What are allergies?
Allergies are your body’s reaction to a foreign substance. The immune system is responsible for protecting your body against infection and illness. Sometimes, however, your immune system develops antibodies against substances that aren’t actually harmful. This is when symptoms of allergies begin to arise.
What are the symptoms of allergies?
The intensity of allergy symptoms varies from person to person. Allergic reactions depend on the circumstances surrounding your exposure to an allergic substance. Some allergic reactions affect the airways, skin, sinuses, and digestive system.
Symptoms of allergies include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Watery or swollen eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Itchy nose
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, face, or throat
Allergic reactions range from mild to severe and life-threatening. In some cases, allergies result in a potentially fatal condition known as anaphylaxis.
If you experience any of the symptoms of allergies, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis to understand how to better manage your condition.
What is anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis causes your airways to narrow, along with lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. Anaphylactic reactions are emergency situations that require immediate medical attention.
In emergency situations, anaphylaxis reactions are treated with pre-filled shots of adrenaline that help reverse the effects of the reaction.
How are allergies diagnosed?
Because the symptoms of allergies are similar to the symptoms of other conditions, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis. Your doctor evaluates your signs and symptoms, and may ask you to record your reactions to possible allergens. These include food, medications, pet dander, mold, and pollen.
There are two ways to test for allergies. The first is a skin test, where your provider pricks and exposes your skin to small amounts of particular allergens. Once your skin reacts to one or more of the applied allergens, your doctor confirms your condition.
The second type of test used to check for allergies is a blood test. To perform this test, your doctor takes a sample of your blood and sends it to a lab where it’s evaluated for sensitivity to allergens.
How are allergies treated?
Although most allergies can’t be cured, there are methods to minimize their symptoms. At Heal 360, your doctor works with you to determine the best treatment option. Some of the common treatment methods for allergies are:
The most common method of treating allergies is to avoid the allergen altogether. Avoidance is typically the most effective way of managing your allergies as it eliminates the possibility of a reaction. Because the avoidance method relies on an accurate diagnosis, it's important to discuss your condition with an experienced physician.
There are a number of prescription and over-the-counter medications that are used to minimize allergic reactions. Allergy medications come in the form of pills, nasal sprays, liquids, and eye drops.
To learn more about ways to manage your allergies, visit a Heal 360 office or book an appointment by phone or online today.