What Are Allergic Reactions?
Are you beginning to think that your runny nose, watery eyes and unrelenting cough are due to allergies? If so, you certainly aren’t alone. Millions of Americans battle with allergies every year. While the allergen itself isn’t actually harmful to your health; unfortunately, your immune system thinks it is. This kicks your immune system into high gear to fight off the allergen, thinking it’s a foreign invader like a virus or bacteria. This overreaction can lead to symptoms such as:
Runny or stuffy nose
Watery, itchy or red eyes
Wheezing or persistent cough
Nausea and vomiting
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms then it might be time to turn to our ENT doctors for allergy testing. After all, many people will deal with allergies at some point during their lifetime and allergies don’t necessary occur the moment you are introduced to the allergen. An allergic response may occur over time. For example, maybe your body didn’t really react much to being stung by a bee; however, the next time it happens you notice that the skin is covered in red, itchy welts (also known as hives). This is a telltale sign of an allergy.
Severe allergic reactions can cause additional symptoms such as:
Tightness in the chest or chest pain
Swelling of the tongue or face
Anaphylaxis is a serious a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires urgent medical attention. This is when the airways begin to swelling, making it difficult to breathe. As a result blood pressure may drop and you may feel lightheaded or dizzy. Anaphylaxis will not go away by itself and must be treated immediately.
When an Allergic Reaction Needs Medical Attention
An allergic reaction can range from mild to life-threatening so it’s important that you understand not only what is causing your symptoms but also how to handle your allergies when they flare-up. This is why it’s important to turn to an allergist so that you can better educate yourself on how to handle your condition.
Sometimes mild symptoms can be managed with simple over-the-counter allergy medications including oral antihistamines or nasal sprays. If your symptoms are more persistent and aren’t responding to over-the-counter products then our ENT specialists will prescribe a stronger medication.
Those patients who experience severe allergic reactions will be given an emergency medication commercially known as an EpiPen®, which is an auto-injector of epinephrine that the person will administer to themselves if they are experiencing a severe allergic reaction. This is not used to treat day-to-day symptoms; this medication should only be used during an emergency.