Allergies are the response of our immune system reactions, warning us about harmful agents. Whether harmless or life-threatening, allergies irrefutably affect individuals from performing their daily activities. Although symptoms and causes vary, having allergies is a reality for 1 in 5 Americans.
Types of Allergies
Allergens is the medical term referring to agents which happen to trigger your immune system. Allergies are classified depending on the allergen that is causing them:
These allergies present by difficulty breathing, as well as sneezing too much, caused by irritated nostrils. Allergens that cause respiratory reactions can include:
• Pollen. Contrary to popular belief, pollen is not only released in spring but almost all year around. Loose pollen in the air might cause irritation on the nostrils and eyes.
• Animal hair. Pet owners can have or develop allergies to their cats or dogs.
• Mold. It affects air quality and your health. It also results in runny noses, itchy eyes, and rashes.
• House Dust. Even when exposed to small amounts of dust, individuals can react with allergic symptoms such as irritated eyes, irritated nasal passages, and sneezing.
Food allergies occur when any food causes issues in your digestive system. The symptoms are issues that prevent digestion of food, a swollen throat or breathing passages, or hives. Common food allergens are:
• Tree Nuts. Peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, among others.
• Wheat. Usually found in flour and bread.
• Soy. Products made with soy, like tofu, vegan cheese, and meat.
• Animal by-products. Some of them being fish, eggs, dairy, among others.
Any factor that damages the skin after or during its exposure is a skin allergen. Reactions include symptoms like skin irritation, hives, or breakouts. The most common skin allergens are:
• Cosmetics. Beauty products like makeup, or face and body creams.
• Nature Exposure. Plants like poison ivy, oak, sumac, and grass.
• Metals. Nickel and some other metals in jewelry.
The immune system can have a negative response to some medication. This outweighs the medicine’s perceived benefits. Symptoms generated by drug allergies are skin irritation or fever. Common drugs that provoke allergies tend to be:
• Local Anesthetics
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you think you are experiencing symptoms of allergies here are some tests to diagnose your allergies:
• Skin Prick Test. Designed to identify a particular allergic reaction. The test consists of applying different allergens in small amounts on the forearm. The doctor will prick the skin to set the allergens. The result will be allergy positive if the skin becomes irritated afterward.
• Patch Test. Intended for allergy symptoms that emerge up to three days after exposure. For one to two days, the patient has to wear patches, of the contained allergens, on their back. The test is positive if there is any reaction.
• Provocation Test. The doctor will expose the most sensitive area to the allergen. For example, if you have a respiratory allergy, doctors might use a spray containing the suspected allergen to provoke a reaction.
Once diagnosed, allergy treatments involve avoidance of exposure, or the use of prescribed medication. For a more permanent solution, there is immunotherapy. Immunotherapy occurs over the course of three to five years and aims to reduce your sensitivity to allergens. Immunotherapy is recommended for individuals who have trouble avoiding allergens, like pollen.
At BASS Advanced Urgent Care in Walnut Creek, our qualified medical staff have the experience to treat many allergic conditions. Throughout the year, your health is at our primary interest. Please contact us today to receive further information!