Despite the groundhog’s best efforts to delay it, it looks like Spring is just around the corner. The warmer weather and budding leaves make us happy but they can also bring a boat load of allergies. No worries – we are here to help.
Allergies can be tricky. You may grow out of the ones you had as a child. You may develop new ones as adults. It may seem that you are allergic to everything in the wind one year, but barely sneeze the next year. How on earth are you supposed to know what is making you so miserable? Easy- the doctors at AG Urgent Care and allergy tests.
Our allergist can help you understand the signs, symptoms and potential causes of your specific allergies. We can conduct allergy tests to decode your allergies and provide targeted relief. Here’s what you need to know about allergies, why they help you keep the tissue companies in business, and how we can help.
If you are allergic, you have lots of company.
According to the Allergy & Asthma Network, as many as 50 million people in the US suffer from allergies. Everything from plant pollen and pet dander to dust mites and peanuts sets off wheezing, sneezing, coughing and inflamed airways. When you are allergic to something, the lining of the airways in your mouth and nose become inflamed. The tiny hairs that act like brooms to sweep allergens out of your airways become clogged with mucus and fluid and you develop the classic symptoms of runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy, watery eyes and postnasal drip.
The most common allergies are:
- Food allergies
- Seasonal allergies to tree, grass or weed pollens or outdoor mold
- Environmental allergies to indoor allergens such as dust mites, mold and cockroaches
- Pet allergies
- Skin allergies, including eczema and hives
- Insect sting allergies
- Latex allergy
- Medication allergies, such as penicillin or sulfa drugs
How do you know what you are allergic to? (Our allergists are great detectives,)
In many cases, the only way you will know if you have a long lasting allergy is to have an allergy test. If eating strawberries repeatedly makes your mouth itch, you should know if that is an allergy that may become worse. If your child breaks out in hives around the holidays, is it nerves or is it an allergy to a traditional holiday food? It’s important to know so that you can be vigilant in avoiding the cause of the allergy.
First our allergists act like great detectives, gathering information from you with a series of questions. The more information our doctors have, the more quickly they can diagnose your specific allergies. Things the allergist will consider include:
- Family history of allergies and allergic diseases, such as asthma or eczema
- Personal history of allergy symptoms
- Personal health history
- Home and work environments, hobbies and activities that might expose you to allergens or irritants
- Physical exam of eyes, ears, nose, lungs, heart
- Allergy skin or blood tests
Then A & G Allergy specialists will perform a quick allergy test for children and adults – skin testing, also known as the pin prick test. In this test our clinician will place a small drop of the suspected allergen onto your skin and then scratch the skin through the drop. If you are allergic, then you will develop a reaction at that small site on the skin in about 15 minutes. Our clinicians will combine this test with your medical history and sometimes a physical exam to come up with the best treatment plan for your allergies. Thankfully, there are many ways to treat allergies. Once our detective allergists know precisely what is causing your allergy, they will discuss effective treatment options with you.
You may not be able to eat strawberries any more, but you should be able to walk the dog and play sports whenever you like. Your child should be safe from potentially dangerous allergies and enjoy playing outside. We will help you pursue the lifestyle you enjoy, without pockets full of tissues, runny noses and watery eyes!