The following points highlight the three main types of treatment of allergy. The types are: 1. Sanitation 2. Medication 3. Hyposensitization.
Treatment # 1. Sanitation:
A prerequisite of a successful allergy treatment is that the patient should be well informed of his condition and should be motivated to carry out the suggested sanitary measures and the recommended treatment. Several precautionary measures will help to minimize the source of allergens.
To effect prevention, the following sanitary measures may be adopted:
1) Eradication of generally offending plants and selecting trees for planting properly suited to the climate, but at the same time avoiding those which produce allergic pollen grains.
2) Removal of patients from the place of habit to other places where such offending plants do not grow.
Treatment # 2. Medication:
Several drugs are used to minimize the allergic symptoms. A list of commonly used drugs citing their mode of action and nature are mentioned in Table-10.8.
Treatment # 3. Hyposensitization:
Hyposensitization is a process of increase of clinical tolerance to an allergen which the allergic patient does not tolerate, by introducing increasing amounts of the allergen. Hyposensitization with purified pollen extracts is shown to be clinically effective in a series of double blind studies. Significant improvement was achieved in more than 80% of patients after three to four years’ treatment.
In the initial phase there is an increase in allergen-specific IgE and IgG. In the hyposensitization process these blocking antibodies bind the allergen which ultimately prevent the allergen from reaching the IgE- coated mast cells.
These antibodies also limit the amount of allergens reaching the sensitized lymphocytes that divide to give IgE-producing plasma cells. Eventually the production of antibodies is declined. In general, the higher the dose of allergen the better the effect.
It is now well established fact that some pollen grains are responsible to cause human respiratory allergy. After maturity pollen grains are dispersed by wind or animal vectors to reach the ultimate destination to execute fertilization. The prerequisite for atmospheric pollen studies is a sound knowledge of the ground flora and a well stocked pollen Herbarium.
Primary classification of pollen morphotypes of allergenic plants is to be formulated in the form of pollination calendar and pollen calendar to render identification of airborne pollen grains. The atmospheric pollen grains are generally trapped by volumetric air sampler or occasionally by using gravity slide methods. Identification of the dispersed pollen is mainly done on the basis of comparison with reference slides.
In most cases specific identifications are made on the basis of corresponding flowering periods. Respiratory allergy being a very common disease all over the world, it is necessary to monitor long term pollen survey for preparing regression models of allergenic pollen grains.
It is also necessary to make a correlation between the allergenic pollen load and the hospitalization data. It is important to diagnose allergy. There are several methods for accurate diagnosis of allergy.
The factors (protein or glycoprotein) responsible to cause pollen allergy by some of the plants have well been characterized. But there is a big scope for such work, therefore, more works in this field are to be required. Respiratory allergy or asthma if caused by pollen grains, can now be tackled through immunotherapy by using purified allergens following hyposensitization process.