Understanding and overcoming common allergic diseases
Sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, itchy skin. Seasonal allergies strike many individuals in the springtime, but other allergic disease can occur any time of year and make you just as miserable. David Amrol, MD, explained common allergic diseases and how they’re treated.
“Many allergic diseases are increasing in prevalence and are associated with substantial healthcare cost. They are also the most common causes of chronic illness,” said Dr. Amrol.
The most common allergic diseases include:
- Allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies)
- Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
- Food allergies
What causes allergic diseases?
A host of possible causes come into play, including:
- Environmental factors – decreased exposure to common infections (hygiene hypothesis) and allergen exposure
- Defect in target organs, such as skin barrier and gut microbiome
- Triggers – tobacco smoke, viral infections, air pollution
‘’Everyone inhales aeroallergens derived from pollen, dust mites, cat dander, etc. Some individuals have a normal low grade immune response, while others have an exaggerated allergic response that involves inflammation and will bring on symptoms from exposure,” said Dr. Amrol.
What are symptoms of an allergic disease?
Some symptoms you may experience due to an allergy include:
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Rash or skin changes
How can I find out if I have allergies and what I’m allergic to?
Testing is the only true way to find out if you are allergic to something and exactly what you are allergic to. Testing can be done with a skin test or a blood test.
What treatment is available for allergies?
You first need to undergo testing to understand what you are allergic to and then try to avoid it. This can be difficult and is often not successful.
There are several medical treatment options available for allergies. Some are more effective than others and some treat specific symptoms better than others. Most are also available over the counter.
Allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots).
These can be a great option for long-term relief. The shots start at once or twice a week and then become monthly maintenance injections. The shots are meant to train your cells to handle the allergen over time. Some individuals see improvements from allergy shots in a couple weeks, but it can take 6–12 months until results are experienced.
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