Marie Kondo-ing your room may be good for your mental health, but the allergies triggered by the dust mites or mould? Not so much—especially when they result in sneezing fits, rashes and hives, among a whole host of agonising symptoms.
And while there are several things you can do to allay these symptoms, such as taking oral antihistamines, oral decongestants, nasal sprays, the relief is painfully temporary.
To nip the root causes of these sort of allergies in the bud, Dr Julian Hong, a resident physician at DTAP Clinic, recommends giving immunotherapy a go. This treatment involves desensitising your body’s reaction towards the allergens by repeatedly exposing you to small doses of them.
While it can be administered via injections, it also be carried out by placing the allergens under your tongue. This specific type of immunotherapy is known as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT).
“SLIT can improve your quality of life, reduce consumption of medications, and reduce risk of developing asthma and new allergies in the future,’ says Dr Hong. He adds that clinical papers on the it show success rates of up to 80 percent and that improvement in symptoms may be seen within two to three months.
However, because the recommended duration of treatment is typically three to five years, you need to be certain about your commitment to the therapy in order for it to succeed. Not that it should be hard to follow through, though—SLIT involves just two sprays under the tongue daily and can be quite yummy.
“We generally advise patients to avoid eating or drinking during the first 15 minutes after the spray to allow maximum efficacy of the treatment. The spray has a pleasant pineapple taste.”
You can confirm allergies of this nature by doing a skin prick test or IgE blood test. The skin prick test entails introducing allergens to the skin via tiny lancets that penetrate the skin surface—your doctor will look for specific skin reactions such as red, raised and itchy bumps, and if they measure more than 3mm, they indicate an allergic reaction.
The IgE blood test involves testing for antibodies and a wide range of allergens can be tested via a single blood test in one setting.
You don’t have to be allergic to dust mites or mould forever. But whether or not your sensitivities change depends on how badly you want them to.