There are a range of medications that are used in the treatment of allergy. Many of these medicines are designed to target the area of the body affected by the allergy These include medicines or treatments;
- Applied directly to the affected area (eg topical treatments for the skin)
- Taken by mouth (orally)
- Given by Injection
There are many medicines available that you can apply directly to the affected part of your body to ease the symptoms of allergy, eg eye drops, nasal sprays, skin creams and inhalers depending on what area of the body is affected by your allergy.
Antihistamines are an important group of medicines that work by blocking the effects of an allergic reaction, many of which are due to the chemical histamine (itching, swelling, redness etc). There are different kinds of antihistamines, some can make you sleepy, some can work for the whole day with just one dose. The most commonly used antihistamine is Chlorphenamine, sometimes called Piriton (one of the brand names for it). You can actually buy it over the counter, but children can often get it for free on prescription. It is recommend having the liquid rather than the tablets, because the liquid is easier to swallow if you have any itching or swelling in your mouth.
People who are at high risk of severe allergic reactions may be prescribed an adrenaline preloaded autoinjector pen. The best known one is called the Epipen. Hopefully you will never have to use one of these, because with care you might be able to prevent yourself from having a reaction. On the other hand, if you do have a bad reaction, then an adrenaline autoinjector (eg Epipen) can be life saving so it is important to have it available, and know when to use it, and know how to use it.
There are many cases of people having severe reactions and not using their adrenaline pens even though they had one, which could potentially end in tragedy. If you are ever in doubt about how to use your adrenaline autoinjector, look at our quiz and videos to refresh yourself, or contact your local allergy service to arrange training.