An estimated 40 million Americans have allergies. Allergies are most common among children, but can develop at any age. An allergic reaction is the immune system’s response to an abnormal substance in the body. While allergies are genetic conditions, the underlying cause of an allergy is unknown.
There are a variety of substances that may cause an allergic reaction. Some of the most common allergens include pollen, dust, mold, animal dander and hair, feathers, medications, food and insect stings. Each of these allergens causes different reactions. While some allergens such as pollen and dust may cause hay fever or asthma, skin allergies occur when a person comes in contact with a specific allergen like plants or dyes.
Your immunologist may use skin testing as a way to identify what you are allergic to. From these tests, we will be able to create a personalized treatment plan to meet your specific needs.
Treatment for allergies centers on three basic approaches: avoiding contact with the allergen, medications to alleviate the allergy symptoms and allergy shots. Depending on what type of allergy you have, you can avoid allergens by taking special precautions such as wearing a pollen mask when doing yard work or cleaning, being aware of the ingredients in foods by reading the labels, closing windows and doors during heavy pollination, keeping pets outdoors, washing your bedding in hot water every 7-10 days and doing other things or taking other precautions to reduce contact with dust and pollen.