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Trileptal (Oxcarbazepine)

Allergies may be annoying, but unlike some diseases that resign you to little more than helpless spectating, the battle against allergies rests largely in your hands. Here’s what you can do.
Identify the culprit. You can’t effectively treat your allergy unless you know what causes it.
“You need to identify what you’re allergic to,” says William H. Ziering, M.D., an allergist and asthma expert in Fresno, California. “That way you can attack the allergens directly rather than just take medication and globally throw the animals out, throw grandpa out because he’s a smoker, pull the drapes down and pull the carpets up.”
About 90 percent of inhalant allergies are caused by 10 to 15 different allergens, such as dust mites, cockroaches, dogs and cats, grass and ragweed, says Thomas Platts-Mills, M.D., PH.D., head of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine/Medical Center in Charlottesville. So targeting the allergens that affect you may not be as difficult as you might suspect.
The best way to see what irks you is with a skin test. Using a pin, your doctor or an allergist pricks different allergens into your skin. If a red welt appears, presto! You’ve found the offending allergen. Of course, you may be allergic to more than one thing, so you may need to raise several welts before you’ve targeted all the offenders.
Steer clear of what ails you. Once you’ve identified the offending allergens, the best first step is to get away from them.
“The best treatment for allergies is avoidance of the offending materials,” says Franklin Adkinson, M.D., professor of medicine and co-director of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine/Francis Scott Key Medical Center. “It’s effective without having any side effects, • and it’s often the most economical way to treat allergies as well. For mild allergies, avoidance and an over-the-counter antihistamine may be all that’s necessary to keep the allergy sufferer comfortable.”

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