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Allergies: What Exactly Are They?
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Think you know what's causing your allergies?

Many types of allergens affect people differently, which makes it important to seek help from professionals. Learn the symptoms, test your knowledge, and discover the steps you can take to prevent symptoms from slowing down your life with our allergy quiz.

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Why Do I Have Allergies?

Whether you have allergies depends on your genetic makeup. Your genetics determine how your immune system produces antibodies and how it will defend you against harmful substances. Allergies occur when your immune system begins to defend the body against a harmless substance because it has confused it with a harmful one. The harmless substance that causes your allergies is called an allergen.

Allergy Causes & Symptoms

Common Allergy Causes

  • Foods - food allergies can occur after a certain food is eaten. Some common food allergies are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish.
  • Insects - allergies from insects can be caused by biting, stinging, or even non-biting insects. Two common insect allergies are cockroaches and dust mites.
  • Inhalants - pollen, dust, pet dander, mold, and fungus spores are just a few common causes of inhalant allergies.
  • Contact - allergies from contact usually result in skin rashes. Common substances include latex, plants, soap, cosmetics, and jewelry.
  • Medication - most of the time medications cause non-allergic or adverse reactions but allergic reactions from medicine may still occur.
  • Anaphylaxis - anaphylaxis is another word for a rapidly occurring seriously dangerous allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis usually causes several different symptoms that can include itchy rash, throat swelling, shortness of breath, vomiting, lightheadedness, tongue swelling, and low blood pressure.
Common Allergy Triggers

Symptoms of Allergies

No two people react the same to allergens but there are common reactions that occur. Common reactions include:

  • Reddened Skin
  • Itchiness
  • Mucous Membrane Irritation
  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Watery Eyes
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Vomiting

The symptoms that include the nasal mucous membranes, sneezing, runny/itchy nose, and congestion are grouped under the term Rhinitis. The two types of rhinitis are allergic and non-allergic.

Allergic Rhinitis:

is caused by the body's immune system overreacting to particles. These particles include:

  • Plant Pollen
  • Molds
  • Dust Mites
  • Animal Hair
  • Chemicals
  • And More

Resulting in sneezing, congestion, and itchy/watery eyes.

Seasonal Allergies/Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: We all know that different allergies are worse during certain seasons but which allergens are more common during the different parts of the year?

  • Late March and early April: Pollen from trees can be more common.
  • Spring & Late Summer: This is when hay fever is the most common. Ragweed is the most common cause of hay fever.
  • October - November: Allergic reactions caused by falling leaves creating mold spores is common.
Allergies to pet dander

Perennial Allergic Rhinitis

This type of rhinitis can last all year long. It is typically caused by pet hair, upholstery, mold, and houseplants.

Non-Allergic Rhinitis

As the name states, this type of rhinitis is not caused by an allergic reaction. It is caused by triggers in the environment. Including pollutants, cigarette smoke, strong odors, alcohol, and cold temperatures. Some other causes are nasal blockages, infection, and deviated septum.

Diagnosing and Testing

As you can imagine it's not easy to treat the root problem of your allergies without first knowing exactly what causes them. That’s why our allergy experts can test and then diagnose your allergies. This will help us to treat your allergies more effectively and efficiently.

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Treating Allergies

The treatment of your allergies is custom to you. Once you are diagnosed with a particular allergy, we can then form a treatment plan right for you. Some treatment options include:

  • Avoidance - avoiding allergen to avoid triggers.
  • Medication - certain medications like antihistamines and decongestants may help to control your allergies.
  • Immunotherapy - this can either be traditional shots or sublingual drops(under the tongue) that contain a little bit of your allergen. This can help build up your immune system resistance.
Learn More About Allergy Treatments Here
Find allergy relief with help from professionals

Our allergy professionals at Hillcrest ENT will help you get your allergies under control

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