Frequently Asked Questions
What are allergies?
Allergies are your immune system “protecting” you from proteins in the environment. These proteins can be indoors like house dust, dog, cat, mold, dust mites, cockroaches, feathers and other mammals. Outdoors it can be trees, grasses weeds, molds and any plant that pollenates in the air.
Why do allergies happen?
The body protects against indoor and/or outdoor proteins. he body sees these as foreign particles and protects you by secreting histamine. The body thinks it is doing you a favor by attacking these foreign proteins. Unfortunately histamine makes you have allergy symptoms.
Who gets allergies?
One third of the world has allergies. That is one of every three persons has allergies. In the United States that is over 100,000,000 people. In Europe 242,000,000 of 733,000,00. The UK of 63,000,000 there are 21,000,000 allergic people. In Australia that is 7,600,000 out of 30,000,000. In the UK 1,400,000 of 4,300,000.
Are allergies genetic or run in families?
Yes. There are allergy genes that are passed on from parents to their kids. It is just a matter of weather they will express these genes or be turned on.
When can allergies begin?
As early as 1-2 months old. INfants can have eczema or atopic dermatitis, or allergy involving the skin. They can have asthma at an early age. Allergic rhintis can start in infancy, toddlers, children, adolescents and any age as an adult.
How early can you test for allergies?
We can test as early as one month old. This would only be to indoor allergens up to two years. We would also test for some foods if there is eczema or a history of a bad reaction to a food. After two years old we also test for outdoor or seasonal allergens.
Does allergy testing hurt?
Not anymore. Most allergists use plastic prick devices to do allergy testing. These do not hurt. There is no more “scratch” testing with a needle. I had that done as a kid and still remember it. Some allergists still use a needle to prick or metal devices. Non-allergists use only needles and this is not acceptable. Needles should only be used when skin prick testing is negative.
Where do you test?
The upper back is the most sensitive area for skin prick testing, the lower back is the second most sensitive area, then the arms.
Can’t you just do blood testing for allergies?
Blood testing is expensive. You also cannot test to all the allergens that should be tested because it would take a lot of blood. Blood testing is also too sensitive sometimes and may give inaccurate results.
What allergy testing do you do for indoor allergens?
We test for house dust, dust mite, indoor molds, cat, dog, mouse, rat, feather, cockroach and horse. Depending on the history we might also test for rabbits, hamsters, cattle and pigs.
What outdoor allergens do you test for?
We pick the allergens in that geographical region the patient is in and has been in. Many allergens cross react with other outdoor allergens around the country. Some of these are spring and summer trees, spring and summer grasses, ragweed, other weeds, chenopods, composites, farm mix and other plants that pollenate through the air.
Can you cure indoor and outdoor allergies?
We can with allergy injections or immunotherapy. It is effective 75% of the time. It cures allergic rhinitis or nose symptoms, cures allergic conjunctivitis or eye symptoms and helps with asthma.
What is asthma?
With asthma you have breathing symptoms like cough, tightness, shortness of breath, night or morning cough or wheezing. It is caused by inflammation that causes constriction or tightness of the breathing tubes. It limits peoples lives. It can hospitalize someone. It can kill someone. It can also cause COPD or emphysema.
Can you cure asthma?
No, not yet. We can control asthma so a patient has no symptoms, no restrictions and no limitations. With asthma you can lead a great life with the proper diagnosis and treatment regimen.
Can you diagnose asthma?
Yes, we have three tests we can do. The history also helps. In children it is a clinical diagnosis. What is allergic rhinitis? Allergic rhinitis is when allergies affect the nose. You can have nose congestion, nose itching, mucous, blowing, sneezing, cough, throat clearing, sore throats, , headaches, chronic sinusitis, nausea, asthma symptoms, reflux and migraines.
Can you be symptom free with allergic rhinitis?
Yes. With the right diagnosis and treatment you can be free of all of the symptoms mentioned above. There should be great control.