Hay Fever, otherwise known as Allergic Rhinitis, affects up to 30% of those living in the UK. This widely known allergy to pollen causes irritating symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes and runny noses.
What is Hay Fever?
It can be triggered by other allergens in the air such as mould, dust and pet dander. The symptoms can range from mild to severe, with some patients not coping even with available over the counter medication.
We can provide an effective and safe treatment, currently not available on the NHS, for those living with the more debilitating form of the disease. An experienced allergy or immunology consultant will assess your needs and whether immunology injections are the right treatment for you.
Over the counter medication
There is no cure for hay fever so sufferers look to the most effective symptom control treatments. Hay fever medication found over the counter typically contains a class of drugs called antihistamines. The older generation cause drowsiness and fatigue, hampering your ability to drive or operate machinery when taking the medication.
New formulations are less drowsy but can still result in a dry mouth, headaches and nausea. These side effects can be intolerable, especially if your symptom relief is limited.
What are Hay Fever injections?
If you do not respond well to over the counter medications, your doctor may suggest immunotherapy injections as a way to treat your hay fever.
They are usually given as a course of four injections, fortnightly, starting 4 months before the hay fever season begins. The injections will be given subcutaneously (under the skin) in the upper arm.
How do they work?
This immunotherapy treatment is also called desensitisation therapy as it exposes the body to the allergen and helps your immune system to reset.
Hay fever is an overreaction of your body’s immune system to a normally harmless allergen such as grass seed or pollen. Your immune system believes this allergen is a threat to the body and therefore reacts to defend itself.
Immunotherapy exposes your body to small doses of the allergen over a period of time so the immune system no longer reacts to the allergen and effectively “resets” itself.
Immunotherapy won’t be suitable for all hay fever sufferers. Like most medications it can cause side effects in some patients. It is typically offered to patients with severe symptoms.
Am I eligible?
Standard, over the counter preparations must be trialled first. Once proven ineffective your doctor may then be able to offer you a course of injections. Remember you may need to continue taking these medications after the injection. This includes tablets, eye drops and nasal sprays.
We are currently not able to offer the injection to anyone under the age of 12.
If you are suffering from debilitating symptoms and think the injection is right for you, one of our experienced consultants will carry out a quick medical assessment and proceed with your consent.
After your injection and clinic appointment you will be able to drive safely and return to your normal daily routine.
Some patients who have a weak response to the treatment may be eligible for a second injection. If this applies to you the medical team will guide you through the right balance of treatment.