An allergy is the immune system’s response to a particular substance—such as pollen, pet dander, or shellfish—that the body can’t tolerate. If you’re allergic to any of these allergens, your reaction to them may be mild or serious. Here’s what you should know about what causes allergies and how family doctors treat patients who develop them.
What to Know About Allergies
Why Do They Develop?
In the United States, millions of adults and children experience allergies. If you have an allergy, your body reacts to the presence of allergens by releasing infection-fighting antibodies into your blood.
You may sneeze, experience breathing difficulties, or develop itchy rashes because antibodies are trying to protect you from substances they think are harmful. When the lungs tighten in response to exposure to an irritating allergen, a patient experiences asthma—a chronic disease that makes it hard to breathe.
When Do They Develop?
Some allergies are not present year-round and develop seasonally. They’re associated with environmental triggers present at specific times of the year, producing symptoms similar to common colds.
For example, when it’s humid outside, mold spores spread more rapidly. If you have an allergy to mold, you may have a runny nose, watery eyes, and an itchy throat in the summer.
How Are They Diagnosed?
A family doctor will ask questions about symptoms and occurrences and order tests to measure the number of certain kinds of antibodies in your bloodstream. They may also order skin-prick tests to confirm an allergy. After testing, a physician will decide on a course of treatment, such as a nasal spray or monthly shot.
How Are They Treated?
There is no cure for allergies, but they can be managed by avoiding the allergens that cause them. For example, if you’re allergic to peanuts, don’t ingest them.
Family doctors also control allergies with medication and desensitization therapies. When you use an inhaler to reduce wheezing, for example, you take in medicine that causes airways to relax, allowing air to move freely in and out of your lungs.
If you need a family doctor to diagnose or treat your allergies, contact HDR Healthcare Network. They provide high-quality medical care to adults and kids in the Bronx, NY. Visit them online to learn more about their pediatric and adult services, or call (929) 256-5005 speak with one of their health care professionals in English or Spanish.