Self-medication for allergy can be dangerous

Allergy is quite common among people. But, did you know that self medication for allergies can be dangerous.

allergyOct 16 is World Allergy Awareness Day

Each individual on earth is allergic to something and it should not be ignored, but one should not do self-medication as the problem could further aggravate, experts said.

'Allergy, if categorized, can be of more than hundred types and every one of them need separate medication to be cured,' Vandana Boobna, consultant internal medicine at Max Super Specialty Hospital in Shalimar Bagh here, told IANS.

'Allergy at the initial stages can be treated, but when it reaches the extreme end stage, it can be immensely perilous,' she added. Boobna said that she has come across many who in an attempt to treat their allergy-related ailments on their own have ended up making it more severe.

'One should not try to treat skin allergies on their own. I have seen many cases in which people have self-medicated themselves and then have to undergo major treatment and even drastic surgeries,' Boobna said. As the Oct 16 is observed as World Allergy Awareness Day, experts said the first thing anyone should do when they suffer from any allergic problem is to find the trigger point, and then to visit the expert and get proper treatment.

An allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. Allergic reactions can happen when a person's immune system reacts to normally harmless substances in the environment. Allergies can play a major role in conditions such as asthma. It can be caused by anything such as egg, unhygienic places, milk, cold, rain and even dust. (Read: Monsoon health guide: Keep allergies, infections and indigestion at bay)

Anurag Mahajan, a consultant in internal medicine at Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute at Sheikh Sarai, said that many patients without doctors' prescription take anti-allergic tablets such as cetrizine, avil etc to get rid of it. 'This may even aggravate their problems. Moreover, if they do not know what is the dose they have to take, they could face side-effects (of the medication) like dizziness, excess sleepiness and laziness,' added Mahajan.

The aim is to kill the disease and not to escalate it, he added. Mahajan said that not in all cases they suggest patients to undergo anti-allergy test. 'It is easy to treat allergy at the initial stages. If they come to us on time, we can treat it with steroids and the anti allergy treatments. 'But once the patients start self-medication, the problem becomes complicated as many a times the allergy gets worse and requires advance treatment, lasting months or in some cases years,' Mahajan told IANS.

Vishal Singh, a dermatologist at Apollo, said that around 45 percent of people in the world suffer from Rihinitis Medica Menntosa - a problem caused due to excess usage of anti allergic tablets. He said in India, however, it is less severe as compared to the west, but it is fast catching up. 'Once the allergic patients start self-medication without proper knowledge, the medicines instead of curing starts showing reverse reactions and even in some cases it could lead to death specially in bronchitis and respiratory allergy, which is very common among Indians,' Singh told IANS.

'It is always advisable to patients that they should find out the trigger factor and consult the doctor rather than getting into self-medication, which of course will deteriorate it rather than curing,' Singh added. (Read: Beware of food allergies!)

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of allergies.

Source: IANS/Rupesh Dutta

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