Allergic to Dogs and Allergies in Dogs Resource

Why Allergy Sufferers Turn From Conventional to Natural Treatment

Estimates for the percentage of the population who suffer from some form of allergy typically vary between 25% – 50% depending on one’s source of data. For example, Meltzer 2008 review of key data from Nathan et al. 2008 quoted a figure of 46.5% for nasal symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis in the U.S., whereas Arbes et al. 2005 cited, 54.3% of the population had positive test responses to 1 or more allergens.”

Surprisingly, maybe more than a third of those using conventional treatments believe their medications are ineffective (William E. Berger at ACAAI meeting). When people were asked by the SEBI 2007 survey as to whether their intranasal corticosteroid medication lost effectiveness over a 24 hour period, 51 % felt it had. Furthermore, when those who changed their medication were asked the reason for being dissatisfied, 61% stated that it “wasn’t effective”. Moreover, Meltzer 2008 commented that, 67% [of adults] are symptomatic despite taking medications for their allergic rhinitis.”

The result of this situation is that people in this position can often feel helpless, frustrated and at the mercy of their allergy.

Frustrated with Conventional Allergy Treatment

So how does someone arrive at this position and what are the alternatives to their conventional treatments?

An allergic reaction results from the body overreacting to a given stimulus, which for non-allergic sufferers is quite harmless.

A variety of underlying factors are probably involved and these include a mixture of nature and nurture
i.e. genetics, exposure to various microbes and other environmental factors.
Allergy sufferers may be sensitive to a variety of triggers or allergens. Allergens are all around us and may be present in our clothing, the air we breathe and the food or drink we consume. Aside from dog allergies, other examples include allergies to antibiotics, dust mite excrement, latex and mold.
The symptoms of an allergic response vary from very mild through to life threatening anaphylactic shock. Most people who suffer from allergies to dogs will only ever experience symptoms that, even with repeated exposure, remain comparatively mild such as a runny nose or itchy eyes.
From a Western perspective, self-administered over-the-counter pharmaceutical medications are often the first line of treatment sought by people. The degree of effectiveness and side effects experienced by such treatments vary on an individual basis.
If a person’s allergy symptoms are particularly troublesome or give cause for concern they will then usually seek advice from a qualified medical practitioner of conventional medicine. A referral to an allergist might be required who will undertake tests to help determine the nature and severity of the allergy problem. Test results will then dictate the course of action, the type and strength of drug to be used or whether immunological injections (allergy shots) are given.
Unfortunately, as noted previously, a significant percentage of allergy sufferers end up feeling frustrated with their condition because the outcome from conventional medicine does not match their expectations.


As Meltzer 2008 comments,“I think it is up to us to introduce these medications, monitor the patients [to] see that in fact they improve, and if they’re not improving, then to change the pattern by choosing other options.

Therefore, do other options and alternatives exist for people who:

  • Are dissatisfied with their current conventional treatment.
  • Wish to reduce their dependence on conventional allergy medication.
  • Are frustrated at having to change medication regularly as they lose their effectiveness.
  • Have milder symptoms and prefer not to use conventional medicines.
  • Have more notable symptoms that require conventional medication but desire additional symptom relief without the need to just simply ‘up’ their existing dose and increase the risk of side effects.
  • Wish to approach the allergy problem in a more holistic fashion.

and if so, how effective are the alternatives to conventional medicine?

The next article in the series Understanding Natural Treatment, will begin the process of answering this question and is entitled  Natural Treatment and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).

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