergy and are keeping your pet, keep the animal off the bed and furniture. If you have a food allergy, avoid that food all the time. Allergies do not have days off for special occasions.

2. Medication mistakes

A big mistake people make with their allergy medication is simply forgetting to take it.

If you have problems remembering, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about lining up medication times with mealtimes, for example, to create an easy to remember routine.

If you have a smart phone, set timed diary reminders.

Taking medication correctly is another challenge. And even little mistakes can make a difference.

If some nasal sprays are used incorrectly or sprayed at the wrong angle, they are less effective.

Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about correct administration techniques.

Remember which treatments have to be taken daily, and which are needed for specific triggers, like visiting a friend who has a cat.

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 or pharmacist exactly how you are using it and what you're experiencing.

3. Wrong diagnosis

Getting a correct diagnosis also plays a big role in keeping allergy symptoms at bay.

Some people may try to self-diagnose symptoms of allergies and sinus headaches, but they don't always get it right. Maybe you're sure it's an allergy, but it's not. Maybe you think you've got a sinus infection, but you really have an allergy.

If your diagnosis is wrong, your treatment may be wrong too. For instance, if you actually have a tension headache, using an antihistamine won't help it.

If you have allergic symptoms or suspect you have an allergy, seek medical advice to find out if it really is an allergy.

4. Other conditions

You might have another medical condition that limits your treatment options. Someone with high blood pressure, for instance, may not be able to take a decongestant and may need a different medication.

Medications you're taking to treat other conditions may also be culprits. Someone may be taking a medication for enlarged prostate that can worsen symptoms caused by allergy and make allergy medication less useful.

Treatment isn't one-size-fits-all. Doctors have to look at each individual's case and focus treatment accordingly, and finding the right treatment may take some time.

Allergy patients often have to use a multi-pronged approach for treating their allergies.

Reviewed on May 16, 2017

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