woman with allergies

What are Allergies?

You suffer from allergies. You know what triggers your symptoms. But what exactly are allergies? Allergies begin at your genetic makeup. Your genetics determine how your immune system produces antibodies to defend itself against foreign substances. Our immune systems often work well and keep us safe and properly defend us from all types of infection.

However, our immune systems do make mistakes and, in some people, a harmless substance can cause the immune system to trigger a response. These harmless substances that trigger an allergic reaction are called allergens. Anytime your body recognizes that your specific allergen has entered your body it will stimulate the immune system to release certain chemicals that cause your symptoms.

We can help diagnose and provide you with a treatment plan that can help you reduce or eliminate your symptoms.

What are Some Examples of Allergies?

There are tons of different allergens out there but there are some common allergens that are far more prevalent than the others, including:

Food Allergy- Food intolerances or allergies are one of the most common types of allergies out there. The top food allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, soy, milk, eggs, wheat, fish, and shellfish.

Insect Stings or Bites - Insect allergies can occur due to an insect bite to sting. Some non-biting insects like cockroaches or dust mites can even cause an allergic reaction from just being around. 

Inhalants - Another common allergen is inhalants. Some things that can cause an allergic reaction when inhaled include pollens, pet dander, dust mites, fungus, and mold spores.

Contact Allergies - An allergic reaction from contact can cause skin rashes and itchiness. Common contact allergens include certain plants, cosmetics, soaps, and latex.

Medicines - Reaction to medications is usually considered non-allergic but allergic reactions to medications do occur. No matter if it is a non-allergic or allergic reaction a reaction to medication can still be severe.

Severe Allergic Reactions: Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis symptoms include severe shortness of breath, swollen tongue or throat, itchy rash, a drop in blood pressure, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. The best quick treatment for anaphylaxis is an epinephrine injection so it is wise to carry an EpiPen® or other brands with you at all times if you suffer from severe reactions. It is also recommended that you seek further medical attention after the injection.

Common Symptoms of Allergies

No two people are the same but there are some common allergy symptoms to look for if you think you are suffering. 

  • Itchiness
  • Mucous membrane irritation(Allergic Rhinitis)
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Increased heart rate
  • Vomiting

Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis is when the body reacts to non-infectious particles in the air such as mold, dust mites, pollen, animal hair/dander, chemicals, smoke, and more. An allergic rhinitis reaction usually results in sinus symptoms like sneezing, congestion, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes.

Allergic Rhinitis Can Be Caused by Seasonal Allergies
Some allergens occur more often during certain times of the year because certain plants and trees are in bloom.

  • Late March and Early April - Pollen from trees can cause issues during this time
  • Spring and late summer - During these times is when hayfever (hypersensitivity to ragweed) runs rampant.
  • October through November - The falling leaves create damp dark environments in which mold allergens can flourish during this time.

Rhinitis Can Also Be Year-Round
Perennial allergic rhinitis happens all year long and can be due to things like pet allergies, plants, mold, and more.

If you notice any of the above symptoms or think you are suffering from allergic rhinitis you should schedule with an ENT specialist to be professionally tested.

Allergy Testing

At Sinus and Nasal Specialists of Louisiana, we can test your allergens using a variety of methods including skin testing and blood tests. It is important to get tested at an ENT's office to best figure out what type of allergy you are suffering from. ENT's can give a better overall exam to ensure that there are no underlying causes of sinus pain such as a nasal blockage.

Allergy Treatment Options

Oftentimes people with allergies don't think there is anything they can do about them other than taking medication to help control the symptoms and avoiding exposure but at Sinus and Nasal Specialists of Louisiana, we offer treatment plans that can help reduce or even eliminate your symptoms. We offer allergen immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots and drops.

Get the Allergy Treatment You Deserve

If you are a person who is suffering from chronic sinus pain we can get to the root of the problem whether it be allergies or something else. It's time you got an effective treatment plan that can have you feeling better in no time.

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