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Comprehensive Diagnosis of Allergies & Asthma

Suffering from allergies and the unpleasant symptoms they produce, such as sneezing, runny nose, rashes, or swelling, can be more than just a nuisance. Managing allergies can be very frustrating, and some allergies are life-threatening without prompt medical treatment. However, by developing a solid relationship with a trusting healthcare team, you can lessen the impact allergies have on your life.

What Is an Allergy?

Allergic reactions cause the body’s immune system to respond abnormally to harmless substances, which are called allergens. While the immune system is supposed to respond to foreign substances it detects as harmful, sometimes normal and harmless substances are identified as an outside invader, and the body attacks it. Common allergens include pollen, mold, animal dander, dust mites, specific foods, and certain medications. Some allergens travel through the air and are inhaled, which causes respiratory and nasal symptoms. Allergies can appear at any time in your life.

Ingested allergens can cause gastrointestinal or systemic problems. If you suspect you have a food allergy, your doctor will ask you to keep a food diary of everything you eat and to note any symptoms you experience from eating specific foods. Common food allergens include wheat (gluten intolerance), nuts, dairy products (lactose intolerance), and egg allergies.

Common allergy types include:

  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Animal venom
  • Food allergies
  • Hay fever
  • Insect bites
  • Latex allergies
  • Skin allergies
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Angioedema
  • Skin allergies
  • And more

Allergy Treatment

By learning your allergy triggers, you will be less likely to face symptoms they produce. You may not even be aware you have an allergy, only that you are experiencing symptoms that interfere with your daily life. Allergy diagnosis starts with a medical history, having a thorough physical exam, and speaking with your doctor about your symptoms and possible triggers.

Treatment for allergies includes:

  • Identifying and avoiding allergens
  • Taking medication to reduce your immune system response to allergens, including antihistamines, corticosteroids, and others
  • Allergen immunotherapy, which involves several injections that helps your body acclimate to your allergy
  • Emergency epinephrine (“EpiPen”) to reverse anaphylactic shock

How Can I Limit My Exposure to Allergens?

Unfortunately, allergies cannot be prevented, but there are ways to avoid the symptoms. Your doctor will advise you on where your allergens are located and how you can effectively limit your exposure to them. For instance, if you have a pollen allergy (commonly called hay fever), you can look up the daily pollen count on the news to check and adequately prepare yourself. Most allergies are manageable by practicing avoidance, taking prescribed medications, and making lifestyle changes.

Do you think you may have allergies? Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care can help. We offer 24/7 medical care at our emergency room/urgent care clinic. No prior appointments are needed.