A-Choose Allergy Treatments!
You go outside as the weather begins to change. The cold bite of winter has left the air and things are beginning to grow again. But there it is. You see it. A yellow powder covering your car. Pollen. You run back inside, but it’s too late. You’ve been exposed. Your nose starts to run and you begin to sneeze. It’s that time of year again: Allergy season.
Or maybe your eyes water and itch whenever you’re around an animal, or you swell up badly if you eat a certain food or get stung by a bee. All of these are allergies too. But what exactly are allergies and why do some people have them and others don’t?
Well, it all depends on your immune system. Some people’s immune systems are more sensitive to some substances than the immune systems of other people. Your best friend may be able to pick a flower and enjoy the smell, or pet a dog and suffer no consequences, but doing either of those things may trigger a reaction in you. This just means that your immune system is weaker to these allergens than your friend’s. When your immune system senses these substances that it thinks are harmful it produces a chemical called histamine to counteract them. This is why most allergy sufferers get a runny noses, itchy or watery eyes, or even swell up when they come in contact with an allergen.
Some allergies are only active during certain times of the year, such as pollen allergies. But others, such as pet allergies, dust allergies, food allergies, and insect allergies are year round. People with these annual allergies need to take precautions to avoid the substances that cause them to have an allergic reaction.
Sadly, there is no prevention for allergies. Once tested though, you will know what environmental allergens to avoid to keep your allergies from acting up. Although, immunotherapy can help you gradually build up an immunity to some allergens. You will never be completely immune, but immunotherapy treatments can help you not react so severely in future interactions with those allergens. As your body is building up the immunity you will still suffer from common allergy symptoms. This isn’t something that is just going to miraculously work overnight, but you should start seeing improvements pretty quickly. Treatments are quite effective as 85% of patients who go through immunotherapy find symptom relief from their environmental allergies. The key word here is environmental. Immunotherapy will not treat allergies to food, venoms, medications, heavy metals, or latex. If you suffer from allergies to pollen, certain trees and grasses, dust, mold, pet fur, or pet dander then you should find some relief from these treatments.
HealthCARE Express offers immunotherapy all year round, so you can come get your treatments at any time of year to get prepared for the upcoming year. Anyone ages two and up can receive treatment (depending on medical history and doctor’s orders, of course). They offer both blood testing and skin prick testing for allergies, as well. The skin prick testing is more accurate than the blood test and is easily performed. The skin on the arm or back is simply scraped with a small comb hosting different types of allergens. After about 15 minutes areas on the skin will begin to raise into a little bump, much like a mosquito bite, in reaction to whatever allergen you are allergic to.
Allergy medications, steroids (oral and injected), H2 blockers (Pepcid, antacids, etc.), and tricyclic antidepressants can hinder an allergy test, so let a HealthCARE Express provider know if you are taking any of these before you get an allergy test done.
Luckily, allergy testing and immunotherapy won’t affect your daily life or routine. There are safety guidelines, however, that you should follow during injection days to minimize possible reactions, but those are discussed during consultation.