What Conditions Does an Allergist Evaluate & Treat?
There are countless types of allergies; each type has its own set of symptoms, which can range from mild to life threatening.
Seasonal allergies appear during specific times of the year, most commonly during spring when trees and flowers bloom. They can also occur in the summer due to grass pollen, or the fall, when ragweed is at its worst. Some people experience these symptoms all year due to dust or animal allergies. Seasonal allergies are often referred to as hay fever.
Asthma is a chronic lung condition that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways. It is characterized by shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and chest tightness. Allergies are a frequent cause of asthma.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a condition that causes your skin to become inflamed or irritated. These areas of red and itchy skin may appear in response to certain substances or conditions.
While any food has the potential to cause an allergic reaction, there are eight foods that account for almost 90 percent of all food allergies: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Symptoms of food allergies can range from mild to life threatening. Mild symptoms include hives, stomach pain, itchy mouth and sneezing. Severe symptoms include swelling of the lips, shortness of breath and turning blue. Any one of these severe symptoms or a combination of mild symptoms can be the sign of a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
Hives, also called urticaria, are your skin’s reaction to your body’s release of antihistamine. Your body releases antihistamine when it is trying to protect you from an allergen. The antihistamine causes small blood vessels to leak, which results in swelling in your skin.
Stinging Insect Allergy
An allergy to insect stings goes far beyond the pain associated with the stings themselves. Swelling, redness, flushing, hives, itching and the life threatening reaction called anaphylaxis can occur. Honeybees, hornets, wasps, yellow jackets and fire ants are the five known insects to cause an allergic reaction. Anyone who has experienced a reaction to a sting in the past is at risk of experiencing a worse reaction in the future.
Drug allergies are hard to predict. Often, individuals will be fine with a medication and then have a reaction the next time they take it. Penicillin and antibiotics containing sulfa drugs are the most likely to cause an allergic reaction. The symptoms of a drug reaction can range from a mild skin reaction and itching to more severe wheezing, vomiting or anaphylaxis.
Angioedema is the swelling of the deep layer of skin, which can be caused by your body’s release of antihistamine. Angioedema is sometimes the result of an allergic reaction, and can be seen in conjunction with hives. Unlike hives, angioedema occurs primarily in the soft tissue, around the eyelids, mouth and genitals.