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Allergies

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Allergies are the immune system’s response to a foreign substance present in the body. The substance that causes a person’s allergy, also called an allergen or a trigger, typically does not cause a reaction for other people. When a person has an allergy, the body’s immune system experiences a “false alarm” to the normally harmless substance and attempts to force the allergen from the body, this is commonly called an allergic reaction. Bodily responses to allergies can vary from person to person and can be as innocuous as mild discomfort or more serious and even life threatening.

Allergies cannot be cured but allergy symptoms can be managed. Identifying what triggers a person’s allergies is often one of the first steps to treatment, as simply avoiding the allergen can be an extremely effective way to help reduce symptoms. At Connerton Family Medicine, Dr. Ailis Marrero and her medical team are adept at allergen testing and diagnosis.

Some common triggers that Dr. Marrero sees in adults and children are pollen, dust, pet dander, mold, insect bites and certain medications or food. If you or your child experience an allergic reaction, it is important to see a family physician promptly for a diagnosis even if the allergic reaction is not severe, as some reactions may worsen with repeated exposure to the allergen.

Allergic Reaction Symptoms

  • Sneezing
  • Itching of the skin, eyes or mouth
  • Dry or peeling skin
  • Hives or skin swelling from insect bites or stings
  • Eyes that are red, watery, swollen or irritated
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Swelling of the face, mouth or throat
  • Difficulty breathing, chest tightness or shortness of breath
  • Anaphylactic shock

Allergic Triggers

Triggers vary from person to person and a person can have more than one trigger. Some of the most common triggers may include:

  • Some medications
  • Dust and dust mites
  • Insect bites/stings
  • Latex
  • Mold
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Various foods (such as seafood, peanuts, milk products or gluten)

Diagnostic Methods

  • Blood test
  • Intradermal test
  • Scratch test
  • Patch test

Treatments

Trigger avoidance is often the most effective treatment for allergies. When you cannot avoid the allergen that triggers your allergies, some additional treatments that may help you manage your allergy. Treatment options may include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Medications including topical medicines, eye drops or nasal sprays
  • Epi-Pen and epinephrine
  • Immunotherapy (allergy shots)

If you or a member of your family has experienced an allergic reaction and are in need of a Connerton family medicine physician, please contact the Connerton Family Medicine team. We can be reached by phone or online, using this convenient online form!