Allergies (Food/Seasonal)

What Are Allergies?

Allergies are a condition in which the immune system reacts abnormally to a foreign substance. A foreign substance binds to cell receptors eliciting the immune response. It is not the foreign substance itself, but the body’s response, which causes the allergic reaction via a complex cascade of immunological factors working at rapid speed.

Allergies are a very common issue for people of all ages, affecting millions of Americans each year. Many people have food allergies, and seasonal allergies such as hay fever are also a fact of life for millions. Allergies vary in severity and can cause symptoms that range from a runny nose and burning eyes to potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis.

What Are The Causes Of Allergies?

Allergies are caused by a myriad of factors, and allergic reactions vary from one the individual to the next. Therefore, it varies on a case by case basis. Certain allergies are caused by food, others are caused by textiles, latex, and even some medications containing ingredients such as Sulfa.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Allergies?

Mild to moderate allergy symptoms are nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, itching, and runny nose. More severe allergic reactions may cause swelling of the face and throat which block airways and can be potentially fatal.

What Are The Risk Factors Of Allergies?

Race, sex, age, and family history can all be risk factors, depending on the nature and source of the allergy.

How Are Allergies Diagnosed?

The three main types of allergy tests are skin tests, blood tests, and elimination diets.

A skin test involves inserting a specific allergen just beneath the uppermost layer of the skin to observe any reactions such as redness, swelling, or itchiness. This test is not painful and can indicate allergies to dozens of different substances.

A blood test is usually performed if there is a significant likelihood of a severe allergic reaction to a skin test. Blood is drawn and tested to find the number of allergen-fighting antibodies that are present

If you have been having allergy symptoms and don’t know the source, your doctor may recommend an elimination diet, consciously removing specific foods from your diet and then later reintroducing them to judge the source of your allergic reactions.

What Are The Possible Treatments For Allergies?

Depending on your allergies, our doctors may be able to prescribe medication that will alleviate your symptoms. Knowing what causes your symptoms can also allow you to avoid allergens. Because allergic reactions can potentially be life-threatening, it’s extremely important to be aware of your body’s unique sensitivities. While there are over-the-counter home allergy tests, it’s far preferable to get tested by a qualified physician, as false positives are far more likely to occur in-home tests.

Are There Preventative Steps Or Measures To Avoid Allergies?

Reducing and minimizing exposure to allergens that affect you can help decrease the risk of an allergic reaction.

What Are The Risks If Allergies​ Are Left Untreated?

In the most severe cases, an allergic reaction can lead to death due to constricted airways. Therefore treatment must be immediate with an adrenaline pen to counteract the allergic reaction.

Key Takeaways

Allergies are a condition in which the immune system reacts abnormally to a foreign substance. A foreign substance binds to cell receptors eliciting the immune response. It is not the foreign substance itself that causes the reaction but the body’s response that causes the allergic reaction via a complex cascade of immunological factors working at rapid speed. Depending on your allergies, our doctors may be able to prescribe medication that will alleviate your symptoms. Knowing what causes your symptoms can also allow you to avoid allergens. Because allergic reactions can potentially be life-threatening, it’s extremely important to be aware of your body’s unique sensitivities. A skin and blood test is the way to diagnose allergies. Seek immediate medical attention to treat life-threatening allergic reactions.


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