What Are Allergies?
Allergies are the reactions your body experiences in response to certain foods or other substances. But while the concept may seem straightforward, there are many types of allergies, and yes, their symptoms can vary. For Atlanta adults and children with allergies, understanding your allergy and how it works can be the start of a successful treatment plan.
Why Do We Experience Allergic Reactions?
The immune system is the collection of cells, organs and chemicals that fight against infections. An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system incorrectly identifies a substance as being harmful and attacks it. Substances that trigger this response are called allergens, and they enter the body via swallowing, inhalation, injection or direct contact with the eyes, skin or nasal pathways.
A person without allergies can eat foods or inhale pollen, and their body recognizes they are not at risk. But for an allergic person, the perceived threat leads to the symptoms of an allergy. The varying severity of an allergic reaction makes allergies unpredictable and potentially dangerous – and therefore requiring assessment, diagnosis and treatment.
What Are the Main Types of Allergies?
- Food – Including peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, wheat, soy.
- Pollen – Grass and tree pollen can cause hay fever.
- Pet dander – Small flakes of skin or hair from an animal.
- Medicine – Various antibiotics can cause allergic reactions.
- Insect bites – Bites and stings from bees and other insects.
- Chemicals – Many chemicals found in regular household products.
- Mold – Mold spores in the nasal cavities and lungs.
- Latex – The material may cause skin rashes and hives.
The reactions to the allergen vary based on the severity of the allergy, and so do the allergy treatment options.
What Are the Common Allergy Symptoms?
Most allergy symptoms are experienced minutes after coming into contact with the allergen. Look out for some of the following signs of an allergic reaction.
- Runny or blocked nose
- Skin rash
- Swelling on the face and lips
- Itchy eyes
A less common but more severe reaction is anaphylaxis. This type of response is potentially life-threatening, and fast action is critical for preventing possible cardiac arrest and other complications. Anaphylaxis may result in the same common symptoms along with dizziness, disorientation and difficulty breathing. Fortunately, an epinephrine auto-injector can provide a quick recovery and prevent serious illness.
How Can You Treat Allergies?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for an allergy. Some allergies go away as a child grows up, while others can be treated using allergy shots and oral immunotherapy treatment. Start the process of treatment with a consultation at your Georgia allergist. Allergy testing will identify exactly what allergens you need to be wary of, and an effective treatment plan can then be formulated.
Get Effective Treatment for Allergies
If you are experiencing the symptoms of an allergy, it is vital that you are diagnosed by an experienced allergist. Dr. Chacko provides allergy testing and treatment from the Chacko Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center locations in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth and Johns Creek. For an appointment, call 678-668-4688 or contact us online.