What are allergies?
Allergies occur when your immune system identifies a normally harmless substance as a threat to your body. Once that substance is perceived as dangerous, your body will initiate an allergic reaction every time it encounters it. About 50 million Americans experience allergies each year. Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness.
Causes of Allergies
Just about any substance in our environment can trigger an allergy, but the most common allergens include:
Airborne allergens (pollen, mold, animal dander, dust mites)
Contact allergens (poison ivy, latex, nickel, chemicals in soaps and skin care products)
Food allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy, shellfish)
Insect stings (bees, wasps)
Medications (penicillin, sulfa drugs, aspirin, NSAIDs)
Symptoms of Allergies
Allergies can develop at any time during your life. Airborne allergens usually trigger respiratory symptoms while contact allergens will cause a skin rash or hives.
Some common symptoms of any allergic reaction are:
- Runny nose
- Itchy/watery eyes
- Skin rash
- Swollen area around an insect sting
- Abdominal discomfort
Food, insect or medication allergies may cause a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. The tongue and throat swell and the person has difficulty breathing. They may go into shock. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency. Call 911 immediately and administer an epinephrine injection.
The best way to find out what is causing your allergies and get relief is to schedule an appointment with an ear, nose and throat specialist like Dr. Vazquez. Many people are able to manage their allergies by taking antihistamines and avoiding allergy triggers
If you have severe symptoms, a history of anaphylaxis, or if your moderate symptoms don’t improve with antihistamines, Dr. Vazquez can perform a skin prick test right in our office. This quick test will identify your specific allergens so Dr. Vazquez can develop a customized treatment plan for you.
Allergy drops are very well received by most patients and are a welcomed alternative to traditional allergy “shots”. Allergy shots are administered by injecting small doses of a specific allergen under the patent’s skin using a needle, however allergy drops are taken “orally” with small drops being put under the tongue.
“Allergy shots” are the common name for immunotherapy treatment for allergies. Immunotherapy works by exposing your body to small amounts of allergen over a long period of time. In this way, you develop a healthy immune response and the allergic reactions stop.
At Elite ENT, most patients receive their immunotherapy in the form of drops placed under the tongue rather than shots.
If you are concerned about allergy symptoms, you don’t have to suffer any longer. Get answers and relief by booking an appointment with Elite ENT today.