When Should I Have Allergy Testing
If you cant avoid the allergen and medications arent controlling your symptoms, Dr. Deutsch recommends allergy testing to find out whether the symptoms are an actual allergy or they are caused by other problems.
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“We do intradermal skin endpoint titration. This type of testing is more precise and gives us a starting point to begin immunotherapy ,” Dr. Deutsch explains. Intradermal skin endpoint titration is a form of intradermal testing to determine the amount of an allergen that will be tolerated in immunotherapy.
From there, you will begin allergy shot treatment. Through allergy shots, you are administered small doses of the allergen to help your body develop immunity to whatever youre allergic to.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
Seasonal allergies are a fact of life for many people, but effective treatments are available. If you havent spoken with your healthcare provider about your allergies before, its a good time to have the conversation. If you notice changes to your allergy symptoms or the times you experience seasonal allergies, you should also talk with your healthcare provider.
Any time you’re experiencing facial or throat swelling, trouble breathing, or any other concerning symptoms, call 911 or seek medical help immediately.
Things To Try If Your Allergies Are Worse Than Ever This Year
If youre really feeling it this allergy season, well, gesundheit. From sneezing to congestion to itchy eyeballs to a relentless runny nose, there are plenty of signs that allergy season is upon us and youre unfortunately one of its victims.
There are a host of factors that affect the strength allergy season not just from year to year, but from day to day, saidLuz Fonacier, an allergist and immunologist and president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Among these factors are climate change, rainfall and even wind.
Since so many factors contribute to high pollen counts, its all but impossible to predict how intense an allergy season will be, Fonacier told HuffPost. In addition to taking steps to limit your exposure to allergens that affect you, seeing an allergist before the season starts can also help ensure you find relief.
For many, the last few weeks have been miserable. Before reaching for over-the-counter allergy relief, its important to get a diagnosis, Fonacier said. An allergist has advanced training and experience to properly diagnose your condition, identify your triggers and prescribe an allergy treatment and management plan to help you feel better and live better.
So on your next trip to the pharmacy, be ready. The following tips and items may help mitigate the many annoyances that come with seasonal allergies, so they might be worth a try.
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Consider A Mediterranean Diet
There is some research to support the idea that adhering to a Mediterranean diet increases a person’s chance of controlling their asthma, according to a 2013 report in the Journal of Asthma. This diet includes lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, fish, and olive oil, with a lesser amount of meat.
When To Call A Doctor
If you find that you are getting sick frequently or are regularly experiencing symptoms like coughing, congestion, or difficulty breathing, you may want to talk with your doctor.
You should also consider consulting your doctor if you feel that your allergies are interfering with your daily life or if OTC medications are no longer able to help you manage your symptoms.
Your allergist can help you develop a plan tailored to your needs and evaluate which treatment method is right for you.
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Natural Allergy Relief Options
What helps relieve allergies fast? Watching what you eat, getting plenty of fresh air and drinking enough water are some of the natural remedies that can relieve allergies by improving functions of the immune system.
It may take several weeks for your symptoms to subside, but they are likely to be better kept under control when you tackle the root causes. Here are nine ways to get natural allergy relief.
1. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory, Alkaline Diet
First and foremost, start eating an anti-inflammatory diet to reduce your risk for allergies and many other health problems. Caring for your body with nutrient-dense foods gives your immune system the ability to repair itself, bringing it back into balance so it can fight off common allergies in your environment.
Here are some of the best foods and ingredients to incorporate into your diet to help you beat allergies:
Although its not abundant in many foods, vitamin D is also important for immune function and may help manage allergy symptoms. In fact, certain studies have shown that children who live farther from the equator are more likely to develop allergies and suffer higher rates of hospital admissions due to allergic reactions.
You can get enough vitamin D by spending about 15 minutes in the sun most days without sunscreen and by eating foods like whole milk and some mushrooms for natural allergy relief.
2. Local Raw Honey
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
5. Neti Pot
6. Stinging Nettle
Talk With Your Doctor About Seasonal Allergy Testing Or Allergy Shots
Allergy testing can help your care provider diagnose your exact allergies and come up with a treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms.
Allergy tests are pretty simple. The tests are performed on your skin at a clinic that offers allergy testing. This determines what allergens are causing your symptoms.
Depending on how severe your allergies appear to be, your doctor may recommend immunotherapy with allergy shots to help reduce and maybe even eliminate your bodys reaction to environmental allergens.
