Allergy Specialists In Houston
What are allergies?
Allergic reactions happen when the immune system reacts to harmless things such as dust, mold, pollen, or food, collectively called allergens.
What causes allergies?
Allergens can be breathed, swallowed, or come in contact with the skin. The body produces an antibody called immunoglobulin E or IgE. They target these Allergens to trigger the release of inflammatory chemicals such as histamine, cytokines, and leukotrienes. These chemicals then cause allergy symptoms.
The most common allergens are:
The most common allergens are:
- Household dust, dust mites and their waste
- Animal dander, urine, or oil from skin
- Chemicals used for manufacturing
- Bee stings
- Cockroaches and their waste
Allergy Clinic Houston About Who Is At Risk For Allergies?
Allergies can affect anyone at any age or come back after many years of remission.
Allergies often run in families. In sensitive people, hormones, stress, smoke, perfume, or other environmental irritants may also play a role. Allergy symptoms often grow slowly over time.
You may become used to constant symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, or wheezing. You may not think that the symptoms are abnormal. But these symptoms can often be stopped or controlled with the help of a doctor who specializes in treating allergies (allergist).
What are allergy symptoms?
Symptoms will differ based on the type and amount of allergen you have encountered. It also depends on how your body's immune system reacts to that allergen.
An allergic reaction can happen anywhere in the body. This includes the skin, eyes, stomach lining, nose, sinuses, throat, and lungs. Allergic reactions can cause these symptoms:
- Stuffy nose, sneezing, itching, or runny nose, and itching in ears or roof of the mouth
- Red, itchy, watery eyes
- Red, itchy, dry skin
- Itchy rash
- Asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing
- Anaphylaxis, a severe, life-threatening reaction
- The symptoms of allergy sometimes look like other conditions or health problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How are allergies diagnosed?
To diagnose an allergy, professionals at health care in Houston will give you an exam and review your health history. They may also do these tests:
- Skin test. This is the most common allergy test. Skin tests measure if there are IgE antibodies to specific allergens such as foods, pollens, or animal dander. A small amount of diluted allergen is placed on the skin. The area is pricked or scratched. A small raised bump (like a mosquito bite) will appear after about 15 minutes if you are allergic to the allergen. Testing for many allergens can be done at the same time. An allergist may also do an intradermal test. This test injects a small amount of allergen just under the skin. This type of skin testing is more sensitive than prick or scratch testing. Skin test results are available right after the testing is done.
- Blood test. Blood tests for allergies measure IgE antibodies to specific allergens in the blood. The most often used test is called RAST (radioallergosorbent test). Or a newer blood test called an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) might be done. Blood tests may be used when skin tests can't be done, for example, in people with particular skin conditions or a recent severe allergic reaction. A positive blood test does not always mean that you have a specific allergy. These tests take longer and may be more expensive than skin tests.
- Challenge test. Challenge tests may be done when it is unclear what allergen triggers your symptoms. It is often done to prevent possible medicine or food allergies. You may breathe in a very small amount of allergen for the test. Or you may take a minimal amount of the allergen by mouth. You will be watched closely by a healthcare provider during this test.
See your healthcare provider for any positive test results. He or she can tell you about the tests and knows your health history.
How Are Allergies Treated At An Allergy Clinic In Houston?
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Allergy shots (immunotherapy) and medicine are effective ways to treat allergies.
Allergy shots (immunotherapy)
Allergy shots (immunotherapy) treat people with hay fever (allergic rhinitis), conjunctivitis, or asthma. They are also used for people with a stinging insect allergy (bee venom allergy). A mixture of the many allergens to which you are allergic is made. It is injected into your arm every week until a maximum dose is reached. Then the number of injections is decreased over time.
Most people get better with allergy shots. It often takes about 12 to 18 months before you notice a clear reduction in symptoms. Some people see improvement in 6 to 8 months.
Allergy shots are only part of the treatment plan for people with allergies. It takes time for allergy shots to become effective. So, you will need to stay on the allergy medicines as prescribed by your healthcare provider. It is also essential to control your surroundings' allergens (such as dust mites).
A newer type of immunotherapy is called SLIT (sublingual immunotherapy). It can be taken by mouth daily at home. It is an effective alternative to allergy shots. But it is currently only available for a few allergens.
Medicines Recommended By Allergy Specialists In Houston
For people who suffer from allergies, many medicines work well. Nasal sprays work to decrease nasal congestion, stuffiness, and post-nasal drip. Antihistamines are helpful for itchiness and hives. Decongestants treat stuffiness in the nose and other symptoms linked to colds and allergies. But overuse of decongestants can be linked to rebound congestion or high blood pressure. Using medicines for asthma or allergy breathing symptoms is tailored for each person based on the severity of the symptoms.
Talk with you? Healthcare provider for more information about allergy medicines.
What are the possible complications of allergies?
Anaphylactic shock or anaphylaxis can happen in extreme cases. Anaphylaxis is a severe and life-threatening reaction to certain allergens. Body tissues may swell, including tissues in the throat. It can also cause a sudden drop in blood pressure. Anaphylaxis symptoms include:
- Itching and hives over most of the body
- Throat and tongue swelling
- Stomach cramps, nausea, or diarrhea
- Loss of consciousness
An allergic reaction to a medicine, food, serum, bug venom, allergen extract, or chemical can cause anaphylaxis. Pollen, pets, dust, and mold allergies are unlikely to cause anaphylaxis. Some people aware of their allergic reactions or allergies carry epinephrine autoinjectors. This medicine can be used to treat severe allergic reactions. It can also prevent anaphylactic shock from foods, stinging insects, and other allergens. It does this by improving circulation, contracting blood vessels, and opening the airways in the lungs. It also increases the rate and force of the heartbeat.
Living with allergies
Staying away from allergens is a very effective way to treat allergies. Tips for avoiding allergens include:
- Stay indoors when the pollen count is high and on windy days.
- Control dust in your home, particularly the bedroom.
- Remove carpets, blinds, down-filled blankets or pillows, and closets filled with clothes when possible.
- Wash bedding, curtains, and clothing often in hot water to eliminate dust mites.
- Use dust mite covers over your mattress and pillow.
- Use air conditioning instead of opening the windows.
- Put a dehumidifier in damp parts of the home. But remember to clean it often.
- Wear face masks when working in the yard.
- Go on vacation by the beach during the heaviest part of the pollen season.
- Your?healthcare provider will also have suggestions for staying away from the allergens that cause reactions.
Key points about allergies
- An allergy is a reaction caused when the immune system mistakenly thinks a normally harmless substance is harming the body.
- Allergens can be breathed, swallowed, or enter through the skin.
- Allergies can affect anyone at any age. They often run in families. But the exact family links that cause allergies aren’t fully understood.
- An allergic reaction can occur anywhere in the body. Symptoms can include stuffy nose, sneezing, watery eyes, hives, and itchy rash.
- Anaphylactic shock (anaphylaxis) can happen in extreme cases. Anaphylaxis is a serious, life-threatening reaction to certain allergens.
- The most effective ways to treat allergies are staying away from allergens, getting allergy shots (immunotherapy), and taking medicine.
If you need further information and obtain a second opinion please download the app "Obur Health PA" from the App Store or call 832-730-4479