Allergies are extremely common, affecting about 1 out of every 5 Americans. Understanding what causes them, and which particular allergens are responsible for triggering your symptoms, are the keys to successful treatment.
The immune system functions as the body’s first line of defense against germs and bacteria, and is essential in maintaining good health and preventing infections. When the immune system encounters a threat, it responds by attacking the foreign substance. Allergies are an exaggerated immune system response to an otherwise harmless substance. They are the result of antibodies that trigger the release of histamines, chemicals that enter the bloodstream and cause swelling, inflammation, itchiness and mucus production – the telltale signs of an allergic response. They may also cause a rash or hives.
Allergies may occur seasonally or year-round. Pollen from trees, grasses and weeds is a common allergen that causes hay fever in many individuals. Year-round allergens include animal dander, dust mites, mold, medications, chemicals and insect bites. Allergy sufferers experience a variety of cold-like symptoms including congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itchiness, postnasal drip, watery eyes and sinus pain or pressure.
If you suffer from allergies, we can help! You have probably tried over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines and decongestants; while these bring temporary relief, they are not a cure for allergies and their effectiveness is limited. Seeing an allergist is your best bet in finding a long-term solution. Our clinic provides skin testing to determine the allergen(s) responsible for your symptoms, an important first step in finding a treatment that will work. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) is an effective method that helps reduce the severity of your symptoms over time as your body builds up immunity to the offending substance.
If you’re tired of dealing with the misery allergies bring, contact one of our allergists today. We are here to help!
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