If you suffer from allergies, you may know without being told that certain trees or grasses are in bloom based solely on your itchy skin, watery eyes, or constant sneezing. Dr. Ali and his staff at Noydeen Medical Group in Conway, Arkansas can help you identify which allergens to avoid and develop a treatment plan that alleviates your symptoms.
Allergy Q & A
What causes my allergy symptoms?
When you have allergies, those seasonal sniffling and sneezing attacks you experience are actually your body’s overreaction to certain substances you inhale or ingest, known as allergens. When, for instance, your immune system tags cat dander or the strawberry from your aunt’s garden as an enemy, it creates an overabundance of antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE) to fight off an invasion. These antibodies rush to remove the offending substance from your system. This causes an allergic response that produces symptoms ranging from itchy eyes and runny nose—for those with allergic rhinitis—to life-threatening anaphylactic shock for individuals with severe food allergies.
How do I know what I’m allergic to?
Sometimes your response to a new rosebush your neighbor planted or the stray kitten your daughter brought home gives you clues about what allergens to avoid. But since you have no way of knowing which allergens actually trigger your overly protective immune system, a visit with your doctor provides the best guidance for identifying the substances that create your allergic response. Dr. Ali will ask detailed questions about the severity and frequency of your symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam before making recommendations for further screening. Diagnostic testing to determine the source of your allergic trigger may also include blood or skin tests.
How are allergies treated?
Treatment depends on the severity and frequency of your symptoms. Dr. Ali’s recommendations may include:
- Avoiding known triggers
- Reducing exposure to indoor allergens such as dust mites with special mattress and pillow covers
- Decreasing exposure to pollens by reducing time spent outdoors during peak seasons
- Use of antihistamines and nasal sprays to alleviate symptoms
- Corticosteroid creams or ointments to relieve itching associated with hives and other allergic skin reactions
- Epinephrine self-injection for life-threatening reaction such as anaphylaxis
- Immunotherapy or allergy shots to help reset your immune system
- Referral to an allergy specialist for severe or persistent symptoms