Posts for tag: Allergies
What are allergies?
Allergies are when your body's immune system overreacts to an allergen(s), an external harmless substance. Examples of allergens are weeds, grasses, trees, molds, dust mites, and animal dander.
There has been a "rise in prevalence of allergic diseases...in the industrialized world for more than 50 years," according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
People suffer from:
- Itchy and runny or blocked nose
- Itchy, red, watering eyes
- Wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath
- Swollen lips, tongue, eyes, or face
Types of allergies include drug allergy, food allergy, insect allergy, latex allergy, mold allergy, pet allergy, and pollen allergy.
Step One: Your Bethlehem, PA doctor asks about your personal and family medical history.
Step Two: Dr. Andrew J. Pestcoe will ask you to stop taking certain medications, like prescription and over-the-counter antihistamines, heartburn treatment medications, and tricyclic antidepressants.
Skin tests: Your doctor places an allergen on your skin, lightly puncturing the skin for further exposure to the allergen, and closely monitors how your skin reacts to the foreign substance. If allergy symptoms, redness, and swelling appear, then you're allergic to that allergen. Another form of skin test is the patch test, which involves adhesive patches containing allergens being placed on your skin for 72-to-96 hours.
Blood tests: If a skin test is too dangerous for you, your doctor uses a blood test. Your blood is tested at a laboratory to detect antibodies that fight specific allergens.
Elimination diet: This is pretty straightforward. Your doctor uses this test to determine what foods you're allergic to. He does this by removing food from your diet, then adding them back to determine which foods cause problems.
Treating and Managing Allergies
There is no cure for allergies but there are several ways to manage them. This includes allergy shots, over-the-counter antihistamines, and avoiding the allergen altogether.
Do you have any questions?
If you would like to speak with Dr. Ziv Harish, then you can reach him at his office, The Head and Neck Center, P.C in Bethlehem, PA, when you call (610) 691-2552.
Allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. Although allergies are so common, that does not mean that diagnosing and treating them is a simple affair. However, medical professionals who specialize in allergies are able to perform tests that help to identify different types of allergy and provide effective treatments. Dr. Andrew J. Pestcoe is an otorhinolaryngologist at The Head and Neck Center, P.C located in Bethlehem, PA. One of his specialties is diagnosing and treating allergies—read on to learn how he can help you.
The Two-Step Process of Allergy Diagnosis
There are two essential steps to allergy diagnosis.
- Medical history: Your medical history can provide your doctor with as much helpful information as the allergy tests themselves. Important details include:
- Past and current health conditions
- Any family history of allergies
- Medications you take on a regular basis
- How long you have been experiencing symptoms of an allergy
- Allergy testing: Along with medical history, allergy skin testing is the most common method for allergy diagnosis. Your doctor will prick the surface of your skin with a tiny amount of allergen. This test can be used with common allergens such as:
- Plant pollens
If you are allergic to one of the substances, your skin will appear red at the site of the prick. If the results from the prick test are not clear, an intradermal test may be used to inject a small amount of allergen under the upper layers of your skin.
In some cases, your Bethlehem doctor may recommend an allergy blood test rather than a skin test. For example, if you are taking certain medications that may interfere with allergy test results or if you have a serious skin condition. In this case, the sample will be sent to a lab and examined for allergen antibodies.
If you live in Bethlehem and you suffer from allergies, call Dr. Pestcoe today at (610) 691-2552 to make an appointment for a consultation.