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Identify and Treat Allergies

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Identify and Treat Allergies

The purpose of your immune system is to fight harmful pathogens to keep you healthy. That involves attacking potentially harmful substances by triggering responses like sneezing and inflammation.

An allergy is your immune system reacting to foreign substances usually not harmful to the body. Known as allergens, they can include pollen, food and pet dander. The body recognizes these as a harmless part of the environment. For some, though, the body acknowledges allergens as potential threats and starts to attack.

Allergic Reaction Symptoms

Symptoms of an allergic reaction vary depending on the severity, the allergen and several other factors.

Seasonal allergy, also known as hay fever, is characterized by reactions during certain times of the year. The common cause of seasonal allergies is pollen released by plants and trees. You can be allergic to one or several types of pollen.

Seasonal allergy symptoms include a runny nose with clear mucus, nasal congestion, sneezing and an itchy nose and throat.

Direct exposure to an allergen can also cause skin allergies. Reactions include a tingling sensation in your mouth, rashes, contact dermatitis, eczema, swollen eyes, sore throat and a burning sensation on the skin.

A reaction can also happen when you consume or have direct contact with specific food. Symptoms may include swelling, nausea, fatigue and hives. It can take some time for people to realize they are allergic to a specific food. If you experience a reaction after eating, see your doctor immediately. Your doctor can help find the cause of your reaction or refer you to a specialist who can identify your allergen.

A severe allergic reaction can cause anaphylactic shock, which can be life-threatening. It’s a rare reaction that causes breathing difficulties and loss of consciousness. In this instance, immediate medical care is needed and you should call 911.


Allergy Causes

Research has not uncovered the real cause of why allergic reactions happen. What is known is that there is a genetic component to susceptibility, meaning a parent can pass it to their child. But that does not mean if you are allergic to shellfish, your children would be too. It only means they are more susceptible to developing allergies.

Commonly identified causes of allergic reactions include:

  • Drugs like sulfa and penicillin.
  • Plant pollen.
  • Food like nuts, wheat and seafood.
  • Animal dander.
  • Insect stings.
  • Latex.
  • Nickel.

Your doctor can diagnose your allergy through a blood or skin test to confirm what allergen causes your reaction.


Treatments for Allergies

The best way to treat allergies is to avoid substances that can trigger your reaction. You can take medication to control the symptoms if it gets triggered. Over-the-counter drugs are available - consult your doctor on which one suits you best.

Medications for allergy include:

  • Antihistamines.
  • Cetirizine.
  • Loratadine.
  • Decongestants.
  • Cromolyn sodium.

Immunotherapy is a process involving several injections spanning a few years. The goal is to get your body used to the allergens so your immune system would not trigger the symptoms anymore. If successful, you can get over the allergy altogether.

An epinephrine shot is used in life-threatening allergy attacks. It can counter the reactions long enough until medical help is available.

Get Fast Help at ProMedica Toledo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care

ProMedica Toledo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care is here to care for your medical needs, including life-threatening allergic reactions or even seasonal allergies. We serve patients with a welcoming environment, ER-trained staff and complete transparency – patients are only billed for the level of care they receive. Plus, no appointments are necessary.

As part of ProMedica, our emergency and urgent care is also connected to the pediatric pulmonary clinic and pediatric asthma program at ProMedica Russell J. Ebeid Children’s Hospital, a nationally recognized program that’s certified by the Joint Commission. Through the program, experts work with affected children and their families to help them understand and manage their symptoms, and minimize the frequency and severity of symptoms.

ProMedica Toledo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care is located at 1075 Medical Center Parkway, Maumee, OH 43537. The emergency room is open 24/7, and the urgent care clinic is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.