Do you or a loved one suffer from allergies? You’re not alone. In fact, according to the American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology, more than 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from allergies.
During an allergic process, the substance responsible for causing the allergy, or allergen, binds to allergic antibodies present on allergic cells in a person’s body, including mast cells and basophils. These cells then release chemicals such as histamine and leukotrienes, resulting in allergic symptoms. Fortunately, at Asthma & Allergy Associates, we can test and treat allergies to help you return to a normal, comfortable lifestyle.
Contact us to schedule an appointment to talk to one of our Colorado Springs allergy doctors:
Your allergy consult, test, and treatment may be covered by insurance. We also accept cash and credit card payment. Please contact your insurance company for coverage details.
What Is an Allergy?
An allergy is an abnormal reaction by a person’s immune system against a normally harmless substance. A person without allergies would have no reaction to this substance, but when a person who is allergic encounters the trigger, the body reacts by releasing chemicals which cause allergy symptoms. However, just because there is a cause and effect between exposure to a substance and the development of allergy symptoms does not always mean that a person is allergic to that substance. For example, medications have known and expected side effects; a person experiencing one of these side effects is not necessarily allergic to that medication. Sensitive but not allergic.
How Do Allergies Start?
The allergic person can make allergic antibodies, or IgE, against a variety of allergens, to include:
- animal danders
- dust mites
This occurs through a process called sensitization, where a person’s immune system is exposed to enough of the allergen to make the body produce allergic antibodies to that substance. With later exposures, that same allergen binds to its corresponding IgE on allergic cells, and the body reacts with symptoms of allergies. Allergy symptoms can vary somewhat with the type of allergen and route of exposure (airborne pollen exposure may cause different symptoms than eating a food to which you are allergic).
When and Why Do People Develop Allergies?
It is unknown why some people develop allergies and some don’t. Allergies seem to run in families, and in some cases family members can share allergies to specific foods or medications. It appears that the allergic response was once meant to protect the body against parasitic infections, although now seems to be an abnormal response to non-infectious triggers. Allergies can occur at any time during our lives, but are more common to occur during childhood or young adulthood.
If you’re constantly sneezing, coughing or have a runny nose, it might be time to get tested for allergies. We can test for various types of allergic responses including rashes, nausea and headaches requires a medical specialist.
Before testing for allergies, write down the details of symptoms experienced as well as when and where they occur. Your physician will also want to know about your home, school, or work environments. This helps us understand if the patient is exposed to particular environmental allergens.
There are many substances that can cause allergic reactions. To determine which substance is triggering symptoms, testing for allergies usually requires a skin test on the forearm or back of patients to observe reactions such as bumps or welts. This procedure involves a physician marking the arm of a patient with a grid and numbers to keep track of each allergic trigger. In addition, a nurse must perform a fingertip needle stick to collect blood for laboratory analysis.
Treatment Options For Allergies
Treating allergies involves several different methods, and their use depends on how severe a patient’s allergies are. Many people with mild allergies find that taking a decongestant and/or an antihistamine can greatly reduce the allergic reaction they experience. However, this works best for patients with hay fever or rhinitis. Other patients find considerable relief from topical steroid medications. For severe potentially fatal allergies, epinephrine may be needed. It is administered in emergency situations in the form of an injection. This is commonly referred to as an ‘Epi-Pen.’
At Asthma and Allergy Associates P.C., our trained allergy doctors can provide extensive allergy testing and counseling for those who are experiencing symptoms. They can talk to patients about how to take care of themselves and live with their allergies, no matter what kind of allergic reaction they are experiencing.
Allergic patients can live normal lives. Allergies can be managed through a combination of medicines, immunotherapy and avoidance of allergic triggers. No matter what, it is important that allergy sufferers try to manage their condition as much as possible. Allergic reactions can worsen over time, or patients can develop new allergies as time goes on. The highly trained professionals at AACOS are there to help patients break the cycle of allergy suffering and move on with their lives.
Schedule an Appointment
Pay a visit to our offices in Colorado Springs, Canyon City, or Pueblo to learn more about your specific allergy symptoms.