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ALLERGIES - GENERAL

 

An allergy is present when a person's immune system attacks a substance (called an allergen) that most people's immune systems would ignore.

 

The allergy-causing substances are called allergens. The most common allergens are pollens, molds, dust, and animal dander. Some allergens like ragweed are present only during certain seasons. Other allergens like dust mite or mold are present year-round. When the tissues of the nose and sinuses come into contact with allergens, several chemicals are released from cells in these tissues. Histamine causes the nosal lining to swell, itch, and produce mucus. Most allergens are proteins and they trigger allergic reactions when they enter the body or come in contact with body surfaces.

 

Symptoms from allergies depend on the part of the body exposed and sensitized. Some common symptoms of hay fever are itchy, runny nose, sneezing, nasal and head congestion, fatigue and lethargy, itchy throat, red irritated eyes and/or postnasal drip.

 

The diagnosis of allergies is based on the patient’s medical and family history. However, it may take some detective work to figure out exactly what you are allergic to. Tests for specific allergies may be performed. The best test is the skin scratch test. In these tests, tiny amounts of suspected allergens are placed on or under your skin. These allergy tests can identify which of many possible allergens are causing your symptoms. Blood tests are used to diagnose food allergies.

 

Treatment of allergies is based on three important principles

1. Avoidance - The first principle of allergy treatment is to avoid the allergy-causing substance. Air conditioners and special filters can minimize the amount of pollen and mold that circulates indoors.

2. Medications - When environmental measures such as the ones described above are inadequate to control symptoms, medications are usually effective.

3. Allergy Injections - If your symptoms are severe in spite of medications, we may consider allergy injections (immunotherapy). Allergy injections will desensitize you to the substances that cause your allergies. A mixture of the allergens identified from your allergy tests is prepared and you will then receive weekly injections of this mixture. Usually after 3 to 4 months of allergy injections do people begin to have relief from their allergies.

  

ALLERGY SYMPTOMS 
Do you suffer with any of the following symptoms?
 
  • Runny nose

  • Watery, itchy eyes

  • Itching ears

  • Post nasal drip

  • Swelling of the lips or tongue

  • Recurrent sore throats

  • Horseness, or clearing of the throat

  • Popping of the ears

 

If you experience any of these and other symptoms, you probably suffer with allergies. A simple skin scratch test is perfomed in our office. A blood test is required for food allergy testing.
The results are discussed with the physician, and therapy can be instituted. 
 
305-292-2259