The most common and undiagnosed diseases are allergies. Over 50 million people in America suffer from allergies, and approximately 55% of all U.S. citizens test positive to one or more allergens.
What is an allergy?
An allergy is a reaction of the immune system to substances the body identifies as harmful. This reaction is more commonly known as an “allergic reaction,” and the substances that cause it are called “allergens.” These allergens can include pollen and dust mites, insect bites and stings, pet dander, and foods such as shellfish and peanuts. Allergic reaction symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable. They can vary from a runny nose and itchy watery eyes to respiratory problems, hives, and in some cases, can be life threatening if left untreated.
Are allergies hereditary?
Allergies can be hereditary. If one parent has any type of allergies, the chances are 1 in 3 that each child will have an allergy. If both parents have allergies, it is more likely that their children will have allergies.
Managing allergies Allergies can be managed using various treatment programs that are available today and will lead you to a better quality of life. If you suspect that you may be suffering from allergies, and your symptoms are recurring, contact your primary care physician immediately. If your doctor confirms you are susceptible to environmental allergens, ask your provider if you are a candidate for immunotherapy. Immunotherapy has been proven to desensitize the body and treat the cause versus the symptoms. This type of treatment is the only form of therapy for allergic disease that can lead to complete resolution of symptoms without medications, and when administered to children, may prevent the development of further allergic disease.
How will they test for allergies?
Your physician may recommend allergy skin testing to identify specific allergens that are causing your symptoms. Skin testing is generally performed by pricking your skin with allergen extracts to evaluate the skin reaction to the allergen.
After being tested and your specific allergies have been diagnosed, your physician may prescribe one of the following treatment options:
Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT)
Subcutaneous Immunotherapy, commonly known as “allergy shots,” is the most effective treatment available for symptoms caused by exposure to specific allergens, including airborne allergens. SCIT is administered by injection, gradually increasing doses of an allergen over a period of weeks or even months until the desired target dose is achieved.
Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT)
Sublingual Immunotherapy is a type of immunotherapy that allows the patient to place drops of allergen extracts under their tongue. Commonly known as “allergy drops,” SLIT is an alternative treatment for allergy shots. SLIT is painless and can be administered by the patient at home.