Sneezing, congestion, itching, and other allergy symptoms can make you miserable. Allergies, whether they occur seasonally or year-round, are a common problem. In fact, nasal allergies affect about 50 million Americans, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Dr. Pankaj Gupta of Wake Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists in Cary, NC, shares information about allergy testing and treatment.
Why do I have allergies?
An allergy occurs when your body overreacts to a specific substance known as an allergen. Your immune system decides that these perfectly harmless substances are dangerous and releases antibodies to attack them. Common allergens include pet dander, foods, medications, insect bites or stings, dust, mold, pollen, grasses, fungi, cockroaches, and dust mites. The release of antibodies triggers common allergy symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, congestion, itchy or red eyes, headache, or hives.
How are allergies treated?
Determining which allergens cause your symptoms is the first step in treating your allergies. An allergy test, conducted in our office, may be recommended if you frequently suffer from allergy symptoms. Tests include:
- Skin Prick Test: During this test, your skin is pricked with pins in several spots. Allergens added to a liquid solution are applied to each spot. If a spot begins to redden and itchy, we know that you're allergic to that specific allergen.
- Intradermal Test: In some cases, you may be allergic to an allergen even if you don't experience a reaction during the skin prick test. The intradermal test provides a more definitive diagnosis. During the test, a tiny amount of an allergen is injected into your skin. If you are allergic to the allergen, a raised red spot will form around the injection site.
Depending on the results of your allergy test, we may recommend both over-the-counter and prescription medications that will relieve your symptoms. Immunotherapy, a treatment that gradually desensitizes your body to the presence of allergens, may also be helpful, in some cases. In addition to medications, you can reduce your allergy symptoms by avoiding allergy triggers and making a few changes to your home to decrease allergens, such as buying an air filter or removing rugs or other dust catchers.
Allergies don't have to keep you from doing the things you like. If you're tired of dealing with your allergy symptoms, make an appointment with Dr. Gupta of Wake Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists in Cary, NC, by calling (919) 851-5636.