More than 50 million people in the United States suffer allergies, making it the most common and over looked chronic disease in both adults and children.
An allergy is when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance, called an allergen. It could be something you eat, inhale into your lungs, inject into your body or touch. This reaction could cause coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose and a scratchy throat. Untreated it can it can result in chronic sinus infections, strep throat, asthma, eye infections, nasal polyps, chronic ear infection and /or migraine headaches.
A simple skin allergy test could identify the cause of your allergies and is now being offered in our office. Skin testing consists of applying trace amounts of up to 78 different allergens on the skin, including the most common allergens which are Tree, grass and weed pollen, mold spores, dust mites, cockroaches, and cat, dog and rodent dander. If you react to an allergen, a small bump will appear that may look like a mosquito bite.
It is important that a positive skin test result be correlated with your medical history. This can give precise information about what you are and are not, allergic to. For instance, perhaps you or a family member has allergy symptoms in a household that includes a pet. If allergy testing shows an allergy to dust mites but not to pet dander, it may be unnecessary to avoid contact with the pet.
Once we have identified what may be causing your allergies, we will discuss recommendations and appropriate interventions such as allergen avoidance, medications to prevent and control symptoms and/ determine whether allergen immunotherapy is the right choice for you.
Avoidance therapy consists of taking precautions to minimize the exposure to the identified allergen. For instance, if you have tested positive to pollen, taking several precautions during the pollen seasons can help provide symptom relief and decrease the need for medication.
Some avoidance practices could include planning fun activities indoors, especially when the pollen count is high. Washing your hair before going to bed to remove pollen that may have settled on it during the day. Spouses of sufferers should do the same. Change your child’s clothes after playing outdoors before he/she tracks pollen into the bedroom and encourage family members to keep their shoes at the door. Avoidance therapy can improve your quality of life by up to 50 percent.
Another option is immunotherapy which is the only treatment that targets the cause of allergies and can alter the natural course of the disease. Together we can determine if you’re the right candidate for this therapy.
Most people with untreated allergy symptoms aren’t aware of how much better they will feel once their symptoms are properly diagnosed and managed.