Allergy Testing and Treatment
Allergies are a common problem affecting million of people worldwide. According to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, an estimated 50 million Americans suffer from all types of allergies (1 in 6 Americans) including indoor/outdoor, food & drug, latex, insect, skin and eye allergies. Allergy prevalence overall has been increasing since the early 1980s across all age, sex and racial groups.
Depending on the source and sensitivity, allergy can produce symptoms in eyes, nose, lungs, intestines, skin, or produce a severe systemic reaction called anaphylaxis.
It is important to investigate whether symptoms one is experiencing are due to allergic reaction or something else i.e. infections, non-allergic consequences of infections, medications, tumors, and other medical conditions. At Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center, we can help to find out if allergy is the cause of your problems and what allergen is causing the issue.
What is an Allergen?
Allergens are substances found in the environment we live in. For some people who are destined to develop allergies, the body immune system mistakes allergen for something harmful and body’s immune system responds to it by attacking the allergen, causing symptoms.
When someone is allergic to let’s say ragweed, he or she has IgE antibodies against ragweed and when ragweed enters the body, it attaches itself to IgE antibodies attached to special allergy cells called mast cells. This causes mast cells to release variety of chemicals including histamine. These chemicals irritate surrounding tissues to produce allergic symptoms.
Nasal Allergies vs. Rhinitis
Rhinitis is a term used to describe symptoms (runny nose, itchy nose, sneezing and stuffiness) caused by allergies, infections (called rhinosinusitis), non-allergic rhinitis with eosinophilia, vasomotor rhinitis and myriads of other conditions under the umbrella term rhinitis or non-allergic rhinitis. In order to properly treat someone with nasal symptoms, we need to evaluate them properly, do necessary testes and treat them accordingly.