An allergic reaction is an exaggerated response by the body’s immune system to a specific substance or allergen. The body’s reaction can produce a broad range of symptoms, such as sneezing or itchy, watery eyes, that can leave you feeling miserable. If you are suffering from allergies, we can help. Dr. Andrew Pestcoe, the board-certified provider at The Head and Neck Center in Bethlehem and Allentown, PA, treats allergies.
Allergens and Allergy Symptoms
Allergies are fairly common and affect millions of people in the U.S. The majority of allergens generally are not harmful substances, but happen to trigger an allergic reaction in some individuals. Allergen examples include pollen, pet dander, insect bites, dust, mold, latex, certain medications, and even various foods, such as peanuts, shellfish, and dairy products.
People with allergies can experience a host of symptoms depending on the allergen. Allergy symptoms can differ across individuals, but often affect the ears, nose, and throat. Some symptoms commonly associated with allergies include:
- Hives or a skin rash
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Runny nose or sneezing
- Nasal or sinus congestion
- Coughing or wheezing
- Shortness of breath
- Scratchy throat
- Facial swelling
If you are suffering from allergies, we can help. The experienced doctor at our head and neck center in the Bethlehem, Allentown, PA, area treats allergies and can develop an individualized treatment plan tailored to your symptoms and needs.
Allergy treatment begins with testing to identify the specific allergen(s) causing your symptoms. Allergies can be diagnosed using a traditional intradermal skin test in which the skin is exposed to different allergens via tiny injections. This test reveals which substances the body is allergic to, as well as the extent of the allergy.
Another option for diagnosing allergies is a blood test called In-Vitro testing in which the amount of immunoglobulin in the blood is measured. Immunoglobulin is produced by the body to defend against allergens. High amounts of immunoglobulin are an indication that you are allergic to a particular substance.
There are many ways to treat allergies. The best treatment method depends on the individual, the type of allergy, and the severity of the allergy. One highly effective treatment method is immunotherapy, which involves repeated exposure to small doses of an allergen to help the body build immunity to it. Other allergy treatments include oral medications, decongestants, antihistamines, topical lotions or creams, and taking steps to avoid known allergens.
If allergy symptoms have you suffering, we can help. For the diagnosis and treatment of allergies in the Bethlehem, Allentown, PA, area, call The Head and Neck Center at (610) 691-2552 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Pestcoe.