How Do I know I have an Allergy?

Sponsored By: Charleston ENT

Sponsored by: Charleston ENT & Allergy

The most common signs of allergies are itchy and watery eyes or an itchy nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, throat tightness and trouble breathing. Repeated sinus infections and ear infection can also be related to allergic disease.

In rare cases, if the sensitivity to an allergen is extreme, an adult or child may experience anaphylaxis, a sudden, severe allergic reaction involving various systems in the body (such as the skin, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and cardiovascular system).

Severe reactions to any allergen which require immediate medical attention include:

  • difficulty breathing
  • swelling (particularly of the face, throat, lips, and tongue in cases of food allergies)
  • rapid drop in blood pressure
  • dizziness
  • unconsciousness
  • hives
  • tightness of the throat
  • hoarse voice
  • lightheadedness

If you or someone you know are experiencing any of these symptoms, please seek emergency medical attention immediately.

What Are Some Common Treatments?

Not all allergies can be cured, but it is commonly possible to relieve symptoms. The easiest way is to reduce or eliminate one's exposure to allergens. If reducing exposure isn't possible or effective, medications to treat the patient's symptoms may be prescribed. These may include a combination of over the counter and prescription medicines. Some patients have symptoms that are best managed with daily use of medicines, others can control their symptoms by taking medicines only during the seasons or around exposures that affect them most.

In some cases, your provider may recommend immunotherapy (allergy shots or allergy drops). During immunotherapy, a patient receives consistent doses of the allergen to which they are allergic. This dose is increased slowly over time until a maintenance dose is achieved. Patients often will feel improvement in their symptoms after 2-4 months of treatment. However, it is important to remain on immunotherapy for at least 3-5 years to obtain the best long term benefit. In fact, some allergy patients control their symptoms best by remaining on immunotherapy for several years.

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