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Can Carbon Dioxide Bring Allergy Relief?

Posted by admin in Allergy Immunology

A study conducted at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska suggests that carbon dioxide (CO2) may relieve allergy symptoms. The gas is blown into the sinuses using a handheld device. Study participants reported a reduction in symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes, runny nose, and sneezing for as long as four hours in some cases. Nasal congestion, however, did not appear to be affected by the treatment.

The symptom reduction was achieved within a half hour of the use of the carbon dioxide gas. Some patients experienced side effects, such as headaches, watering eyes, and pain in the nose, but researchers noted that these effects were mild and did not last very long in the majority of patients.

Researchers published their results in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in October 2011 in an article entitled, “Nasal carbon dioxide for the symptomatic treatment of perennial allergic rhinitis.” It is important to note, however, that the study was sponsored by a company that plans to market a device that would allow people to easily blow the CO2 into their nostrils.

348 adults with a variety of allergies were studied, and the allergy immunology study lasted for a period of two years. Other medications were stopped, and all participants were tested (via skin prick) to verify their allergy status. Some study participants received a placebo, while those who were receiving CO2 were given either high (10 millileters of gas) or low (5 millileters of gas) doses.

While patients using the placebo also reported a reduction in symptoms, the group actually receiving carbon dioxide reported a greater reduction in symptoms. Patients receiving high doses of gas received the greatest relief from symptoms, indicating that the gas does indeed have an effect on some symptoms associated with nasal allergies.

More Allergy Immunology Studies Are Required

Despite the compelling results of the study, researchers are quick to point out that this study alone is not conclusive enough to merit marketing a new CO2 treatment product as yet. More research must be conducted, but there is hope that the results will hold up in further studies and eventually allow for a viable, non-medication treatment for nasal allergy symptoms with few side effects.

Of course, the effects of the treatment are brief, so the best carbon dioxide could do is relieve acute symptoms for a short span of time, similar to many other over-the-counter allergy medications on the market today.

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