How Seeing an Allergist Can Help You Feel, Sleep and Look Better
Allergy symptoms can sneak up on you, gradually deteriorating your health and well-being without even realizing it.
Do you have “cold” symptoms that last longer than two weeks? Do you suffer from a chronic cough or sore throat? Have a headache that won’t go away? Are you prone to sinus infections or “bronchitis?” Do you get easily winded or make a wheezing sound when you breathe? Do you have dark circles under your eyes that won’t go away? These are all symptoms of allergies that can lead to respiratory infections and chronic fatigue.
When these symptoms are uncontrolled, they’re called allergic rhinitis or allergic disease. Allergic rhinitis occurs when your immune system overreacts to a substance that may be harmless to others. These substances, known as allergens, come in the form of pollen from trees, grasses or weeds, organisms found in dust and mold or animal dander.
Fortunately, in one visit to a board-certified allergist, you can identify the cause of your allergy symptoms and start a treatment plan toward better health.
Release the Histamines
If you come into contact with allergens and you are allergic, your immune system is warned and releases a chemical called histamine. Your body’s intention is to keep you safe, but the overreaction can cause allergy symptoms.
And when your body is exposed to an allergy trigger, your immune system launches a chain reaction to defend you. It first sends a chemical signal to cells in your lungs, nose, mouth, gut and blood: “Release histamines.” These histamines are stored in certain cells and, as they leave these cells, they boost blood flow to the part of your body the allergen has affected, which can cause inflammation.
The Irritation of It All
If your nose is affected, histamines infect the membranes, causing more mucus to be produced. Some common symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and itchy eyes. The mucus drains down your nasal passages to your throat, making you cough. You might also snort and clear your throat a lot — a not-so-endearing sound to your family and co-workers.
Plus, the inflammation caused by the histamine further narrows your nasal passages. As the nasal congestion persists, sinus infection, sore throat and post-nasal drip develop, causing chronic coughing. Eventually you might suffer from sleep apnea, snoring, disrupted sleep patterns and chronic fatigue.
The first impulse for many allergy sufferers is to go to the pharmacy and figure out the antihistamine-decongestant combination that will work for you. But with so many options, this can be futile and expensive. You may also find yourself dealing with the side effects of some of these medications — nervousness, dry mouth, drowsiness, high blood pressure or constipation.
The more effective first step is to make an appointment with a board-certified allergist. The most important action in treating your allergy symptoms is to identify your allergy triggers by skin testing, performed without needles at Allergy & Asthma Specialists.
Once the cause is identified, a treatment plan that details potential lifestyle changes will be discussed. It may be a simple as identifying the right medication or tips on avoiding the allergen. What’s more, all of this can all be accomplished in one allergy testing appointment with an allergist.
Improved Quality of Life
Individuals who have suffered long term with allergic rhinitis don’t often realize how much better they can feel. For example, you can sleep more soundly as well as lose the dark circles under your eyes and the facial pallor. Most patients who have their allergies properly diagnosed and treated realize a greatly improved quality of life. And that is a most important accomplishment!This is a paid partnership between Allergy & Asthma Specialists ℠ and Philadelphia Magazine's City/Studio