Allergies are a chronic disease which recurs on a regular basis, either daily, weekly, or seasonal. Common symptoms include hay fever, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, and snoring. Many people confuse allergies with a cold, but if the symptoms happen regularly, the patient may have allergies.
What many don’t realize is that allergies are a malfunctioning of the immune system. They occur when the body sees a substance that is normally harmless as a harmful invader and overreacts. The result is an allergy attack. During such an attack, the body produces a substance called IgE, or Immunoglobulin E, which is an antibody that causes allergic symptoms.
The symptoms of allergies are familiar to most people and range from itchy and watery eyes to rashes, sneezing, and hives. Some people, however, can have more serious and even deadly reactions, such as anaphylaxis, in which the throat can swell and close up, or respiratory difficulties occur.
There are a few steps to diagnosing allergies. First, the doctor sits down with the patient and reviews their medical history and symptoms. This is followed by a physical exam, which can include a battery of tests to identify what allergens set off attacks.
Common allergens include (but are not limited to):
There are a variety of potential treatments for allergies. In some cases, patients are simply advised to avoid the substances which cause allergic reactions. This is especially true in cases of severe anaphylactic reactions, such as food allergies. In other cases, medications or immunotherapy may be advised.
Dr. Blessing-Moore and Dr. Maskatia are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of all kinds of allergies and serve patients throughout the Palo Alto and San Mateo region.