What are allergies?
An allergy is an exaggerated immune response or reaction to substances that are generally not harmful. The body’s immune system produces antibodies that release a chemical called histamine. Histamine in turn produces swelling and irritation in certain areas (nose, sinuses, eyes). Allergies are relatively common. Both genetics and environmental factors play a role.
Common allergens include pollen, mold, pet dander and dust. Food and drug allergies are common. Allergic reactions can also be caused by insect bites. Jewelry, cosmetics, plants such as poison ivy, and other substances can cause local skin reactions.
What are the symptoms?
Allergies and symptoms of allergies vary by individual. The most common symptoms are itching of the nose, mouth, throat or skin, red, swollen eyes, runny nose, coughing, wheezing, muscle spasms, hives, and skin rashes.
What is the treatment?
Visit a Take Care Health Provider to determine what course of treatment is right for you and your specific allergy. While symptoms can be controlled with treatment, the condition may persist over a lifetime. The best way to reduce symptoms is to try to avoid what causes your allergies in the first place. This is especially important for food and drug allergies. To reduce the body’s allergic response, some patients may be prescribed antihistamines, nasal sprays, and decongestants.
If you believe you have a medical emergency, please call 911.