Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Management
Allergies are among the most common chronic conditions worldwide. Allergy symptoms range from making us miserable to putting us at risk for life-threatening reactions.
According to the leading experts in allergy, an allergic reaction begins in the immune system. Our immune system protects us from invading organisms that can cause illness. If we have an allergy, our immune system mistakes an otherwise harmless substance as an invader. This substance is called an allergen. The immune system overreacts to the allergen by producing Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies travel to cells that release histamine and other chemicals, causing an allergic reaction.
An allergic reaction typically triggers symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or on the skin. For some people, allergies can also trigger symptoms of asthma. In the most serious cases, a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis (an-a-fi-LAK-sis) can occur.
A number of different allergens are responsible for allergic reactions. The most common include:
• Insect stings
• Animal dander
If we have allergy symptoms, an allergist / immunologist, often referred to as an allergist, can help with a diagnosis. An allergist has advanced training and experience to properly diagnose our condition and prescribe an allergy treatment and management plan to help us feel better and live better.