For millions of Americans, allergies present an invisible battle constantly being waged. A fresh spring day may be heavenly for some but may cause a nightmare allergic reaction for others. It may seem like these allergens are attacking you, but your allergic reaction is actually your body trying to protect you.
Allergies are caused by foreign substances constantly bombarding your body—such as dander, pollen, dust, mold, chemicals, and certain foods. In response, your body has developed an immune system that produces antibodies to protect you. But sometimes immune systems overreact, producing in excess a certain antibody known as IgE, which causes allergic reactions.
For those Americans who experience allergies every year—an estimated 1 in 5 people—there is always the hope that they can find sustainable relief from the sneezing, coughing, runny noses, and watery, itchy eyes, and many other symptoms allergies can cause.
Common Symptoms of Allergies
- Eyes – Itching, redness, swelling, tearing
- Ears – Fluid in the middle ear, recurrent infections
- Nose – Itching, congestion, sneezing, postnasal drip
- Sinus – Sinus pain, pressure, recurrent infection
- Lungs – Shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, coughing
- Skin – Itching, welts, hives, blistery rash
- Other – Headaches, fatigue, hyperactivity, depression
Common Causes of Allergies
- Pollen (Trees, Grasses, Weeds)
- Dust Mites
- Animal Hair/Dander
- Insect Stings/Bites
Did you know? 60 million people in the U.S. suffer from allergies. That’s enough people to classify as an allergy epidemic!
How Do I Manage My Allergies?
- Avoid the allergen(s) – While this may work in some situations, some substances such as pollen are hard to avoid
Treat the symptoms – Medication can provide you a measure of relief from your allergy symptoms, but it does nothing to address the root of the problem
Use immunotherapy – Alter the body’s reaction to the allergen(s). To desensitize your immune system’s reaction to the effect of the offending allergen is the only treatment method known to cure your allergy
What are My Testing Options?
The first step in treating an allergy is to find out what is causing the reaction.
Radioallergosorbent Testing (RAST) involves sending a sample of your blood to a lab to be tested for allergens. We don’t typically recommend this method as allergens may not show up in blood and can be missed.
Modified Quantitative Testing (MQT) is a state-of-the-art method. It combines both intradermal testing and skin-prick testing. This allows the healthcare provider to precisely identify the degree of reactivity. This is our preferred testing method as recommended by the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA).
What are my treatment options?
There are a number of treatment options available that may offer some relief from allergy symptoms. These options include avoidance, prescription and over-the-counter medications, and allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots).
|Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT)||Injections of allergen extract||In your physician’s office||Weekly, for a 30-minute appointment||Covered by most insurance plans|
Allergy shots or are used for people with respiratory allergies caused by pollens, animal dander, molds and dust mites. Speak with your physician about your allergies and the individualized treatment options available to you. If you think you may be a candidate for immunotherapy, ask your doctor about it today.