Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Achoum, part 1

As most of you know, my days in Bretagne weren't the happiest of ones, and on top of it, I also developed horrible year-round allergies. Funnily enough however, they would go away the minute I left Bretagne, leaving me with multiple opportunities for me to make jokes about being literally allergic to the region.

At the time, I figured I was stuck there, so I started hunting around for options, and came across the "désensibilisation" treatment.  I wrote about it already maybe six or seven years ago, but I know a lot of you didn't follow me back then, and since I've been seeing a lot of posts lately on blogs and Twitter about people suffering from hayfever and allergies, that I figured it could help a lot of folks out to re-explain it here.

In English, désensibilisation is called "Allergen-specific Immunotherapy Treatment", and in the US, it's commonly done by receiving a weekly allergy shot.  But who wants to do that?  Luckily in France, there is another, less painful, option called sublingual immunotherapy.  Which is basically a fancy word meaning you put the allergen under your tongue every morning and hold it there for a few minutes while it absorbs.

Like the shots, you need to continuing doing this for a minimum of three years in order to rid yourself of the allergy, but the good news is that you start to notice a difference almost right away. The thing about allergies is that you don't fully understand just how much they are affecting your quality of life until you don't have them anymore. Until mine were gone, I didn't even realize how much of a pain it was to be constantly sneezing and suffering from watery eyes.

Because my allergies were Bretagne-specific, I decided to stop the treatment once I moved to Paris and my symptoms had disappeared. I probably should have continued it, but at the time, I was trying to cut ties to anything that could possibly make me have to go back to my old town.  And I unfortunately find myself traveling to Bretagne quite often now for work and they are coming back.  So I started up the treatment again a few months ago. Come back in a day or two if you're an allergy-sufferer as well and you want to read more information about how the treatment works!



Blogger French teacher said...

I went to an allergist here in Syracuse, NY more than 20 years ago who did the sublingual drops. It worked for me. It was considered experimental at the time so insurance wouldn't pay for it. It was so much better and easier than shots. I did the shot routine for years and I got to the point that I couldn't stand the thought of a shot. I would have to say in looking back at both methods, they worked equally well. As I have gotten older my allergy symptoms have changed. My primary care doctor prescribed a nasal spray "Asteline" a few years ago and it makes me feel like I don't have allergies. I do take Zyrtec each day as well. Before the Asteline I had chronic sinus infections. As a child I had chronic ear infections and eventually had tubes put in my ears in my 20's.

It's interesting to me that they do the sublingual method in France. I had forgotten about it until I read your post! Did they have you go through testing again to recheck your sensitivities?

I hope you feel better!

June 20, 2012 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger Ciara said...

Thanks for teaching me the English for this...I'm British but had no idea what this method was called. I'm sure it is not offered on the NHS in the UK as I've been allergic for around 25 years and only now after 8 years in France am finally getting it treated. Love the sécu and mutuelle system and wow it makes a difference.

June 20, 2012 at 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. This year has been hell for me as I kept falling ill. I never had such allergy problems so I didn't know what was wrong with me. After numerous doctor visits, a radiologie and a blood test (all negative) I eventually found out that it has to be sickness due to allergies. I had all the symptoms of severe "rhinite allergique / allergic rhinitis" and I have been a little worried about when/if they will come back and if I need to seriously go for allergy shots or not. Yes, I figured I must be allergic to France -- Grenoble at least! What a difficult year it has been! Thanks for posting this.

June 21, 2012 at 10:49 AM  

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