What Are Allergies?
An allergy is a heightened response from the immune system to a stimulant that is ordinarily harmless. Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance by producing antibodies. These antibodies protect you from unwanted invaders that could make you sick or cause an infection, even if it isn’t. The trigger signals your immune system to release histamine and other chemicals, causing a range of allergic signs and symptoms called allergic reactions.
Allergies are quite common, and for the most part, non-life threatening. However, allergies can be deadly if they are serious enough. If an allergy is bad enough, it can cause anaphylaxis, which can cause an itchy rash, throat or tongue swelling, shortness of breath, vomiting, lightheadedness, low blood pressure, and even death. If anaphylaxis occurs, an epinephrine injector can reduce the severity of the reaction.
What Causes Allergies?
It’s still quite unknown exactly what it is that causes some people and not others to develop allergies. There is no definitive way to completely avoid developing allergies, and people develop allergies well beyond childhood.
There is a connection between allergies and genetics. However, while allergies tend to run in the family, accurately predicting whether or not a child will inherit a parent’s food allergy or whether siblings will have a similar condition is downright impossible.
What Kind Of Allergies Are There?
Allergies can be separated into three key categories:
- Food Allergies
- Environmental Allergies
- Drug Allergies
Food allergies span the greatest area of allergies, and the most common food allergies include tree nuts, shellfish, dairy, eggs, and wheat.
Diagnosing An Allergy
If you believe you have an allergy and you are experiencing allergic reactions to a stimulus, the first step you can take is to diagnose the allergy. Performing an allergy self-diagnosis will help narrow down the suspects behind you immune response. First, monitor the foods you are eating and track them in a food diary. Take note if on certain days, you feel better or worse depending on the food you ate.
If you have noticed a trend between eating certain foods and experiencing adverse reactions because of it, we recommend visiting an allergy specialist and having a test done. If you undergo an allergy test and find that the results suggest you do have an allergy, talk to a specialist about how to navigate your lifestyle moving forward.
Preventing Allergic Reactions In The Future
If you have been recently diagnosed with an allergy, just know that you have options for managing your symptoms. If you have light allergy symptoms, you can likely go through life unchanged by just avoiding the substance you’re allergic to. But if you have a more serious allergy, you may want to consider an option like allergy immunotherapy.
At EHC Buffalo, Dr. Patel first uses a special type of intradermal testing for mold, mycotoxins, food allergies, food sensitivities, chemical sensitivities, electromagnetic field sensitivity and many more items as indicated from your evaluation.
As an environmental specialist, she also performs a comprehensive evaluation of your indoor and outdoor environment, which may uncover mold and mycotoxin contaminations, among other triggers.
Once Dr. Patel has a clearer picture, she works with innovative immunotherapies to help your body not to overreact. Your body responds more normally to the presence of an antigen through different immunotherapies including antigen injection treatment, sublingual immunotherapy, or low-dose allergy immunotherapy like LDA and LDI.
Immunotherapy works by introducing only a small amount of the antigen into your body at a time in order to build up resistance. Dr. Patel’s goal is to help you overcome severe allergic reactions and asthma attacks by working systemically with your body to reduce its over-reactive response.
With this treatment, you can see the benefits you need without the constant use of antihistamines and other medications. Immunotherapy is the desensitizing phase of allergens that you show a reaction to during your allergy test. These allergens are introduced into the system in very small increments. Then, the immune system creates antibodies against these allergens to produce desensitization.
If you’d like to learn more about innovative immunotherapy treatments that offer long-term solutions for your allergies or asthma, call EHC Buffalo or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation or phone consultation!