What are Allergies?
Allergies occur when the body's immune system reacts abnormally to specific triggers or allergens like pollen, dust, smoke or foods. The abnormal immune response can cause a host of symptoms that can affect multiple systems and organs, including the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems and the skin.
What are the Symptoms of Food and Environmental Allergies?
Allergic symptoms can vary from person to person but may include:
hives or rash
sinus congestion or pain
nausea or vomiting
itching in the mouth and throat
How will the Doctors Determine which Allergies I Have?
In some cases, our doctors will be able to tell from your symptoms and the information you provide during your exam and evaluation, especially if your symptoms began after exposure to certain foods or other triggers that have been well established. In other cases though, he may need to order skin tests that use tiny samples of allergens to determine a reaction. Blood tests can also evaluate the level of immune antibodies in your blood following a specific exposure.
How are Allergies Treated?
That depends on what's causing the allergy and the types of symptoms you're experiencing, but generally speaking, allergies are treated with nasal sprays, eye drops and oral medications to help relieve or reduce symptoms, as well as avoidance of the trigger when possible. Using air filtration systems or staying indoors when the pollen count is high are two possible methods of avoiding environmental triggers. In some severe cases when symptoms persist due to physiological causes such as a deviated septum, blocked sinus or polyps, surgery may be needed to enable the sinuses to drain properly. Our doctors may also order x-rays or other tests to look for other causes of your symptoms.
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