Allergy Treatment at Ideal Family Practice.
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What is an allergy?
An allergy is the result of your immune (body’s defense) system overreacting to something (in medicine we call this foreign substance an allergen) that causes an increased sensitivity. Common allergens include dust, pollen, mold, insect bites, and certain foods. This over sensitivity can be due to eating, injection of a certain medication, touching, or breathing the allergen.
When your body comes in contact with the allergen you can experience mild to severe allergic reaction including life threatening situation that requires immediate emergency care (call 9-1-1 immediately and go to the nearest emergency room). For people with severe allergies talk with your health care provider about carrying a self-injectable epinephrine syringe.
The first step to treating an allergy is to find out what you are allergic to.
We will take a thorough and detailed medical history including:
- Review of your symptoms
- Family history
- Medication review
- Environmental intake
- Physical Examination
Skin allergy tests can detect a patient’s sensitivity to common inhalants like pollen and dust mites or to medicines, certain foods, latex, venom, or other substances. Generally skin testing is the most accurate and preferred method Skin testing can determine allergies to animal dander, dust and dust mites, insects, fabrics, foods, latex, mold and mildew, and grass, tree, or weed pollens. Skin tests are done by placing little drops of each suspected allergen on your forearm then lightly pricking the skin with a plastic applicator to break the top layer; also sometimes small needles actually inject the allergen directly under the skin. A timer is set for 10 minutes and if the skin is itchy, red or has welts it is scored on a zero to four scale to determine which allergen you are allergic to.
Treatment of allergies
An Ideal Family Practice provider may recommend medication for the treatment of your allergy. Medications can include over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines, nasal steroids and decongestants. Or we may recommend immunotherapy, often called allergy shots.
The goal of immunotherapy, or desensitization therapy, is to decrease the patient’s sensitivity to the allergen(s). Immunotherapy builds up the body’s tolerance to the allergen(s) through regular, consistently scheduled, subcutaneous injections in increasing dosages of the diluted allergen(s).
Studies have shown that over time, allergy symptoms can be reduced by up to 85%.
Increasing the immune system to reactive allergens has benefits beyond symptom relief. Immunotherapy can be a preventative treatment for chronic diseases – particularly in children who may avoid such illnesses as sinusitis, bronchitis, and even asthma if treated early enough.
Immunotherapy has been shown to prevent the development of new allergies and in children, it can prevent the progression of the allergic disease from allergic rhinitis to asthma. It can also lead to the long-lasting relief of allergy symptoms after treatment is stopped.
In addition, we will provide you with information on how to decrease exposure and avoid the things that you are allergic too such as your pet, using special filters for your AC unit, HEPA air filtration. Often avoidance of allergens is not realistic. Immunotherapy provides an excellent therapeutic solution. And for patient who have symptoms from over-the-counter (OTC) medications, allergy shots is a great alternative. Most importantly, and very different then OTC medications, immunotherapy actually changes the way your body reacts to allergens.
To schedule an appointment or for more information please call 561-231-5200.