Coughing, Sneezing, Feeling Fatigued? Here’s How to Find Solutions For Your Symptoms
As we enter into fall, many individuals start suffering from symptoms like congestion, itchy eyes, coughing, wheezing or headaches. These symptoms are frustrating, frequently painful and debilitating, especially when they last for several weeks, or seem to stop only to return a few weeks later.
The good news is, effective treatment for your symptoms could be out there. The above symptoms are often caused by allergies, and fortunately, it’s not too difficult to confirm if that’s what’s ailing you. That’s why we’ve gathered four key questions to help you understand why you’re suffering, what you’re suffering from, and how to get help. Read on to find out how you can find relief, once and for all.
Why can’t I stop coughing or clearing my throat?
Does a constant cough exhaust you? Do your family and friends find your throat clearing annoying? Coughing, sneezing, throat-clearing and snorting are all the not-so-sweet sounds of allergic disease.
If you come into contact with allergens and you are allergic, your immune system considers it dangerous and releases a chemical called histamine. Your body’s intention is to keep you safe, but the over-reaction causes allergy symptoms. Your immune system launches a chain reaction to defend you.
First, it sends a chemical signal to cells in your lungs, nose, mouth, gut and blood, telling them to release histamine. As histamine leaves these cells, it boosts blood flow in the area of your body the allergen affected. This causes inflammation.
If your nose is affected, histamines inflame the membranes, causing more mucus to be produced. You can get a runny or stuffy nose, and you’ll certainly sneeze. The mucus drains down your nasal passages to your throat, making you cough. You snort and clear your throat a lot, to keep the mucus overload moving in your swollen nasal passages.
A board-certified allergist can determine the cause and know exactly which medication will be most effective to treat your chronic cough and throat clearing.
Why am I always so tired? I feel like I never get a good night’s sleep.
If you find yourself being kept awake by coughing, headaches, or difficulty breathing, it may well be allergies. Sadly, most allergy sufferers never put it together that their fatigue is a result of allergic disease.
Left untreated, the allergic disease process may have more serious long-term inflammatory consequences such as recurrent sinus or ear infections, bronchitis or inflamed lungs, frequent sore throats, unrelenting headaches, chronic cough, sleep apnea and compromised lung function. Chronic fatigue is the culmination of the sleep interruption caused by these untreated or poorly treated allergic responses.
If it’s allergies, then what am I allergic to?
You are pretty sure you are allergic to something. So let’s pinpoint your allergy triggers.
Some allergy sufferers are (relatively) lucky. They know exactly what causes their allergic reaction. When a cat walks into the room, they immediately become congested, or their eyes itch and water every time they cut the grass. A specific reaction to a specific trigger makes it easy to treat yourself. You simply avoid the trigger.
However, it’s usually not that easy. Most people suffer from several allergy triggers. Some suffer from seasonal allergy triggers, the most common being the grass, tree or weed pollens that span spring and summer. Fall brings ragweed while winter months exacerbate dust mite and animal dander allergies. Mold allergies can attack year round.
The first step in effectively treating your allergy symptoms is to identify your allergy triggers. This is accomplished by allergy skin testing, performed without needles, for allergens such as grasses, trees, weeds, mold, dust mites, foods, and more. Every location of Allergy & Asthma Specialists houses an inventory of more than 100 allergens available for skin testing. After a thorough review of a medical and environmental history, the allergist prepares your personalized testing panel of allergens, which is applied without needles.
In 20 minutes, a positive reaction in the form of a hive is recorded. The board certified allergists of A&AS are specifically trained in evaluating the results and developing a personalized treatment plan and environmental strategy specifically for you and your lifestyle. Infants, children and adults can be comfortably and reliably tested.
You don’t need to be experiencing any allergy symptoms at the time of your skin testing visit to be evaluated for allergies. Their skin testing methods will accurately determine what allergens cause your allergy symptoms, even if you’re not experiencing the symptoms.
So how do I treat my symptoms?
If you find yourself time and again standing in the aisle of the drug store trying to sort out which over-the-counter allergy medication to try, you’re doing your health, and your wallet, a disservice.
With so many options, it’s difficult to hit upon the right combination to help you feel your best. Even if the over-the-counter medication helps the allergy symptoms, other side effects like drowsiness, nervousness, increased blood pressure, headaches, insomnia, dry mouth, constipation and blurred vision, are possible. It’s futile to keep trying medications when you don’t know what’s causing the allergic reaction.
So stop trying to do this yourself. Once the allergist identifies your triggers, she will develop a personalized treatment plan that may be as simple as making some environmental changes in your home and an over the counter medication effective for your allergic disease. In some cases, when symptoms are persistent or incapacitating, immunotherapy in the form of allergy injections, drops or tablets may be prescribed. There is also a broad range of prescribed medications that can be life changing for treating persistent allergy symptoms.
Ready to find life-changing relief? Schedule an appointment at an Allergy & Asthma Specialists location near you, call 1-800-86COUGH, extension 2 or visit their website today. Offices are located in Center City Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Blue Bell, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Collegeville and Pottstown.This is a paid partnership between Allergy & Asthma Specialists ℠ and Philadelphia Magazine's City/Studio