HealthWatch: New Treatments Could Cure Allergies Reporting


allergiesAllergies – whether seasonal, food related, or environmental – can be debilitating.  But what if you could enjoy the spring without the sniffles, pet a dog without breaking out, or eat a peanut butter cookie without the fear of landing in the emergency room?

Cures for all these allergies, and more, may be closer than you think.

“They hurt, I’m not going to lie,” New York City resident Elisa Balestra says. “A shot is a shot.”

Balestra recently got her monthly allergy vaccine. It’s the only thing that helps ease her seasonal allergy symptoms, which she said have been particularly bad this year.

“I get congested, my head kind of turns into a headache, and I feel it just kind of takes all of the energy out of me,” Balestra said.

Balestra is far from alone – one in five Americans suffers from allergies.

To date, there is no cure for any of them; symptoms can only be managed with medication. But now, emerging and cutting-edge treatments from around the world promise to dramatically decrease, if not put an end to, most – if not all – allergic reactions for good.

There’s a new, small device that researchers say may soon replace the use of drugs in the treatment of seasonal allergy symptoms.

“This is a light device, a red light, that is inserted inside the nose for approximately four minutes, three times a day – I use it myself,” said Dr. Yosef Krespi of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital.

Dr. Krespi says the infrared light works by significantly reducing the inflammatory reaction inside the nose, so there’s no more sneezing, coughing or congestion. Best of all, patients say, is that it eliminates the need for monthly allergy shots.

“It’s something I would do in a heartbeat,” Balestra said.

“I believe this will be cleared within the next year or so,” Dr. Krespi said.

Right now, if you suffer from certain food allergies, there’s not much you can do except avoid that food and carry emergency medicine.

“It’s like living in a mine field,” Dr. Scott Sicherer, a clinical researcher for the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center, said.

Researchers also say a new pill could be a cure for some of the biggest food allergens, from peanuts and eggs to fish, and you won’t believe what it’s made from.

“Ginger, pepper and very common supplements like ginseng,” Dr. Xiu-Min Li said.

With a seemingly simple formula, the herbal pill is the brain child of Dr. Li, a researcher with the Manhattan-based Jaffe Food Allergy Institute. She came up with the combination of herbs based on a cure for a stomach parasite that had similar symptoms to many of today’s food allergies.

“We believe that this formula will have long-lasting effects,” Dr. Li said.

Then there’s a laser device that, doctors say, works similar to acupuncture. Doctors say it may put an end to suffering from a number of allergies, from pollen to pets, with just a handful of sessions.

“What we do is we use a cold laser to stimulate different acupuncture points known to calm down her stress response, so its really just positive reconditioning,” Dr. Dale Hanson, of the Advanced Allergy Relief Centers of Tampa Bay, said.

It may seem far-fetched, but the device is currently being used in Australia, and a growing number of patients currently undergoing the treatment there say it’s life-altering.

“Now I can be around a house full of pets and it does nothing,” patient Sandra Bassett said.

It’s important to remember that allergic reactions can be different every time they happen – one day they may be mild, and the next life-threatening – so every treatment should be under the strict supervision of your health care provider.

{WCBS-TV/Noam Newscenter}