These shots help teach your body to not be allergic and are given over the course of a couple of years until a target dose is reached. Once the right dosage has been reached, your doctor will work with you on a maintenance schedule.
Allergy shots are the most effective way of treating allergies and work better than most prescription medications. A course of allergy shots can give you long-term symptom relief that could last for 5-10 years. Many people have symptom relief the rest of their life. You can discuss the cost of allergy shots with your insurance provider.
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Know The Signs Of Allergies
A sudden sign that you might have a severe allergy often comes after a meal, particularly when you are trying a food for the first time. The interaction mechanism is so sensitive that minute quantities of the allergen can cause itching and swelling, usually around the face, neck and mouth. This can distinguish an allergy from an intolerance, which usually presents with gastrointestinal symptoms.
Seasonal changes can also bring on allergic rhinitis . Many people self-manage this with antihistamines, but on some occasions, will feel completely overwhelmed by their symptoms. This can occur when you’re heavily exposed to allergens that your body reacts strongly against. The key to managing them is identifying your triggers.
How To Deal With Allergies
Letâs say you have itchy, watery eyes every spring, and testing has confirmed what youâve long suspected: You have a pollen allergy. Coming up with a treatment plan may seem daunting at first, since pollen is everywhere. That said, it is possible to minimize symptoms of just about any allergyâincluding environmental allergiesâwith or without medications. Hereâs some helpful information on how to keep allergies from slowing you down.
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Ask Your Doctor About Allergy Shots
Allergy shots can provide relief for a variety of different allergy issues.
This treatment involves injecting yourself with small amounts of allergens over months and years to slowly reduce acclimate your body to the allergen and reduce symptoms.
Allergy shots are often effective for seasonal allergies and even life threatening allergic conditions. However, this method cannot be used to treat food allergies.
There is a chance of an allergic reaction being triggered by these shots, but this only occurs for one percent of all shots.
Consult your medical professional to determine whether these shot treatments would be effective in managing your specific allergy. If you need help finding a doctor that best suits your needs, learn more about how to find a health care provider, here.
Fight Allergies With A Pro
Logging hours at the gym and eating your vegetables aren’t going to cure or completely prevent seasonal allergies. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can certainly minimize the effects of allergy symptoms though, as well as a host of other conditions. “If someone is in great shape, exercises, and does all these great things, they can withstand the impact of allergies better than someone who’s got all kinds of other problems,” Dr. Mardiney noted. One word of caution, though: If you are sensitive to outdoor allergens like pollen, you may want to take your exercise routine indoors when levels are at their highest, or take your allergy medication before you start out.
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Investing In A Quality Vacuum
It isnt fair that you have to suffer from allergies and clean more often to feel better, but such is life. Pollen and other allergens can get trapped in your rugs and carpets and continue to haunt you, so get to the root of the issue by sucking these allergens out of your house.
One Hoover model is especially good for combating pet hair. A Dyson is also adept at capturing pet hair, allergens and truly anything else on your floors . Or you can go with an iRobot, which is strong on dust and best of all hands-free.
You may want to ask a family member or roommate to empty the vacuum for you so you dont have to suffer from all of the allergens youve finally captured.
Natural Remedies To Help With Seasonal Allergies
There are also natural remedies you can try at home such as:
- Nasal rinses
- Essential Oils peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, lavender
- Vitamin C
- Changing home filters regularly
- Keeping windows closed
Dr. Jeanette Carpenter is board certified in Family Medicine and practices in Virginia. She graduated from The College of William and Mary in 2000 with a B.S. in Chemistry and a minor in Dance. In 2004, she earned her M.D. degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and then went on to complete her residency at VCUs Chesterfield Family Practice Residency Program, where she served as Chief Resident. She has an interest in preventative medicine and holistic medicine and has a certification in plant based nutrition from eCornell. She believes stress and lifestyle impacts the disease process and spends extra time educating patients on lifestyle modifications that can improve their overall health.
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Fast Facts On Treating An Allergic Reaction:
- Most minor allergy symptoms can be treated with antihistamines, corticosteroids, or decongestants.
- Saline nasal rinses can be used for congestion-related allergy symptoms.
- Corticosteroid creams can treat skin rashes related to allergies.
- Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment option for chronic allergy symptoms.
- Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency, and people should call 911 if they suspect someone is having an anaphylactic reaction.
An allergic reaction occurs when cells in the immune system interpret a foreign substance or allergen as harmful.
