Do I Have Allergies? (EL PASO, TX)
Allergies are on the list of the top ten most common causes of chronic illness in America. More than 50 million Americans are diagnosed annually with allergies. Many people often have more than one type of allergy. Genetics and the environment can play a role in which allergies someone has, and how severe they are.
An allergy is an immune response to a foreign substance, resulting in an adverse reaction. Your immune system produces antibodies–proteins that target foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria–to protect you from getting sick; an allergic response occurs when your immune system makes antibodies that target allergy triggers, called allergens, that are typically harmless substances or materials. When you ingest or otherwise come into contact with an allergen, your hypersensitive immune system responds by releasing chemicals called histamines which cause a reaction; the immune response often manifests on your skin, in your sinuses and/or airways, or within your digestive system as allergy symptoms. Many people suffer from seasonal allergies, but some are year-round. In some acute cases, allergies can trigger a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis. (Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening medical emergency. For this grave allergic reaction, immediately call 911 and seek emergency medical help.)
Although you often cannot tell the difference between an allergy and something else right away, taking inventory of your symptoms is a good first step. Sometimes you will not be able to tell without seeing a doctor for a full evaluation, and having your inventory can help your doctor determine what allergies you might have. You should schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor, who might refer you to a specialist like an ENT or an allergist, to assess and diagnose any allergies you might have. You might benefit from allergy testing. There is a variety of tests that doctors use to diagnose allergies. Skin tests and blood tests can be used to determine allergy triggers.
The best way to prevent allergy symptoms is to avoid your triggers, but this is often very difficult to do. In such cases, you might be advised to take medications to relieve your symptoms. Some allergy medications are available for purchase, but some require a prescription from your doctor. The use of these medications can be very helpful for providing relief and can offer long-term effectiveness for managing allergies. Again, speak with your doctor to determine the best course of action for your personal situation.
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