Constantly feeling the symptoms of all-year-round allergies?
Why keep living a lower quality life when you can call on Columbia Breathe Free for help? Our expert team is ready to work with you to identify the exact cause of your allergy symptoms and guide you on the path to renewed freedom from allergies.
Understanding Allergic Reactions
Allergic reactions happen when your immune system misidentifies a typically harmless substance as a threat. To combat the allergen, your immune system generates antibodies, leading to the unpleasant symptoms you are experiencing when you are exposed to the allergen.
This exposure can cause an increase in blood flow, tissue swelling, and irritation of the mucus membrane. Allergen triggers can reach you through touching, swallowing, or inhaling the substance you are allergic to.
Common Causes of Allergies
While any substance can potentially cause an allergic reaction, some of the most common allergens include:
Trees, grass, pollen, and molds are environmental allergens that are frequently present in our surroundings. While you may be familiar with symptoms caused by the yellow haze that covers everything in spring, mold often goes undetected in homes and work places and can cause serious long term effects on the body and brain.
Many people are allergic to bee or wasp stings. However, other insects like cockroaches, dust mites, mosquitoes, and even ants are common causes of allergic reactions.
Commonly used drugs such as penicillin, sulfa, and insulin are common allergens, and it is important that your doctors know if you have allergies to any of them. The reactions can be extremely harmful and are uncomfortable. Always share with any doctor what you are allergic to so you can receive an alternative.
As much as we love our pets, they can often cause allergies. Lucky for you, Columbia Breathe Free has immunotherapy options that offer a solution so you don’t have to rehome your furry family member.
Certain chemicals can cause a skin rash upon contact. Latex, plants, body and laundry soaps, cosmetics, and jewelry can lead to adverse skin reactions and swelling in the area of contact.
Typical Allergy Symptoms
Although allergy symptoms vary from person to person, less aggressive symptoms are common and can be confused with or even cause sinus issues.
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Hives and itching
- Difficulty breathing
In severe cases, anaphylaxis can result. This is when the allergen causes your throat to close, blocking your airway, which can cause death if you do not get the assistance you need to counteract the reaction as soon as possible. If you know you have an allergy to something common, always keep a Benadryl or other antihistamine like an EpiPen close in times of emergencies.
Diagnosis & Testing for Allergies
Allergy diagnosis involves more than a simple skin prick test. If you are at your limit with your symptoms, there's no better time than now to let a board-certified ENT give you an allergy test. This also entails a comprehensive review of your medical history.
When you choose Columbia Breathe Free to help you put together your allergy treatment plan, there are many things we have to consider:
- A detailed description of symptoms
- Structured queries to gain precise information on past allergic reactions during childhood such as eczema, hay fever, and asthma
- The severity, duration, and seasonal occurrence of symptoms including trigger factors, life-threatening events, and success of avoidance measures
- Details about diet, food exclusion, and intolerance to medications, preservatives, and additives
- Family medical history
- Home, school/work, and outdoor environmental risk factors
- Past/current treatment and medications used
This thorough medical history evaluation, combined with a skin prick test and a physical examination, will help your physician determine the most effective treatment plan for your allergies.
Treating Your Allergies
Avoidance is the best method to eliminate allergy symptoms, but it's not always feasible. Antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal rinses are among the medications that can be prescribed. However, the most effective way to achieve long-term relief from allergy symptoms is through immunotherapy.
You might be familiar with allergy shots, but there's an alternative to needles and regular office visits. Sublingual Immunotherapy (S.L.I.T.) is a convenient, self-administered under-the-tongue allergy treatment you can do from home.
Sublingual allergy drops are exceptionally safe and effective in treating allergies.
About Peanut Allergies
A peanut allergy can occur when peanuts are touched or consumed. In severe cases, even being near peanuts can cause complications. A board-certified physician should diagnose a peanut allergy.
When you book an appointment with Columbia Breathe Free for allergy testing, you can be confident that your examination will be thorough, and you'll receive the best possible treatment plan for your peanut allergy.
Depending on the allergy's severity, avoidance might be the best solution. In more severe cases, immunotherapy could be recommended. An EpiPen prescription might also be provided if deemed necessary by your physician. Peanut allergies can be deadly. If someone is experiencing anaphylaxis, call 911 immediately.
Common Drug Allergies
Many people may experience either allergies or sensitivities to certain drugs. These two responses are very different. In the case of drug sensitivity, a patient may undergo desensitization if deemed appropriate by their physician.
For drug allergies, avoidance is the best possible treatment option. Your physician may prescribe an EpiPen if the allergy is severe and may also recommend a medic-alert bracelet.
If you have any questions or concerns about allergies and the treatment options provided by Columbia Breathe Free, feel free to contact our office for more information.