Dealing With Allergies
There are many types of allergies; some are seasonal, others are perennial. With seasonal allergies, you may only suffer symptoms for a few weeks each year. Perennial allergies can be related to food, pets, or medication and you can suffer year-round. Allergies can be easily treated. In some cases, relief can come from an over-the-counter (OTC) medication, but others may need to consult an allergist to find the particular source of their allergic reactions. If you do not get relief from OTC medications or your symptoms seem to be related to food or medications, you will want to consult a doctor as quickly as possible. Here are a few questions that you may have when you are dealing with allergies and the answers you need to understand your condition fully.
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The medical treatment for people dealing with allergies is often limited to medications. Some of the most common medications are antihistamines, decongestants, anticholinergic nasal spray like Atrovent, steroid nasal spray, eye drops, injections, and an auto-injector like an EpiPen. Your allergist will recommend the best course of treatment after diagnosing your allergy.
There are many natural remedies to treat the symptoms of your allergies. These include: drinking hot green tea to relieve congestion; butterbur and licorice root can block allergy responses; you can add cayenne pepper, hot ginger, fenugreek, onion, or garlic to your food to relieve nasal congestion; acupuncture and nasal rinses round out the list of natural treatments. If you have a pollen-based allergy, you should be aware of the pollen count in your area. You can track the pollen count on regional websites and some news channel websites. Staying indoors on high pollen count days can help reduce your symptoms.
If you are dealing with allergies, you are going to want to avoid the item that triggers your allergic response. Often, you can narrow that down yourself. If your eyes water and you sneeze every time you are close to a dog, you may have a pet dander allergy. You can either avoid dogs or use an OTC medication if you know you will be near a dog.
It may not be so simple with other allergies. Allergies to specific pollens can be hard to narrow down, as can food and skin allergies. The best course of action is to speak with your family physician and ask for a referral to an allergist who will perform one of the procedures listed above. Once the allergist has uncovered the source of your allergy, you will be given information about potential sources of the allergen, ways to avoid it, and a recommended course of treatment to relieve your symptoms.
Doctors have four methods of diagnosing a specific allergy. The methods that may be used include nasal smears; blood tests; the Challenge test where an allergist administers a very small amount of an allergen; and skin tests that will measure your level of IgE antibodies in response to certain allergens. This is done by placing small amounts of allergens under the skin in a set grid.
The most common symptoms of an allergy can be mistaken for a common cold. They include a stuffy or a runny nose, a headache, a cough, and swollen, watery eyes? Depending on your allergy, other symptoms can include itchy skin, red rashes, and difficulty breathing.
Allergies and the common cold have many of the same symptoms, but you can usually tell the difference between the two. With a common cold, you will only have one or two of the symptoms mentioned above. With an allergy, you may have all of them at once.