The immune system overreacts to these allergens and produces histamine, which is a chemical that causes allergy symptoms, such as inflammation, sneezing, and coughing.
Mild allergic reactions can usually be treated with home remedies and over-the-counter medications.
However, chronic allergies need treatment from a medical professional. Severe allergic reactions always require emergency medical care.
Many mild to moderate allergic reactions can be treated at home or with OTC medications. The following treatments are commonly used to reduce the symptoms of an allergic reaction:
When All Else Fails For Allergy Relief
Sometimes, even the strongest immune system falls victim to seasonal allergies that leave a trail of mucus in their wake. When this happens, you may find the most surefire way to fight allergy symptoms is through good old-fashioned allergy medication, either prescription or over-the-counter. “The proper drugs can diminish and block the expression of allergic disease,” Mardiney said. “There’s a lot you can do for allergies.”
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Keep Your Home Safe From Allergens
There are many steps you can take around your house to help with seasonal allergies.
Use humidifiers and dehumidifiers at the right times for your allergies
In the spring, summer and early fall, remove excess moisture from the air using a dehumidifier or air conditioner. This can help reduce the growth of mold and mildew spores known to cause some allergies.
In dry winter months, a humidifier can add moisture to a room to soothe dry, irritated nasal passages. Make sure to clean and change the filter regularly. Unfortunately, moisturized air can also cause dust mites to increase.
Change to HEPA filters for your heating and cooling system
A HEPA filter can trap airborne allergens like pollen and pet dander, helping keep more irritants out of the air. Just make sure youre regularly replacing filters particularly during high usage times. A good rule of thumb is to check your filter once a month to see if it needs replacing.
Consider adding an air purifier, too
Air purifiers can also be used to clean finer particles and fumes that your furnace or air conditioning filter cant catch. There are several different types of air purifiers and each works differently to clean the air you breathe. So, research your options to determine which may be the best fit for you needs.
Other ways to reduce allergens in your home:
Why Do Allergies Make Us Sneeze
Achoo! Were all familiar with sneezing, but have you wondered why and how your body does it? These five steps will help you understand what happens in your body.
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Natural Remedies For Allergic Reactions
Many traditional medicine systems use herbal supplements and extracts to both treat and prevent allergic reactions, especially seasonal allergies.
Though there is little scientific evidence to support the use of most alternative or natural remedies, some people may find that some can provide relief from their symptoms.
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians recommend the following natural treatments for allergies:
- Dietary changes. A low-fat diet high in complex carbohydrates, such as beans, whole grains, and vegetables may reduce allergy reactions.
- Bioflavonoids. These plant-based chemicals found in citrus fruits and blackcurrants may act as natural antihistamines. These can also be taken as supplements.
- Supplements. Flaxseed oil, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E are suggested to improve allergy symptoms.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture treatments may help some people to find relief from their symptoms.
A very severe allergic reaction can lead to a condition called anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock.
Anaphylaxis occurs when the bodys immune response to an allergen is so severe and sudden that the body goes into a state of shock.
Anaphylaxis can impact multiple organs and if left untreated lead to coma, organ failure, and death.
The early symptoms of anaphylaxis can be fairly mild and similar to those of minor to moderate allergic reactions, but they often rapidly worsen.
Symptoms unique to anaphylaxis include:
First aid for anaphylaxis includes:
Tip : Recognize Allergy Symptoms
Seasonal allergies mainly affect the eyes, nose, sinuses, and mouth, but not everyone will experience the full array of symptoms. An itchy roof of the mouth, hives, and watery eyes are classic allergy symptoms, but others can mimic signs of infection. If your symptoms like a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, cough, red or watery eyes, or sinus congestion and pain dont go away after a week or two, you may be reacting to seasonal irritants.
These irritants vary from person to person. What triggers one persons allergies may not trigger them in another. And they can vary by the time of year. Knowing when your symptoms are at their worst can help you get an idea of what you may be allergic to.
In early spring, tree pollens are the most likely culprits. In later spring and the beginning of summer, grass pollens are at their highest point. Weed pollens like ragweed hit people hardest in late summer. If your symptoms are bad all year round, they may be the result of allergens in your home or work environment, like dust, mold, or pet dander.
A persistent cough or sore throat are two of the most common allergy-related complaints patients report in our practice. But these symptoms also are red flags for infections like the flu or strep throat. Come see us to determine if you have allergies or an infection if you experience a persistent cough, sore throat, or one of these symptoms:
- Body aches
- New rashes
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