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Allergies occur when a foreign substance, such as pollen, causes an unnecessary immune system reaction.
Your immune system is responsible for protecting you from viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens that would cause an infection or otherwise harm your body. Allergies develop when your immune system reacts to a substance that wouldn’t cause any harm as though it’s a pathogen. The substance that causes the reaction is known as an “allergen.”
When you encounter an allergen, your immune system begins to attack it. During this process, your body releases chemicals that cause allergy symptoms.
The specific symptoms you’ll experience when you encounter an allergen depend on the type of allergen. For example, if the allergen is inhaled, you may experience:
If the allergen is something you eat or drink, you may experience:
If the allergen is something you touch, such as latex, you’ll probably get an itchy rash.
Asthma is a condition that causes your airways to produce too much mucus and become too narrow. Without treatment, asthma can be very serious and even life-threatening during severe attacks. Many people who have allergies also have asthma, but these conditions can also occur apart from each other.
Quality Urgent Care and Sleep Lab offers allergy testing to patients who suffer from allergy symptoms. The most common type of allergy test is a skin test. During this test, your skin will be scratched in several places and a drop of different allergens will be placed in each scratch. Your doctor can determine which allergens cause your symptoms based on the reaction you have to each allergen.
To evaluate patients for asthma, your doctor may recommend several tests, including spirometry, a peak flow test, or a methacholine challenge.
If you have allergies, you may need medication to control your symptoms. If your allergies are still bothersome, immunotherapy may also help. During immunotherapy, your doctor injects you with a purified form of the allergen over a period of several months. That helps your immune system get accustomed to the substance, thus reducing your allergic reaction to it over time.
If you have asthma, certain medications can keep your symptoms in check, but you’ll also need a rescue inhaler to help you during attacks.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!