An allergy is a hypersensitive immune response to a particular substance. Many different types of allergies exist, falling into the following broad categories: nasal allergies, eye allergies, skin allergies, food allergies, and insect/venom allergy.
The immune system is the body’s first line of defense against germs and bacteria. Comprised of cells, proteins, tissues and organs, it is essential in maintaining your health and preventing infections. When a threat is perceived, the immune system responds by attacking the substances that are invading the body.
Allergies are the result of the immune system responding in an overactive manner. When an allergen is encountered, antibodies—proteins designed to protect against foreign invaders—are produced. They trigger the release of histamines among other mediators, which are responsible for the telltale symptoms of allergies: swelling, inflammation, itching, and mucus production.
Nasal and Eye Allergies
Nasal allergy symptoms include nasal congestion, postnasal drainage, sneezing, nasal itching, runny nose, and watery/itchy eyes. These can be caused by "aero-allergens" such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mold. Allergy testing can identify what you are allergic to in order to avoid the allergen and treat it properly with medications and/or immunotherapy.
Skin allergies can present in the form of eczema, urticaria, also known as hives, or contact dermatitis. Our allergists will carefully evaluate patients to find out what is triggering these symptoms and how to treat them.
Symptoms of an insect/venom allergy can include swelling, sensation of throat closure, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, cough, hives, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and flushed sensation. These symptoms require prompt treatment as they can be life-threatening. Proper management includes identifying the trigger, avoiding it, having an emergency action plan in case of accidental exposure, and treating the condition with venom immunotherapy.
Symptoms include lip/tongue swelling, sensation of throat closing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, cough, hives, dizziness, and becoming flushed. These symptoms require prompt treatment as they can be life-threatening. Proper management includes identifying the trigger, avoiding it, and having an emergency action plan in case of accidental exposure. In addition, we can use venom immunotherapy to desensitize your body to the allergen.
Footnote: 5 Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America