Allergic Reactions Treatment Specialist Q&A
Franklin Primary Care specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of asthma and other allergic diseases. For more information, please call us or schedule an appointment online. We are located at 225 Nassau Boulevard, West Hempstead, New York 11552.
Table of Contents:
When a person’s immune system mistakes a harmless substance for an intruder, it results in an allergic reaction. For example, if a person is allergic to certain types of wool, they might experience an itchy rash when wearing a sweater made from wool. There are many symptoms of an allergic reaction, most of which are mild, cause minimal discomfort and go away within a few hours. However, sometimes allergic reactions are more severe and can even be life-threatening; this is known as anaphylaxis.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction vary based on the cause (or trigger) and the individual’s sensitivity; common allergic reaction symptoms include:
• Runny nose and sneezing
• Watery eyes
• Eczema or hives
• Stomach cramping
• Nausea or vomiting
• Difficulty breathing
• Eye inflammation
Severe allergic reaction symptoms include:
• Anaphylaxis, which is characterized by:
• Swelling of the lips or tongue
• Shortness of breath
• Severe skin rashes
• Dizziness or fainting
• Vomiting or diarrhea
• Painful cramps
An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system mistakenly identifies a normally harmless substance as a dangerous invader. The immune system then produces antibodies that actively seek out that particular allergen. When exposed to the allergen again, these antibodies can release a number of immune system chemicals that cause allergy symptoms, such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, watery eyes, rash, and swelling.
Common allergy triggers include:
• Airborne allergens, such as:
• animal dander
• dust mites
• Certain foods, particularly:
• tree nuts
• Insect stings or bites, including:
• bee stings
• wasp stings
• spider bites
• fire ant stings
• mosquito bites
• bedbug bites
• flea bites
• Medications, particularly:
• penicillin-based antibiotics
• Latex or other substances
The body produces a type of protein called IgE in response to an allergen, which binds with the molecules of the allergen. This binding leads to the release of histamines, the chemicals responsible for allergic symptoms, such as itchy eyes and runny nose. In most cases, these symptoms are self-limiting or easily treated and typically respond well to antihistamines such as diphenhydramine. However, allergies are not just a nuisance for some people: up to 5 percent of Americans have experienced severe allergic reactions, known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening condition that must be treated immediately in order to minimize the chances of a fatal reaction. Common symptoms of anaphylaxis include shortness of breath, trouble swallowing (dysphagia), wheezing, itchy lips or mouth, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and cramps. These symptoms indicate a serious allergic reaction. If symptoms affect more than one part of the body or system, such as difficulty breathing and a skin rash, the allergic reaction is most likely anaphylaxis or is heading toward anaphylaxis.
Even if an allergic reaction produces manageable symptoms, such as a localized rash or watery eyes, within 30 minutes, it is possible that more serious signs may appear. Therefore, it is imperative to take immediate action when experiencing allergic symptoms, especially if they are new or the individual has experienced anaphylaxis before. Furthermore, about 20 percent of people experience a second, stronger anaphylactic reaction within 12 hours of the initial one; this is known as biphasic anaphylaxis.
Primary care doctors can treat allergies and allergic reactions and can provide a high level of care for these conditions. Make an appointment if:
• Symptoms last for more than 3 months
• Symptoms interfere with work or sleep
• OTC medicines do not provide adequate relief
• Sinus infections, headaches, or ear infections recur
In severe or complex cases, a primary care physician may refer the patient to an allergist or immunologist.
The medical professionals at Franklin Primary Care can help you better manage your allergies. Call us or schedule an appointment online. We are located at 225 Nassau Boulevard, West Hempstead, New York 11552. We serve patients from West Hempstead NY, Franklin Square NY, Garden City NY, New Hyde Park NY, Uniondale NY, Mineola NY, and North Valley Stream NY.