When Do my Symptoms Warrant Seeing an Allergy Specialist?
Winter is a tricky time for allergies in Texas. You’re congested, have a headache, and feel fatigued, but could it possibly be a cold or the flu instead?
If you’ve been suffering from these and other symptoms for days on end, it’s time to make an appointment with an experienced allergy specialist to find out what’s making you feel under the weather.
What Are Allergies?
Allergies occur when the body’s immune system overreacts to a substance it sees as harmful. When those substances enter the body, the immune system produces antibodies (immunoglobulin) to attack the invading threat. The result is bothersome, and in some cases, life-threatening, symptoms caused by the release these of antibodies.
Anyone can have allergies regardless of age, race or gender. While children suffer the most, allergies can strike anyone at any time. Occasionally, a child will outgrow their allergies only to have them reoccur in adulthood.
One in every five people suffers from allergies. It’s one of the most chronic and common conditions in the United States. The most prevalent allergies include:
- Food – nuts, shellfish, soy, milk, eggs, and more
- Insect bites – bees, fire ants, cockroaches and dust mites
- Mold and mildew
- Pet dander
What Are the Symptoms of Allergies?
Allergy symptoms can happen anywhere in the body. However, the most common sites are where immune system cells are located to attack invaders that touch the skin, are inhaled, or swallowed. A visit to an allergy specialist can pinpoint what you are allergic to and set you on the path to managing your symptoms.
Common allergic reactions include:
- Hay Fever/Allergic Rhinitis – This is a generic term for allergic reactions in the nose. Symptoms include a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, and itching of the eyes, nose and roof of the mouth. Pollen is the number one trigger of these symptoms during the spring, summer and fall, but if you have them all year, you could also be allergic to dust mites, pet dander or mold.
- Skin Allergies – Also called contact dermatitis, you may develop hives or eczema from handling certain items. A reaction may be immediate or take hours to develop. Common skin allergens are poison ivy, medication, insect bites, pet dander, food or household chemicals.
- Asthma – This condition occurs when the lining of the bronchial tubes inflame and muscle spasms prevent air from reaching the lungs. An asthma attack can be a dangerous, life-threatening situation. Symptoms of an asthma attack include tightening of the chest, wheezing, coughing, and clogged airways. An allergy specialist can diagnose asthma and prescribe medication to manage asthma symptoms.
- Anaphylaxis – This rare, life-threatening condition can attack several parts of the body at once. Triggers might include medication, eating nuts, or insect bites. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, drop in blood pressure, hives or skin redness, tongue swelling, difficulty breathing, and loss of consciousness. Call 911 immediately for emergency treatment if you experience these symptoms. If you’re at risk for anaphylaxis, an allergy specialist can prescribe an epinephrine injector to reduce these life-threatening symptoms.
When Should I See an Allergy Specialist?
An allergy specialist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating allergies and asthma. An allergy specialist is the absolute best source of knowledge and treatment options for allergy patients.
Visit an allergy specialist if you have the following conditions or symptoms:
- Chronic sinus infections
- Difficulty breathing
- Chronic hay fever
- Inability to control your symptoms with over-the-counter medication
- Wheezing or coughing at night or after exercising
- Frequently out of breath
- Feel tightness in your chest
- Decreased quality of life
- Asthma management medications are not working
Where Can I Find Allergy Testing?
At Lakeside Allergy ENT, our board-certified specialists diagnose and treat conditions of the ear, nose and throat. Treatment includes allergy testing to discover exactly what your allergy triggers are and how to effectively treat them. If you believe you are suffering from allergies, call us for an appointment today at 972-771-5443 or request an appointment on our home page.