An allergy is an abnormal sensitivity or exaggerated reaction of the immune system to a substance, which, in the majority of people causes no symptoms at all. The substance that triggers the allergy is known as an allergen. Examples of allergens include tree, weed, grass, pollen, pet dander, insect venom, dust mites, mold, foods, latex, and drugs. The body’s immune system makes an antibody called IgE, in response to being exposed to an allergen. People with allergies, make IgE antibody that is specific for the allergen that they are allergic to, which then in turn can cause allergy symptoms. Symptoms associated with allergies are sneezing, itching, nasal congestion and drainage and are referred to as allergic rhinitis, or more commonly, hay fever. Eye itching and swelling are referred to as allergic conjunctivitis. Asthma, eczema, and hives can also be conditions associated with allergies.
Genetics play a major role in the development of allergies. If one parent has allergies, a child has a 40% chance of having allergies. If both parents have allergies, the risk is even greater. Even though children may be born with a predisposition to develop allergies, they do not always develop the same allergies as their parents.
Allergies can develop at any age with symptoms occurring later in life.
Children with allergies are also more likely to develop asthma. It is estimated that 80% of children with asthma have evidence of allergies. Therefore, recognizing and treating allergies can have a significant impact on reducing asthma symptoms.
Allergy tests, combined with the knowledge of your allergy specialist to interpret them, can give precise information as to what you are or are not allergic to. Testing done by an allergist is safe and effective for adults and children of all ages.
When it is found that an individual is allergic, therapy is began with the purpose of making symptoms less severe and occurring less frequently. Generally three modes of therapy are utilized:
Avoidance and elimination of the offending allergens are the ideal solutions in helping the allergic person prevent the occurrence of symptoms. Unfortunately, many allergens, such as pollens, house dust, and molds cannot be completely avoided. However, when specific allergens in the environment produce symptoms, these allergens should be eliminated. Specific methods of environmental control are described on separate forms.
Antihistamines, decongestants, bronchodilators, etc., are useful in the treatment of allergy, asthma, and other allergic disorders. It is best to start medication at the first sign of your symptoms, rather than waiting until the symptoms are severe and more difficult to control. Thereafter, medications should be taken regularly, as prescribed, as long as your symptoms persist. If new or unusual symptoms occur, consult your physician.
The purpose of immunizing injections is to make one less sensitive to unavoidable inhaled substances such as pollens, dust, and/or mold spores. These injections offer the only means by which the degree of sensitivity can be, in time, diminished. This therapy consists of injections. In most cases, the treated patient gains a resistance to the allergens, so that allergic symptoms are decreased or eliminated. The duration of extract injections depends largely on your progress. Generally, it is advisable to continue the injections for a minimum of three to five years, and go through six to twelve months essentially free of symptoms before stopping injections. Initially, allergy injections should be given twice weekly (unless otherwise indicated) for approximately three and one half (3 1/2) months. After this, they may be given every one to four weeks as determined by the benefit you receive from the injections.
DUST AND DUST MITE AVOIDANCE