Vaccination single best defense against allergies: DAK

Srinagar, May 28: Claiming that allergy season is at its peak right now in Kashmir valley with increase in the number of people seeking medical advice for various allergic disorders, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday said allergy vaccination, also known as immunotherapy, is the single best defense against allergies.
“Allergy vaccination is the most effective form of treatment for allergies,” DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan said in a statement issued here on Tuesday.
He said vaccine therapy reduces allergy symptoms, improves quality of life and reduces the need for allergy medication. “Allergy vaccine is safe and has been shown to be effective in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma and insect bites,” he added.
“Studies have found that immunotherapy for allergic rhinitis reduces the risk for later development of asthma in children,” Dr Hassan said, adding that ‘allergy immunotherapy has the potential to alter the natural course of allergic disease and prevent the risk of developing new allergies’.
Dr Hassan said allergy vaccine is given by administering specific allergen extract to which the person is allergic. “These natural allergen extracts are prepared based upon person’s skin test results,” he said, adding vaccine is given weekly by injection under the skin for 3 to 6 months during the build-up phase followed by monthly injection during the maintenance phase for a period of 3 to 5 years.
“For needle-shy persons, daily tablets of allergen extracts are administered under the tongue to achieve similar results,” he said.
Dr Hassan said one-third of population in Kashmir suffers from allergies. Spring is the key time for allergies and people are seen coughing, sneezing, wheezing and with skin eruptions. The biggest spring allergy trigger is pollen.
Quoting a report from Government Medical College Srinagar, he said 90 per cent of people in Kashmir are allergic to Dramun pollen, 70 per cent to Kiker pollen, 60 per cent to Soi pollen and 18 per cent to poplar pollen. The report reveals house dust mite as the main culprit which causes allergy in 92 per cent of people.
“As it is not possible to completely eliminate the allergen in a daily setting and symptom-based treatments do not provide long-lasting respite, therefore allergy vaccination remains the only way to protect people from allergies,” Dr Hassan added.